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Sports briefs, Sept. 13

Spurrier agrees with report on player values

COLUMBIA, S.C. — South Carolina coach Steve Spurrier agreed with an advocacy group’s report that college football and basketball players don’t get what they’re worth from their schools.

Spurrier was asked his opinion Tuesday on the study from a national college athletes’ advocacy group and a sports management professor.

The study calculated that if college sports shared their revenues the way pro sports do, the average Football Bowl Subdivision player would be worth $121,000 per year, while the average basketball player at that level would be worth $265,000.

Spurrier said at last spring’s Southeastern Conference meetings that 70 football players should be paid $300 a game with the money coming out of the coach’s pocket.

Spurrier said media revenues have recently increased dramatically, yet players’ scholarships don’t always cover all college costs.

NJ suit filed against wife in boxer Gatti’s death

NEWARK, N.J. — A lawyer representing the young daughter of dead boxer Arturo Gatti has filed a wrongful-death lawsuit in New Jersey on her behalf against his wife.

Attorney Anthony Pope says he filed the lawsuit Sept. 9 in Middlesex County against Amanda Rodrigues Gatti, who isn’t the child’s mother. She was married to Gatti when he died during a trip to her native Brazil in 2009.

The suit was filed on behalf of 5-year-old Sofia Bella Gatti. It seeks damages and restraints on the couple’s New Jersey assets.

Amanda Gatti initially was detained as a suspect in her husband’s death until Brazilian authorities deemed it a suicide. Forensics experts in the U.S. re-examined the case and claim it was a homicide.

A message left Tuesday for an attorney representing Amanda Gatti in a Canadian case against her hasn’t been returned.

Motorsports pioneer Betty Skelton Erde dies at 85

THE VILLAGES, Fla. — Betty Skelton Erde, an aviator and auto racing pioneer once called the fastest woman on Earth, has died. She was 85.

Erde set female speed records at Daytona Beach and Utah’s Bonneville salt flats half a century ago. In 2008, she was inducted into the Motorsports Hall of Fame of America in suburban Detroit.

Dozens of firsts are attached to her name: the auto industry’s first female test driver in 1954; the first to set a female world land speed record in 1956 (145 mph at Daytona Beach); and the world land speed record for women in 1965, hitting 315.72 mph at Bonneville.

Erde began drawing attention as a female stunt pilot as a teenager in the 1940s.

“To me, there’s hardly any feeling in the world that can equal the feeling of an airplane when the wheels leave the ground,” Erde told The Associated Press in 2008.

She mastered dozens of tricks. Her signature move was cutting a ribbon strung between two fishing poles with her propeller, while flying upside down just 10 feet off the ground.

In 1948, she bought a rare Pitts Special — a lightweight, red-and-white biplane suited for aerobatics. But while Erde was soaring in popularity, she also was a rarity because she was a young, beautiful woman in a male-dominated world of death-defying stunts.

In 1953, the man who began the NASCAR race circuit asked Erde to fly some auto racers from Pennsylvania to North Carolina. She and Bill France became fast friends.

In February 1954, France invited Erde to Daytona. She climbed into a Dodge sedan, went 105.88 mph on the beach and set a stock car record. Erde became a Chevrolet employee and set records with Corvettes, owning 10 in all.

In the 50s, she raced across the South American Andes, down Mexico’s rugged Baja Peninsula and also set records at the Chrysler proving grounds in Michigan.

“I would venture to say there is no other woman in the world with all the attributes of this woman,” France once remarked. “The most impressive of them all is her surprising and outstanding ever-present femininity, even when tackling a man’s job.”

She flew planes until she was in her mid-70s; when she was 82, she drove around her retirement community in a red Corvette.

Said Erde in 2008: “It’s been quite a ride.”

She died Aug. 31 in The Villages, a retirement community in Central Florida, where she had lived with her husband, Allan Erde.

Fresno St DB suspended 1 game for flagrant hit

DENVER — Fresno State defensive back Terrance Dennis was suspended for one game by the Western Athletic Conference for committing a flagrant personal foul last week against Nebraska.

WAC Commissioner Karl Benson announced the punishment Tuesday. Dennis will miss this week’s game for the Bulldogs against North Dakota.

Benson says protecting defenseless players from hits to the head is a priority. He says Dennis should have been ejected for his helmet-to-helmet hit on Nebraska tight end Kyler Reed with 4 seconds remaining in the first half of the Cornhuskers’ 42-29 victory last Saturday in Lincoln, Neb.

Bowden reveals that he had prostate cancer in 2007

TALLAHASSEE, Fla. — Former Florida State football coach Bobby Bowden revealed he was successfully treated for prostate cancer in 2007, making the rounds Tuesday in New York to tell his story.

Although he had kept it secret for more than four years, Bowden said he believed it was now “my moral duty to bring it out in the open.”

Bowden, who turns 82 in early November, appeared on several morning television shows as a paid spokesman for a national prostate cancer education initiative called On The Line. He’s scheduled for more appearances there Wednesday.

“This month is awareness month in regard to prostate cancer so we’re really putting the hammer down this week,” Bowden said in a 15-minute telephone interview with The Associated Press. “We’ve got to get men aware of this.”

About 240,000 American men are diagnosed annually with prostate cancer and about 33,720 die from the disease, according to the National Cancer Institute. Only lung cancer kills more American men. It is frequently a slow-growing cancer.

“It’s so important that men start facing the facts that one in six over 40 are going get it,” Bowden said. “That’s pretty dadgummed heavy numbers, kind of like women’s breast cancer.”

Bowden was treated by one of his former players who was captain of the coach’s first team at FSU in 1976. Dr. Joe Camps, a urologist and surgical oncologist, implanted low-dose radiation seeds in Bowden’s prostate.

Bowden, who is now cancer free, was referred to Camps by team doctor Kris Stowers after an annual physical.

“I didn’t even know I had it,” Bowden told AP. “There was no pain. The only pain was taking that treatment.”

Bowden said he nearly forgot about the experience.

“We did something about it really quick so the next time they checked, it was clear,” Bowden said. “So I never really had a chance to get worried about it.”

Bowden said he didn’t want anyone to find out he had cancer because he was worried other schools would use it against him in recruiting.

“People used to get on me that ‘he’s too old; he’s 77 — ought not even be coaching,”’ Bowden said. “Now you add cancer to that and I didn’t have a chance.

“Now that I’m not coaching anymore I can get it out. I’m glad I’m able to do something.”

Bowden’s last boss at Florida State, former university President T.K. Wetherell, has a more aggressive form of the disease and said Tuesday he was glad that Bowden had gone public with his experience. Wetherell, who was diagnosed in 2003, was at the M.D. Anderson Cancer Center in Houston on Tuesday for treatment.

“One thing you learn, and Bowden is a good teacher, is that you don’t quit,” Wetherell said. “There really isn’t an option.”

“So many people don’t even understand it, particularly men,” said Wetherell, 65.

And that’s something that Bowden wants to change.

“We’ve got to get men aware of this and be sure they get to the doctor and get their checkup where they can discover it like they did me,” Bowden told AP. “If you get it early you can get it. If you wait too late, it’s too late.”

Bowden’s revelation was first reported in Tuesday’s edition of USA Today.

MNF’s Jaworski apologizes after cursing on air

MIAMI — “Monday Night Football” analyst Ron Jaworski had to apologize on air after accidentally cursing during his commentary.

Talking about an incomplete pass by Dolphins quarterback Chad Henne in their loss to the Patriots on ESPN, Jaworski casually uttered an expletive before saying, “You have to get rid of this ball.”

Jaworski apologized for the gaffe later in the fourth quarter.

The former Philadelphia Eagles quarterback has called Monday night games since 2007.

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