House votes to award Gold Medal to Nicklaus

Posted April 16, 2012, at 8:59 p.m.

WASHINGTON — The House has voted to bestow the Congressional Gold Medal on golfing great Jack Nicklaus.

Nicklaus was cited for his golfing achievements, including a record 18 major championships, and his humanitarian work. Nicklaus heads the Nicklaus Children’s Health Care Foundation and has raised more than $12 million to support pediatric health services.

The Congressional Gold Medal is awarded to prominent military leaders, public servants, athletes and artists. It was last given in 2010 to Japanese-American World War II veterans. Rep. Joe Baca, D-Calif., sponsored the bill.

Nicklaus golfing contemporary Arnold Palmer received the award in 2009. The legislation now goes to the Senate for a vote.

Ex-Univ. of Fla. star Dwayne Schintzius dies at 43

TAMPA, Fla. — Former University of Florida basketball star Dwayne Schintzius, who also played in the NBA, has died after a two-year battle against cancer. He was 43.

Relatives say Schintzius died Sunday at a Tampa hospital following complications from a failed bone marrow transplant. Schintzius began treatment for leukemia in 2010.

The 7-foot-2 center played for the Gators from 1987 to 1990, helping Florida to its first three NCAA Tournament appearances. He is Florida’s sixth-highest scorer with 1,624 points.

Schintzius was drafted 24th overall in the first round by the San Antonio Spurs in 1990. He also played for the Kings, Nets, Pacers, Clippers and Celtics during an eight-year professional career.

Giants sign LHP Madison Bumgarner through 2017

SAN FRANCISCO — Madison Bumgarner had no intentions of waiting for free agency.

The quiet left-hander with a loud fastball and a dominating presence on the mound has risen rapidly through the ranks for the San Francisco Giants. No reason to put off a pay raise, either.

Bumgarner and the Giants agreed to a new $35.56 million, six-year contract through the 2017 season Monday, locking up the lefty through arbitration and his first year of free agency.

“Now I can go out there and just pitch,” he said. “It kind of took the weight off my shoulders.”

The deal includes $560,000 in base salary this season, $35 million in new money over the next five years and $12 million options for the 2018 and 2019 seasons. The options can escalate to $14 million if he finishes in the top three for the NL Cy Young Award or $16 million if he wins the honor, said his agent, Tom Little.

BCS buster: Alabama’s crystal ball shattered

The crystal football Alabama won for beating LSU in the BCS championship game in January was shattered on A-Day when it was accidentally knocked off a display by the father of a current player.

Athletic department spokesman Jeff Purinton said the Waterford Crystal trophy, valued at $30,000, was on display in the Mal Moore Athletic Facility as part of the festivities for the Crimson Tide’s spring football game Saturday in Tuscaloosa, Ala. He says the man stumbled on a rug that was under the trophy display.

Purinton said the school is working with the American Football Coaches Association, which owns the trophy, on getting a replacement.

Florida’s 2006 trophy was destroyed when it was accidentally knocked off a pedestal by a recruit in 2008. In 2004, Florida State had two trophies stolen.

“In 2009 and again this season, Alabama did a great job showing the trophy off to fans even after we turned it over to them,” said Charley Green, manager of the coaches’ trophy. “Unfortunately it is fragile, and accidents can happen.

Green said the trophy makes appearances for several weeks before it is turned over to the school in mid-January.

“We use a temporary adhesive called museum gel to keep the crystal from falling off its pegs,” he said. “We do provide that substance to winning schools, along with a page of assembly instructions. But we have no way of knowing whether the schools use the gel.”

Latest NFL concussion suit cites Saints’ bounties

ATLANTA — The four former NFL players who sued the league on Monday in a state court in Atlanta could be leading a wave of new lawsuits that cite the New Orleans Saints’ bounty system for hard hits as evidence that pro football didn’t properly protect its players from concussions.

Legal experts and trial attorneys say they expect more complaints against the NFL to point to the Saints’ scandal after the ex-players filed suit contending the bounty system was another example that the league “explicitly relied on violence” and neglected to educate players on the dangers of concussions.

The claims give the new lawsuit an “added vitality” if attorneys can use it to bolster the idea that there’s activity in the sport that goes beyond the typical violence associated with pro football, said Paul Haagen, co-director of the Center for Sports Law and Policy at Duke University.

“It adds color” to the complaint, Haagen added. “And by raising it you hope to raise a general buzz in the public that this is an issue.”

The NFL’s investigation found that former Saints defensive coordinator Gregg Williams offered thousands of dollars in cash payouts for violent hits over the past three seasons, including when the team won the Super Bowl. And while the four players named in the lawsuit don’t claim to be victims of the scheme, they say it is indicative of a culture that has left them and other ex-players with debilitating conditions.

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