Report: Marlins owner needs to reduce asking price to sell team

Much has been made of Miami Marlins owner Jeffrey Loria pursuing a buyer for his major league franchise. For a time, it seemed like a group involving Derek Jeter and Jeb Bush was on the verge of acquiring the team. Jeter said no progress has been made, and that was 10 days ago.

Last week, MLB commissioner Rob Manfred said opposing bidders were close to one another, though it now appears that Loria's $ 1.3 billion asking price remains an obstacle. Sources have told the New York Post's Josh Kosman and Ken Davidoff that Loria will have to adjust his expectations accordingly.

“I don’t think anybody will get to $ 1.3 billion,” a sports investment banker said. “Jeb and Derek are still out there and they are not close to getting the money.

“Now, it’s a stale deal.”

As of now, one anonymous baseball owner told the Post that no deal is close. The source added that he thinks the price goes down, which could prompt a quicker resolution.

“I think if Jeffrey dropped it to $ 1 billion there would be buyers,” another source said.

There have been no signs yet that Loria intends to lower his asking price, and neither Loria, the Marlins, nor Major League Baseball have commented.

Copyright © 2017 Score Media Ventures Inc. All rights reserved. Certain content reproduced under license.

MLB | theScore

Shelly Sterling wants NBA to lift Donald’s ‘out of line’ lifetime ban

The Sterlings just won’t stay away.

Shelly Sterling, wife of disgraced former Los Angeles Clippers owner Donald Sterling, spoke with James Rainey of NBC News in her continued quest to have the league lift its lifetime ban over Donald Sterling from attending NBA games.

"I couldn't understand the severity of the ban. It just seemed a little bit out of line," Shelly Sterling said. "I have talked to (the NBA) several times and I don't know what they will do. Maybe they will and maybe they won't (lift the ban). Maybe it takes a little bit more time."

One year ago, Shelly Sterling pitched the NBA for leniency by citing the case of Cincinnati Reds team owner Marge Schott, who was docked $ 25,000 and suspended one year after she made racial slurs and anti-Semitic remarks at employees in 1993. The NBA shut down that appeal.

Donald Sterling was banned from attending NBA games and fined $ 2.5 million following the emergence of a recorded tape in which he made racist comments toward blacks. That was followed by a legal battle in which the NBA eventually arranged to have the Clippers sold to Steve Ballmer for $ 2 billion in 2014.

To hear Shelly Sterling tell the story, that generous sum was the reward for the “tragedy” suffered by her racist husband.

“I think that, really, at this stage of his life, he is happy, not at the way that it happened, but that he got so much money for it,” she said. “He could have never sold it today at that price…. We never know when we are going through it, but sometimes, through tragedy, comes happiness.”

Copyright © 2017 Score Media Ventures Inc. All rights reserved. Certain content reproduced under license.

NBA | theScore

Magic: Ingram is Lakers’ only untradeable player

This must be reassuring for everyone else on the team.

Los Angeles Lakers president Magic Johnson appeared on a radio interview with ESPN Los Angeles and circled 2016 No. 2 pick Brandon Ingram as the only untouchable player on the roster.

“I would say probably the only player that we would say, hey, we would probably not move is Brandon Ingram,” Johnson said, as transcribed by Baxter Holmes of ESPN.

“I think that we’re excited about Brandon, his length, his size, his agility, his athleticism. And then when you think about, you know, he was a baby coming in, in his first year last season and we see that he really has a high ceiling and we’re excited about what he can possibly turn into.”

Ingram struggled to start his rookie year, but most of his shortcomings were tied to his slim stature. The 6-foot-9, 19-year-old was not only one of the youngest players in the league, he also weighed less than 200 pounds and was often unable to hold his position.

The Duke product eventually got more comfortable as the year went on. The versatile forward was entrusted to run the point in Luke Walton's egalitarian offense while also honing his abilities off the ball. Ingram eventually finished his year averaging 9.4 points, four rebounds, and 2.1 assists per game.

Ingram is the crown jewel on a Lakers roster littered with prospects. Julius Randle, D'Angelo Russell, Larry Nance, Ivica Zubac, and Jordan Clarkson all hold potential for growth, but they're all secondary to Ingram when it comes to the future of the team.

Copyright © 2017 Score Media Ventures Inc. All rights reserved. Certain content reproduced under license.

NBA | theScore

UNC responds to 3rd set of NCAA charges in academic case

RALEIGH, N.C. – North Carolina has responded to the third set of charges it received from the NCAA in the long-running academic fraud case.

The 102-page document released Thursday marked the latest step in the seven-year investigation. UNC faces five top-level charges, including lack of institutional control, in the multiyear probe centered on irregular courses in an academic department.

In an argument that mirrors its response last August to its second Notice of Allegations, North Carolina is challenging the NCAA’s jurisdiction to pursue charges for issues the school says ”are academic in nature” and ”lie beyond the reach of the bylaws belatedly invoked” by the NCAA.

The NCAA enforcement staff has until July 17 to file a response.

Southeastern Conference Commissioner Greg Sankey, who heads the NCAA infractions panel handling the case, has said his panel will hear the case in August with ”anticipated” dates of Aug. 16 and 17. The case could reach a resolution by the end of 2017.

The major development in the case before UNC’s response Thursday took place two weeks ago, when a woman at the center of the investigation – Deborah Crowder – was interviewed by investigators after previously declining to cooperate. Crowder, a retired office administrator who graded many of the papers in the problem classes, also filed an affidavit in March defending the quality of the courses.

North Carolina stated it will file a supplemental response to Thursday’s documents to include specific references to Crowder’s testimony once it receives the official transcript of her interview from the NCAA.

The school repeated its stance that the NCAA’s constitution and bylaws apply to ”basic athletics issues” and don’t extend to matters of academic structure, content and process on campus. UNC blames those issues on ”the result of inadequate academic oversight unrelated to” the athletic department and says it has implemented 70 reforms to prevent recurrences.

When a similar issue was raised by UNC in August 2016, the NCAA responded that the argument was ”without merit.”

NCAA spokeswoman Emily James did not immediately return an email Thursday seeking comment.

The school also disagreed with some statistics in a 2014 investigation by former U.S. Justice Department official Kenneth Wainstein into irregularities in the formerly named African and Afro-American Studies (AFAM) department. His report estimated more than 3,100 students were affected between 1993 and 2011, with athletes across numerous sports accounting for roughly half the enrollments in the problem courses.

UNC argued that the Wainstein report counted as student-athletes some students who no longer were members of a sports team when they took the course, disagreeing with what it called a ”once an athlete, always an athlete” approach.

The school’s response did not include any self-imposed sanctions, and it also made no mention of Sankey.

Raleigh attorney Elliot Abrams, who represents a retired office administrator charged with violations, had written a letter seeking the removal of Sankey as head of the NCAA infractions panel because of a conflict of interest. In his response last month, Sankey denied the request, saying the panel would ”fairly decide this case.”

In December, UNC received a set of revamped charges against the university – leading some university officials to openly question the fairness of the process. The NCAA charged the school with providing improper extra benefits after withdrawing a similar charge from last spring – rewording the charge that had been removed from the first version filed in May 2015 centering on athletes' access to irregular courses.

The focus of the case is independent study-style courses misidentified as lecture classes that didn’t meet and required a research paper or two in the AFAM department. They featured significant athlete enrollments and typically high grades.

The case is an offshoot of a 2010 probe into the football program. The NCAA reopened its investigation in summer 2014, filed charges in May 2015, revised them last April and again in December.

Copyright © 2017 Score Media Ventures Inc. All rights reserved. Certain content reproduced under license.

NCAAF | theScore

Koetter apologizes for Bucs trolling Falcons with 28-3 tweet

Dirk Koetter isn't exactly amused by his social media team's decision to take a shot at an NFC South rival earlier this week.

Speaking to reporters during his media availability at OTAs on Thursday, the Tampa Bay Buccaneers head coach issued an apology to the Atlanta Falcons for a tweet directed at the team in epic troll fashion Monday.

"I want to make sure on behalf of the Bucs organization that I apologize to the Falcons for whatever that was supposed to be that went out on social media," Koetter said, according to Jenna Laine of ESPN. "That's not what our organization is about."

In case you missed it, the Buccaneers account had dropped a not-so-subtle reference to the Falcons blowing a 28-3 lead in Super Bowl LI during a brief Twitter back-and-forth.

Koetter lamented the move, making sure to point out that the Bucs were sitting at home while the Falcons took on the New England Patriots for the Lombardi Trophy back in February.

“That was totally unprofessional and not smart on our part, whoever was responsible for that,” Koetter said. “Heck, we wanted to be playing in the Super Bowl, and we were home sitting on our butts while they were playing. We’ve got no room to make fun of anybody that was in the Super Bowl, whether they won or not.”

Copyright © 2017 Score Media Ventures Inc. All rights reserved. Certain content reproduced under license.

NFL | theScore

Royals’ Moore hasn’t ‘had trade talks with any other teams’

Despite a 19-27 record firmly entrenching the Kansas City Royals in the AL Central basement – 7 1/2 games behind the division-leading Minnesota Twins – general manager Dayton Moore is not throwing in the towel.

With several expiring contracts, the expectation might be that the team will unload familiar faces at the trade deadline. So far, according to MLB Network Radio, Moore hasn’t started exploring that avenue.

"I haven't had trade talks with any other teams at this point. Our scouting strategy hasn't changed," Moore said Thursday.

Lorenzo Cain, Mike Moustakas, and Eric Hosmer, all holdovers from Kansas City's back-to-back World Series appearances, are pending free agents. As is pitcher Jason Vargas, the team's top starter thus far.

All could move, though Moore still sees the playoffs as the season's goal.

“We’re still focused and determined to put the best team on the field to win games and get back in the playoff race,” Moore said.

Should Moore’s tune change, especially if the team doesn’t rebound quickly, there should be plenty of suitors in need of bolstering their rosters for a postseason push.

Copyright © 2017 Score Media Ventures Inc. All rights reserved. Certain content reproduced under license.

MLB | theScore

Durant channels LeBron in dismissing haters who ‘still had to live their life’

Golden State Warriors forward Kevin Durant understands that the hate he receives is only done to satiate people’s need for entertainment.

Durant was asked about his unfriendly return to Oklahoma City for the first time as an opposing player this season, to which he reeled off an answer strangely reminiscent of an infamous speech once given by LeBron James.

“That was a two-hour time slot in those people’s lives where they got some entertainment for the day. And they were going to go home and get up the next day and go to work. It’s all it was,” Durant explained to Michael Lee of The Vertical.

“I didn’t take it personal. I don’t hate anybody that called me any name there. It’s entertainment. That’s what they look at it as. It’s not life or death. I didn’t walk into their homes and do anything to them personally. I’m sure most people, the same thing they did on July 3, they did the same thing on July 4, July 5 and leading up to that game.”

“Their lives didn’t change based on what I did. That two-and-a-half hour time slot where they watched the game and called me names, they forgot all about it when they went home at night and still had to live their life, just like I had to. I have no hard feelings. It was all fun and games for me, too.”

Contrast that to what James told reporters after all the hate he received in the year leading up to his loss to the Dallas Mavericks in the 2011 NBA Finals.

“All the people that were rooting on me to fail, at the end of the day they have to wake up tomorrow and have the same life that they had before they woke up today. They have the same personal problems they had today. I’m going to continue to live the way I want to live and continue to do the things that I want to do with me and my family and be happy with that. So they can get a few days or a few months or whatever the case may be on being happy about not only myself, but the Miami Heat not accomplishing their goal. But they got to get back to the real world at some point.”

Given that Durant essentially followed in the footsteps of James, as a superstar that faced criticism after changing teams to chase their first title, it only makes sense that their thoughts on the matter would be similar.

Copyright © 2017 Score Media Ventures Inc. All rights reserved. Certain content reproduced under license.

NBA | theScore

LeBron: Passing Jordan ‘a personal goal’

LeBron James can pass Michael Jordan for first on the NBA’s all-time postseason scoring list Thursday night. For a player that wears No. 23 as a tribute to his idol, it’s not surprising that the mark is a personal target for James.

“It’s just a personal goal of mine,” James said after shootaround Thursday, according to ESPN’s Dave McMenamin. “It has nothing to do with passing the rings, passing the points, passing MVPs. It’s just my personal goal to keep me motivated, that’s all.”

James needs 28 points in a potentially clinching Game 5 against the Celtics to surpass Jordan’s record of 5,987. While he understands comparisons to Jordan are inevitable, he feels they end up subtracting from individual accomplishments across the league.

“(Media members) are going to have the conversations about who is greatest of all time and things of that nature,” James said. “It doesn’t matter to me. It’s so funny that the conversation is always talked about in the NBA about who is the greatest but it’s never talked about in the NFL about who is the greatest quarterback. It’s just like: Marino, Elway, Manning, and Brady. All great quarterbacks, you know – and it should be the same for us.”

To be fair, the same debate has happened in the NFL, although it likely hasn't been as virulent. James still trails Jordan in championships 6-3 – a comparison that, for better or worse, remains the tiebreaker for some.

Copyright © 2017 Score Media Ventures Inc. All rights reserved. Certain content reproduced under license.

NBA | theScore

Alabama, FSU to meet in prime time as opening weekend kickoff times set

Opening weekend will once again be highly anticipated, as ESPN released kickoff times for the contests that will start the college football season.

Ohio State gets the party started with a prime time matchup against Indiana on Thursday, Aug. 31, and Utah State and Wisconsin will meet one day later. Not surprisingly, Alabama and Florida State get the coveted Saturday night spot, with a showdown between Michigan and Florida highlighting the festivities earlier in the day.

ESPN’s full opening weekend slate can be seen below:

ESPN also announced the Saturday night prime time matchups for the following two weeks. Oklahoma battles Ohio State in Week 2 and Miami takes on Florida State in Week 3.

Copyright © 2017 Score Media Ventures Inc. All rights reserved. Certain content reproduced under license.

NCAAF | theScore