UMaine’s Wood gains College Sports Madness honor

ORONO, Maine — University of Maine women’s basketball player Liz Wood has been named the College Sports Madness’ America East Freshman of the Year, the website announced Tuesday morning.

Wood led all America East freshmen in scoring as she averaged 10.3 points and 6.6 rebounds per game.

Wood was also named America East Co-Rookie of the Year by the league’s coaches. She is a six-time America East Rookie of the Week who tallied five double-doubles on the year while also earning a selection to the America East All-Rookie squad.

Manny Ramirez signs with Taiwanese team

Former MLB slugger Manny Ramirez officially began his stint in Taiwan’s four-team professional baseball league Tuesday when he signed with the EDA Rhinos.

He told reporters at news conference that he is “starting a new beginning” after agreeing to a deal that will pay him $25,000 a month during the March to November season.

“I don’t think about the money and contract,” the 40-year-old said. “I just think it is a great opportunity for me and the fans.”

Ramirez made 12 All-Star team during his 19-year big-league career, and was the Most Valuable Player of the 2004 World Series. His final major-league appearance came with the Tampa Bay Rays in April 2011, when he tested positive for elevated testosterone. Rather than face a 100-game suspension for a second positive drug test, Ramirez retired.

He returned in 2012 on a minor-league deal with the Oakland A’s, but asked for his release in June.

NFL competition committee seeks safer game

After a week of meetings in Naples, Fla., the NFL competition Committee plans to propose at least a couple of safety-oriented rules changes at the owners meeting in Phoenix that start March 17.

Sources close to the committee confirmed to The Sports Xchange that proposals will be made to penalize certain chop blocks inside the tackle box as well as low, blind-side blocks on defenders more than three yards outside the tackle box, the type that occur while they are chasing a scrambling quarterback.

The first rule proposal addresses the type of block that ended the 2011 season early for Houston Texans linebacker Brian Cushing and, therefore, will probably be known as the Cushing rule.

The second proposal gives defenders some solace after seeing so many recent rules changes result in more penalties and fines.

According to a source close to the committee, the rules changes received unanimous backing of the nine-person committee. Still, even these two significant rules changes are a compromise to those in the NFL requesting a complete ban on chop blocks, similar to the college rule.

Paternity suit judge asked to order DNA test of Michael Jordan

ATLANTA — Lawyers for an Atlanta woman who says basketball legend Michael Jordan is the father of her 16-year-old son asked a judge Tuesday to order Jordan to immediately take a DNA test.

Pamela Smith, 48, filed a paternity suit against Jordan last month seeking child support. Jordan denies he is the father of the child and has also filed a counterclaim seeking sanctions against Smith for making false claims.

Smith acknowledged in a divorce proceeding that her now ex-husband is the father of the child, according to Jordan’s lawyers.

“It is unfortunate that well known figures are the target of these kind of claims,” Jordan’s spokeswoman, Estee Portnoy, said in a statement.

However, Smith attorney Randy Kessler said Tuesday that a simple $300 saliva test will prove or disprove the paternity question.

In a court filing Tuesday, Kessler asked Fulton County Superior Court Judge Wendy Shoob to order Jordan to submit to “immediate genetic testing.” There was no immediate ruling from Shoob following a 20-minute hearing Tuesday in the judge’s chambers, Kessler said.

Golfmanna co-founder injured in sinkhole

Golfer Mark Mihal, the co-founder of, a web site dedicated to the sport, suffered a dislocated shoulder after falling into a sinkhole on an Illinois course, according to a St. Louis Post-Dispatch report.

On Friday, a sinkhole opened up beneath Mihal on the 14th hole fairway at Annbriar Golf Course, and he fell 18 feet. The 43-year-old was eventually lifted to safety with a rope.

Notre Dame, Big East agree to early exit

The Notre Dame Fighting Irish basketball teams will battle in the ACC next year, after they reached an agreement with the Big East to leave two years early.

The Fighting Irish will join the ACC on July 1.

“This decision makes sense for the Big East,” commissioner Mike Aresco said in a statement after a vote by Big East presidents. “In view of Notre Dame’s expressed desire to join the ACC on an earlier timetable, the Big East and Notre Dame were able to arrive at an acceptable resolution.”

Because Notre Dame leaves under the same Mutual Commitment Agreement in which the Catholic Seven left, the Irish won’t pay a traditional exit fee, but will likely forgo any claims on the estimated $70 million that the Big East has in exit and entry fees, the report said.

Miami New Times won’t give Biogenesis records to MLB

The Miami New Times won’t provide Major League Baseball with records obtained from the Biogenesis clinic, which linked Alex Rodriguez and others to performance-enhancing drugs.

An original report by the weekly paper had tied Rodriguez, Nelson Cruz, Melky Cabrera, Yasmani Grandal, Francisco Cervelli and Ryan Bran to Biogenesis founder Anthony Bosch, who supplied the medications. MLB has since launched an investigation.

New Times editor Chuck Strouse wrote an editorial to explain his position.

“Sorry, MLB Commissioner Bud Selig. We won’t hand over records that detail the inner workings of Biogenesis, the controversial Coral Gables anti-aging clinic that allegedly supplied prohibited drugs to six professional baseball players, including Yankees slugger Alex Rodriguez.

The reasons are manifold. History plays a role in our decision. So do journalistic ethics and the fact that we have already posted dozens of records on our website. Finally, there is a hitherto-unreported Florida Department of Health criminal probe into clinic director Anthony Bosch.”