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Witness at hoops trial paid footballers

(AP Photo/Roger Steinman)

NEW YORK (AP) A key prosecution witness at a trial highlighting corruption in college basketball testified for a second day Wednesday about money he paid to college football players to secure them as clients as he described how vulnerable young athletes become prey for vulture-like agents and managers.

Testimony by Louis Martin Blazer also presented an increasingly sinister angle on bribes paid to college basketball coaches, suggesting that the practice was more widespread than previously described in Manhattan federal court.

Blazer, 49, answered questions from Assistant U.S. Attorney Robert Boone in the trial of aspiring agent Christian Dawkins and former amateur coach Merl Code. Three former assistant basketball coaches set to stand trial with them recently pleaded guilty and await sentencing.


4 Big 12 teams adjusting to new coaches

Never before has the Big 12 had such a big turnover in head football coaches. Not even when the conference had more teams.

Four of the 10 Big 12 teams went through spring drills with new coaches. They still have more time to get acclimated before the league's 24th season opens in just over four months.


Ga. Tech wraps up spring of major change

ATLANTA (AP) Georgia Tech's offense has essentially spent spring practice trying to fit a square peg into a round hole.

The transition from triple-option to no-huddle spread under new coach Geoff Collins is a daunting challenge on such short notice, especially for the guys in the trenches.


Replay official can overturn targeting

INDIANAPOLIS (AP) The NCAA Playing Rules Oversight Panel adjusted the targeting rule in college football, allowing video review officials to overturn calls if any element of the penalty cannot be confirmed.

The adjustment to the rule announced Tuesday means there will be no option for letting the call on the field "stand" during a targeting review. It must either be confirmed or overturned.


Minnesota to host W. Illinois in 2022

MINNEAPOLIS (AP) Minnesota will play Western Illinois in 2022, putting a third FCS opponent on the schedule over the next four years.

The Gophers announced Tuesday they've added the Leathernecks for Sept. 10, 2022, giving them five straight home games to start the slate for the first time since 1933. Their other nonconference foes in 2022 are New Mexico State and Colorado.


Cougars looking to replace QB Minshew

While Gardner Minshew prepared for the NFL draft, his former team, Washington State, was auditioning potential replacements.

The Cougars have a spirited quarterback competition involving a large group of would-be starters, including seniors Anthony Gordon and Trey Tinsley, Cammon Cooper, graduate transfer Gage Gubrud and sophomore John Bledsoe.


Iowa hoping to improve running game

IOWA CITY, Iowa (AP) Iowa offensive coordinator Brian Ferentz believes that the Hawkeyes' blockers - and not necessarily their running backs - will need to improve next fall for the program to rediscover the running game.

The Hawkeyes, long known as a team that likes to soften up opponents on the ground early before breaking off big gains in the second half, averaged just 3.95 yards per carry last season.


Saban undergoes hip replacement surgery

TUSCALOOSA, Ala. (AP) Alabama coach Nick Saban has undergone hip replacement surgery.

Dr. Lyle Cain said Monday the 67-year-old Saban is expected to make a full recovery and "should be able to return to work in the very new future." Cain says the right hip replacement was "robotic assisted" at Andrews Sports Medicine, with hip specialist Benton Emblom.


QB Mertz creating buzz at Wisconsin

MADISON, Wis. (AP) Four scholarship quarterbacks are competing for the starter's job at Wisconsin. When it comes to competing for fans' attention, there's no contest.

Freshman Graham Mertz is the Badgers' most hyped recruit in years, having enrolled in January after setting a Kansas high school record for touchdown passes last season and being named MVP of the Army All-American Bowl.


SEC teams aim to find defensive stoppers

KNOXVILLE, Tenn. (AP) This week's NFL draft showcases some of the Southeastern Conference's top defensive players from a year ago.

It also is a window into the SEC's challenges this year.

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