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Michele Tafoya is the Emmy award-winning reporter for NBC's Sunday Night Football, but she's spent time on basketball courts, softball diamonds, gymnastics mats and now public radio quiz show game grids.

We've invited Tafoya to play a game called "Enter at your own risk!" As one of the first female reporters to be allowed inside the NFL locker room, she has been a pioneer in her field. But there are still places out there where they believe in cooties, so Tafoya will answer three questions about men's-only clubs.

Saying that "Julie's entire record of accomplishment ... is stellar," Rutgers University President Robert Barchi has issued a statement supporting the school's incoming athletic director — who has come under intense scrutiny because of allegations about how she treated players she once coached.

Sunday is the 97th running of the Indianapolis 500, which draws hundreds of thousands of fans to the Indianapolis Motor Speedway. While it's an economic boon for the area, the 104-year-old track needs renovations — and just how it's getting the money is rubbing some Hoosiers the wrong way.

The most unforgiving criticism in sport is directed at any athlete who fans believe is celebrated too excessively above his true talent level — especially those stars who are gloried because they're such pretty people.

Phil Jackson is famous not only for coaching stars — Michael Jordan and Scottie Pippen with the Chicago Bulls, Kobe Bryant and Shaquille O'Neal with the L.A. Lakers — but also for his distinctive "zen" approach to basketball. He introduced his teams to yoga and meditation, and regularly assigned his players books to read.

America's Cup, the oldest and most prestigious sailing competition, has hit some choppy water.

The death last week of British sailor and gold medal Olympian Andrew "Bart" Simpson when the boat he was crewing capsized and broke up during a practice run off San Francisco, has prompted tough questions about safety.

Dick Trickle, a "short-track hero" in the '70s and '80s who moved to the NASCAR circuit later in his career, died Thursday.

According to The Charlotte Observer, the 71-year-old was killed by "an apparent self-inflicted gunshot wound, Lincoln County [N.C.] deputies said."

The Great Gatsby is on the screen again, re-opening the perennial debate about whether or not it is the great American novel. Or was that Huckleberry Finn? Or are we still waiting for the great American novel? Is the title vacant, like most recent Tour de France championships? In the arts, the argument over the great American novel is a rather unusual great fuss about the greatest. In most disciplines there simply doesn't seem to be a passion to constantly assess who's No. 1. Except, except ...

Except in sport.

The University of Memphis baseball team plays its final home game of the season Tuesday. In addition to rooting for the players, Memphis fans will cheer for someone else: batboy Stan Bronson Jr.

O.J. Simpson, shackled and wearing a blue prison uniform, was back in court on Monday asking for a new trial in the 2008 robbery-kidnapping case that landed him in prison.

The Associated Press described 65-year-old football star and TV pitchman as "Looking grayer and heavier ... flanked by guards as he nodded and raised his eyebrows to acknowledge people he recognized in the audience."

Tourism officials in Dayton say the NCAA basketball games played in the city in March pumped nearly $11 million into the local economy.

There's huge news in the sports world this morning:

Alex Ferguson, who has managed Manchester United football club for 26 years, is retiring at the end of the English Premier League season, which wraps up on May 19.

From London, NPR's Philip Reeves tells our Newscast Desk that:

A soccer referee who was punched by a player after calling a foul on him during a recreational soccer game in Utah died Saturday night, a week after he was hit once in the face. The suspect, who received a yellow card penalty from referee Ricardo Portillo, was arrested Monday and remains incarcerated, officials say.

Update at 6:45 p.m. Orb Takes Derby Title:

Favored heavily 5-1 prior to the race, Orb has taken the title of the 139th Kentucky Derby Saturday at Churchill Downs.

The win gives Hall of Fame trainer Shug McGaughey his first victory in the race for 3-year-old Thoroughbreds.

"It's like living a dream," Orb's jockey, Joel Rosario, told NBC after the race, calling it "a perfect trip."

The other top finishers were Golden Soul in second, Revolutionary in third and Normandy Invasion in fourth place.

Orb ran the 1 1/4 mile race in 2:02.89.

Our guess is that legendary Dodgers manager Tommy Lasorda isn't into that whole "Gangnam Style" thing.

A relatively high-profile black man came out this week. And with it, a hardy old narrative got another moment in the sun.

When Jason Collins, a journeyman NBA center, announced that he was gay, many commentators who applauded his disclosure still nodded to the idea of heightened opposition to gay rights among black people.

The Columbus Blue Jackets will once again be watching the NHL playoffs on television.

Ohio State's football team closes out spring workouts tomorrow with the annual scrimmage.

The Clippers home opener may have been rained out last night, but baseball is still blooming in Columbus this weekend, with the Wexner Center's series of baseball shorts.

For The Love Of The Game: Play Ball!

Apr 12, 2013

For some not inconsiderable portion of the population, life reorganizes itself each spring with the start of the baseball season. Until now, my role in the baseball eco-system has been clear. I am a fan. I watch baseball, and I think about it. A lot. My ex-wife once referred to herself in my presence as a baseball widow. I don't really think that was fair. But it is true I don't miss a game the Mets play, time zones be damned. And it is true that love has a lot to do with it. Love of the game, yes. But really: love of my team.

As final preparations are underway for the Cleveland Indians’ home opener at Progressive Field, this afternoon, bulldozers are re-shaping another field over on the city’s eastside.

Calling his three years at Ohio State the best of his life, forward Deshaun Thomas announced today that he will forego his final season of eligibility as a Buckeye.

You have to give Louisville basketball player Kevin Ware credit. He's a really good sport.

(We most recently updated the top of this post at 11:10 a.m. ET.)

Responding to outrage from around the nation after videotape of men's basketball coach Mike Rice assaulting his players and spewing homophobic slurs at them was aired on ESPN, New Jersey's Rutgers University fired Rice at mid-morning Wednesday.

The 44-year-old "visibly distraught" Rice, WABC in New York reports, told reporters earlier in the day that:

"University of Louisville basketball player Kevin Ware underwent successful surgery Sunday night to repair the gruesome open fracture of his right tibia he suffered during the Cardinals' 85-63 win over Duke in the Midwest Regional final," the Louisville Courier-Journal reported Monday morning.

NPR's Tom Goldman is covering the World Baseball Classic tournament and sends along this report:

During the March Madness of 1963, playing was infused with politics. The NCAA matchup between Loyola University of Chicago and Mississippi State helped put an end to segregated basketball. Loyola's win 50 years ago became known as the "game of change."

At the time, college basketball was still predominantly white, with usually no more than two or three black players appearing on the floor at any one time. But in '63, the Loyola Ramblers' starting lineup featured four black players.

Several years ago I gave a speech in which I mentioned that athletes tended to be the only college students who were awarded scholarships for what is an extracurricular activity.

Afterward, Myles Brand, the late president of the NCAA, told me I was wrong, that many music extracurricular scholarships were awarded at colleges.

Brand and I seldom agreed on much of anything, but I've always found him to be a gentleman. So, I expressed surprise at this claim.

William Moody, who as the pro wrestling character Paul Bearer embodied a sense of theater that was equal parts morbid and absurd, has died at age 58. A portly man known for his wild-eyed stare and habit of carrying a brass urn under his arm, Paul Bearer was most notably the manager of The Undertaker and Kane.

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