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Alabama QB Jalen Hurts pays off bet, wears Auburn jersey

It’s easier to pay off a bet when you have a national championship in your pocket.

>> Read more trending news

On Thursday, Alabama quarterback Jalen Hurts wore the jersey of the Crimson Tide’s bitter rival, Auburn, on campus, ESPN reported.

Hurts had made a bet on Nov. 14 with Auburn alumnus Charles Barkley before the Iron Bowl game between the two Alabama universities. 

"Jalen Hurts challenged me to a bet, and I ain't forgot it, Jalen," Barkley said that day. "I'm either going to wear an Alabama jersey on TV, or he's going to have to wear (an Auburn jersey) on campus. ... I've got the jersey coming.

"My Tigers need to win because I don't want to wear that crap on TNT."

Auburn stunned No. 1 Alabama 26-14, handing the Crimson Tide its only loss of the season.

Hurts paid off the bet Thursday, as the school posted a video on its Twitter feed.

"What's up, Charles," Hurts said. "Obviously, I'm a man of my word. And first off, I'd just like to congratulate Auburn and the Auburn family on their successful season this year. But I think it's time I get to class. I'm running kind of late for English."

Hurts added a “Roll Tide” before walking away.

While Alabama lost to Auburn, the Crimson Tide qualified for the College Football Playoff games and won the national title with a 26-23 overtime victory against Georgia.

LaVar Ball blasts Trump after report says UCLA players were freed before president stepped in

We now have a LaVar Ball vs. Donald Trump Part II.

ESPN released a report on Saturday chronicling UCLA’s China shoplifting incident involving freshmen LiAngelo Ball, Jalen Hill and Cody Riley. The three allegedly had stolen sunglasses from Louis Vuitton, a boutique store and a bracelet from H&M.

>> LaVar Ball pulls son LiAngelo out of UCLA after suspension

ESPN’s Arash Markazi wrote that Trump actually had nothing to do with the release of LiAngelo Ball, Hill and Riley.

Upon hearing the news, LaVar Ball doubled down on his stance that Trump had zero to do with getting the three out of harm’s way.

>> See his tweet here

LaVar Ball and Trump previously got into a spat on social media in the days and weeks after the highly-publicized theft. Soon after the LiAngelo Ball, Hill and Riley were released from house arrest, Trump took to Twitter seeking credit.

LaVar Ball dismissed Trump’s request for validation on multiple occasions.

The two had quieted down their tug of war, but Saturday's news has evidently resuscitated the matter.

>> Read more trending news 

LiAngelo Ball has since left UCLA to play professional basketball in Lithuania. Hill and Riley are currently serving a one-year suspension as punishment for the international shoplifting incident but were permitted to practice with the team on Dec. 26.

Jacksonville State center from Lithuania reunited with mother after 5 years 

A college basketball senior from Lithuania was reunited with his mother for the first time in five years, thanks to his coaches at Jacksonville State University, People reported.

>> Read more trending news

Norbertas Giga, a senior for the Gamecocks, had been invited to watch film with the coaching staff in a hotel conference room Tuesday as the team from Alabama prepared to play in the Ohio Valley Conference tournament. 

Giga was told by the coaches that video cameras were present simply to document the team’s postseason run, People reported. Assistant coach Chase Richardson begins the session by asking the 7-footer about his mother’s discipline tactics.

“What did your mom used to tell you about belt whippings? You need them?” Richardson asks Giga. “When’s the last time you had one?”

“Oh man, that was about eight years ago?” Giga said.

Richardson walked to a door near the film screen and told Giga, “I’m tired of belt-whipping you myself. So we got the real thing for you.”

Richardson opened the door and Giga’s mother walked into the room. Giga ran to the opposite side of the room in disbelief, then returns to give his mother a teary embrace.

Giga has been a two-year starter for the Gamecocks since arriving at the school in 2016, CBS Sports reported. Prior to that he spent a season at the junior college level at Midland College and Tallahassee Community College and a year at St. Benedict’s Preparatory School in Newark, New Jersey, CBS Sports reported.

A HUGE Thank You to everybody that was involved in this surprise for me. I can’t even explain how much it means and how this moment feels to me,” Giga wrote on Twitter. “THANK YOU! We are Gamecocks!”

The surprise was not enough to help Giga spark Jacksonville to an OVC title and a berth in the NCAA Tournament. After defeating Tennessee Tech 73-70 on Thursday, the fourth-seeded Gamecocks lost 70-63 to top-seeded Murray State in the conference semifinals Friday night, ESPN reported.

Texas college baseball coach fired after email to recruit about Colorado’s drug policies

A Texas college baseball coach and former major-leaguer was fired Thursday, partially because of comments he made about players from Colorado in an email to a potential recruit, the Star-Telegram reported.

>> Read more trending news

Mike Jeffcoat, who pitched in the majors from 1983 to 1994, was dismissed as Texas Wesleyan’s coach Thursday morning, university president Frederick Slabach announced at a news conference.

Jeffcoat, in an email to 18-year-old Gavin Bell of Cherokee Trail High School in Aurora, Colorado, cited that state’s politicians and its marijuana policies as reasons not to recruit players from the Centennial State, the Denver Post reported.

“Thanks for the interest in our program,” wrote Jeffcoat, 58, who has been Texas Wesleyan’s coach since 2002. “Unfortunately, we are not recruiting players from the state of Colorado. In the past, players have had trouble passing our drug test. We have made a decision to not take a chance on Student-athletes from your state. You can thank your liberal politicians. Best of Luck wherever you decide to play.”

A screenshot of the email was tweeted out Wednesday afternoon by a Denver radio host.

That email, and violations of National Association of Intercollegiate Athletics rules regarding player eligibility, were the reasons for Jeffcoat’s firing. Slabach said. The school had been investigating the rule violations for about a week and reported them to the NAIA on Thursday, the Post reported.

“Mike Jeffcoat is no longer an employee of Texas Wesleyan University,” Slabach said at the news conference. “He was separated from the university due to the discriminatory remarks contained in the email to a potential recruit from the state of Colorado, and for another factor that we have been investigating for the past week.”

Bell told KCNC, that he "didn't know what to think" when he received Jeffcoat’s email.

"What does it have to do with anything with me playing baseball because of past encounters and not taking a chance with me?" Bell told KCNC.

During Thursday’s news conference Thursday, Slabach said the university, located in Fort Worth, “would love to have Gavin here as a student."

Since sales of recreational marijuana became legal in Colorado in 2014, Wesleyan has had only one other player from the Centennial State on its baseball roster, Eaglecrest graduate Aidan Laurini, the Post reported.

"My intention really wasn't to do anything to hurt anybody or get anybody fired," Bell told KCNC. "It was just me talking to my coaches and my loved ones about what do I do with this."

Jeffcoat had a 25-26 record over 255 games with the Texas Rangers, Cleveland Indians, San Francisco Giants and Florida Marlins.

Louisville basketball team stripped of 2013 NCAA title

The NCAA stripped the University of Louisville of its 2013 national basketball title and mandated that the school must vacate 123 wins between 2011 and 2015, the organization said on its website Tuesday. The decision by an NCAA panel denied the Cardinals' appeals in a sex scandal case.

>> Read more trending news

The NCAA’s appeals committee also upheld the Division I Committee’s decision in June 2017 to require the university to return money it received through conference revenue sharing for its appearances in NCAA basketball tournaments during 2012 and 2013, when the Cardinals appeared in the Final Four; and tournament appearances in 2014 and 2015.

It is the first time in modern Division I men's basketball history that a championship was vacated. The Louisville-Courier Journal reported.

The decision ended a two-year process that began after a book published by Katina Powell sparked an NCAA probe in October 2015. In “Breaking Cardinal Rules: Basketball and the Escort Queen,” Powell alleged that former Louisville basketball staff member Andre McGee paid women thousands of dollars and gave them game tickets to dance for and have sex with players and recruits, the Courier-Journal reported.

Louisville officials imposed a postseason ban for the 2016 Atlantic Coast Conference and NCAA tournaments, and then added recruiting sanctions after confirming Powell’s allegations, the Courier Journal reported. Former coach Rick Pitino was suspended for five conference games and appealed the ruling. Pitino dropped the appeal after he was fired in October 2017 after an FBI investigation into college basketball recruiting practices included allegations against the school, the Courier-Journal reported.

In its appeal, Louisville argued that the penalties were “excessive,” the NCAA said. 

Kid from ‘The Blind Side’ now works for Arkansas football team

Sean “SJ” Tuohy Jr. has not been blindsided by fame. In fact, he has embraced it.

>> Read more trending news

Tuohy works for University of Arkansas coach Chad Morris, but many remember him because of the character portrayed by Jae Head in the 2009 movie “The Blind Side.”

"Everyone wants me to stay as this 11-year-old kid," Tuohy, an assistant director of football operations, told KATV. "Some people think I 'Benjamin Button'-ed it, never aged or went backwards. I think it's disappointing to someone when I say ‘That's me.’ ‘Oh man, I thought you were much smaller and cuter!’”

“The Blind Side” is the story of Michael Oher, an impoverished youth adopted by the well-to-do Tuohy family. Oher went on to a successful career as an offensive lineman at the University of Mississippi and the NFL, most notably with the Baltimore Ravens.

Tuohy continues to have a good relationship with his adopted brother.

"You look back at it and think, I wasn't really like that, that's not how it was. (But) that's what it was like," Tuohy told KATV. “(Michael) excelled in football, he excelled in basketball, everyone socially loved him. He was someone you look at like, 'Man, I hope I can be like that one day.'"

Tuohy shed some light on the film, which starred Sandra Bullock in the role of his mother and Tim McGraw as his father. Quinton Aaron played Oher in the film.

He said Bullock’s characterization of his mother, Leigh Anne Tuohy, was accurate, but was only a capsule version.

"She's much worse in real life than Sandra Bullock was in the movie,” Tuohy told KATV. “That was two hours of my mom. Think about that as a 24-hour day, all the time."

Bullock won an Academy Award for her portrayal of Leigh Anne Touhy.

Tuohy said the movie sometimes was a curse, adding that he’d often be taunted while playing high school sports.

"'Good job, Sandra,' chants and I remember we were warming up one time playing a school in football and they played the whole 'Blind Side' soundtrack before the game,” Tuohy told KATV. “I can't control any of that stuff and just laugh it off."

Georgia State soccer player withdraws from school after backlash over racial epithet

A Georgia State University soccer player who was suspended from the team after she used a racial epithet on social media has withdrawn from the school, officials said.

>> PREVIOUS STORY: Georgia State soccer player suspended over racial slur used on social media

Some students had called for the expulsion of 18-year-old freshman defender Natalia Martinez after the epithet appeared on her Finsta page, a secret version of Instagram that is growing in popularity among teens.

>> On AJC.com: What is a ‘Finsta'? Teens and their secret Instagram accounts

“As a progressive, diverse university, we ... feel like this sort of behavior should not be tolerated,” said India Bridgeforth, who created a petition demanding the university take a tougher approach with Martinez.

The petition had garnered more than 500 signatures by Monday afternoon when the university announced Martinez had “officially withdrawn.”

Associate athletic director Mike Holmes told The Atlanta Journal-Constitution that officials were made aware of Martinez’s post Friday morning — just days after the University of Alabama expelled a 19-year-old student who posted a video of a racist rant on her Finsta page.

>> Read more trending news 

That student, Harley Barber, uploaded a second video on Martin Luther King Jr. Day in response to people who were upset by the language and threatened those who wanted to report her fake Instagram account, The Washington Post reported

In a statement, Georgia State University said the school does “not tolerate the language (Martinez) used in her post.”

Wrong guy: Ohio man tabbed as Tennessee coach on Twitter enjoying the notoriety

An Ohio man has gained notoriety in recent weeks, thanks to a college football coach with the same name.

Jeremy Pruitt of Dayton was mistaken on Twitter by football fans as being the new coach of the University of Tennessee football team, The Knoxville News Sentinel reported. Another Jeremy Pruitt was named Tennessee’s football coach on Dec. 7.

The mix-up began in November, when rumors emerged that Pruitt the football coach was rumored to be a candidate for the Mississippi State University football job before he took the Tennessee position.

A mistaken Mississippi State fan reportedly sent the Pruitt from Dayton a message on Twitter, prompting him to then tweet about the mix-up.

“No way I’m getting tweeted about accepting the Miss State coaching job lol,” Dayton’s Pruitt wrote.

A columnist at the Tuscaloosa News then retweeted the tweet to his thousands of followers, causing Dayton’s Pruitt to receive dozens of tweets from Mississippi State fans, most of whom realized the mix-up.

Since then, Pruitt has gained thousands of followers on Twitter and he has jokingly changed his profile and cover photos to include Mississippi State logos and images. Pruitt has told news outlets that he is originally from Columbus and is actually an avid fan of Ohio State University.

Along with his explosion of online followers, Dayton’s Pruitt has also received mentions on TV from ESPN and on the sports website SB Nation.

And the “other” Jeremy Pruitt? Here is his introductory news conference when he was named the Vols’ head coach:

Legendary sportscaster Keith Jackson dead at 89

Keith Jackson, whose Southern drawl and homespun, folksy phrases endeared him to college football fans for more than half a century, died Friday night, ESPN reported. He was 89.

>> Read more trending news

Jackson died surrounded by his family, according to NBC Sports' Todd Harris.

Born in Roopville, Georgia, on Oct. 18, 1928, Jackson was also the first play-by-play broadcaster for “Monday Night Football” when it debuted in 1970 and covered a wide range of sports. He was known for his signature phrase “Whoa, Nellie!” after a big play. Jackson said the origin of the phrase came from his great-grandfather. He also coined the phrase “Big Uglies,” and christened Michigan’s football stadium “The Big House,” ESPN reported.

Jackson called 15 Rose Bowl games and was credited with calling the New Year’s Day game “The granddaddy of them all,” The New York Daily News reported. The final game he broadcast from Pasadena was the 2006 game in which Texas rallied to defeat USC for the national title.

Jackson was named national sportscaster of the year five times, the Daily News reported.

Jackson spent four years in the Marines and later graduated with a journalism degree from Washington State University, where he broadcast the team’s games.

He joined ABC’s college football announcing team in 1966, but also called NBA games, auto racing and was a staple on ABC’s “Wide World of Sports.” He also announced World Series games, 10 Olympics and traveled to 31 countries, ESPN reported.

Jackson also had fun playing off his signature phrase, as this commercial for Miller Lite demonstrates:

Tributes to Jackson rolled in on Twitter:

Alabama center proposes to girlfriend after winning national title

It was a great day for Bradley Bozeman — winning a national championship, followed by getting engaged.

>> Read more trending news

The Alabama center proposed to his girlfriend on the field at Mercedes-Benz Stadium after the Crimson Tide beat Georgia 26-23 in overtime to win the College Football Playoff National Championship Game on Monday night.

Bozeman’s girlfriend answered his proposal with a yes, putting a cap on the senior’s great day.

Watch Bozeman’s proposal, courtesy of Sports Illustrated:

Bozeman just completed his second season as Alabama’s starting center. Last year, he was part of the Crimson Tide team that lost to Clemson in the National Championship Game. Let’s just say the game this year ended much better — in more ways than one.

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