Update on the latest in sports:
CFP MEDIA DAY
Player readiness and a burger recipe
UNDATED (AP) – Before No. 1 Alabama faces No. 4 Oklahoma and No. 2 Clemson meets No. 3 Notre Dame, there are questions to be answered heading into Saturday’s games. There may be some answers media day today. Heisman Trophy winner Kyler Murray was under the weather Wednesday but did practice.
Clemson is preparing to be without star defensive tackle Dexter Lawrence and has three players who are in danger of being suspended for failing a drug test. Today it’s Temple vs Duke in the Independence Bowl, Miami vs Wisconsin in the Pinstripe Bowl and Baylor vs Vanderbilt in the Texas Bowl.
The most closely guarded secret around the Alabama Crimson Tide this season has nothing to do with personnel, injuries, depth charts or playcalling. It’s a burger recipe.
Every Thursday night this season, Tide offensive coordinator Mike Locksley -who’ll be taking over as head coach at Maryland when Alabama’s run in the College Football Playoff ends- had offensive players over to his Tuscaloosa home to watch whatever college game was on television and to eat some burgers off his grill.
The crowd of players grew as the season went along, and Locksley’s secret recipe is getting the credit.
NHL gets back to work
UNDATED (AP) – The National Hockey League has a busy schedule after a day off.
The slate includes New jersey at Boston, Columbus against the Rangers, Detroit at Pittsburgh, Carolina at Washington, Philadelphia vs Tampa bay and Buffalo at St. louis. Calgary travels to Winnipeg, Dallas visits Nashville, Minnesota is at Chicago, Edmonton welcomes Vancouver, Vegas hosts Colorado, Anaheim goes to San Jose and Arizona is at Los Angeles.
In hoops action today, the Boston Celtics head to Houston to play the Rockets. Also, the Knicks visit Milwaukee, the L.A. Lakers are in Sacramento, Portland goes against Golden State and Philadelphia heads to Utah.
There are no games featuring Top 25 college teams.
Family of wrestler who cut dreads won’t seek legal action
BUENA, N.J. (AP) – An attorney for a New Jersey high school wrestler forced by a referee to cut his dreadlocks before a match to avoid a forfeit says the boy’s family won’t pursue legal action.
The Buena (BYOO’-nah) Regional school board held an emergency meeting Wednesday night.
The board said the Buena High School wrestling team won’t compete in events officiated by referee Alan Maloney.
Wrestler Andrew Johnson had his dreadlocks cut minutes before the match Dec. 19.
Johnson, who is black, had a cover over his hair, but Maloney, who is white, said that wouldn’t do. Maloney didn’t respond to requests for comment.
At Wednesday’s packed meeting, the school’s board said its investigation into the incident is ongoing.
Nadal looks to Australian Open with confidence after surgery
ABU DHABI, United Arab Emirates (AP) – Rafael Nadal is confident he can be fit for the Australian Open as he chases an 18th Grand Slam title.
A right knee injury forced Nadal to retire from his U.S. Open semifinal in early September – his last competitive match – and the 32-year-old Spaniard had ankle surgery at the start of November.
Asked Thursday to assess his fitness level out of 10 ahead of the Mubadala World Tennis Championship in Abu Dhabi, Nadal said: “I don’t know . I am not that good with numbers.” He says he has tome to be 100 percent.
The Australian Open starts Jan. 14.
Nadal, who won his 17th Grand Slam at the French Open in June, said he was happy with his progress.
The exhibition tournament in Abu Dhabi also features top-ranked Novak Djokovic, who had surgery in February for an injured right elbow.
ITALY SOCCER DEATH
Fan dies; Racist chants at game
MILAN (AP) – Italian soccer has been marred by a fan death and racist chants.
The Inter Milan fan died following clashes with Napoli supporters outside San Siro Stadium. Inside, fans hurled racist chants at Napoli defender Kalidou Koulibaly. Inter won Wednesday’s match 1-0.
Milan police chief Marcello Cardona said Thursday that investigators believe the 35-year-old fan, Daniele Belardinelli, may have been fatally struck by a van or SUV during the clashes.
Four Napoli fans were injured and at least three people arrested.
Italian football federation president Gabriele Gravina said such incidents were “no longer tolerable” and that he intends to simplify the rules for suspending matches.