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Yankees make deal to acquire ball from Alex Rodriguez’s 3,000th hit 07.03.15 at 1:47 pm ET
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After a couple of weeks of negotiations, the Yankees will hold a press conference before Friday’s game against the Rays at Yankee Stadium in which they will receive the ball Alex Rodriguez hit into the right-field bleachers for his 3,000th hit last month.

Zach Hample, the fan who caught the ball, agreed to relinquish it in exchange for a $150,000 donation to his favorite charity, Pitch In For Baseball, along with some memorabilia, tickets and other perks, according to reports out of New York.

Hample, who claims to have caught thousands of baseballs during games and batting practice over the years, was not cooperative with the team when first contacted during the June 19 game against the Tigers after Rodriguez recorded his historic hit.

Hample answered some critics of his decision to settle with the team when he tweeted Friday morning: So let me get this straight — I was “disrespecting the game” when I kept the ball & now I’m an “idiot” for giving it back? Ha, whatever.

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Wednesday’s Morning Mashup: NHL plans move to 3-on-3 OT 06.24.15 at 8:10 am ET
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Welcome to Wednesday’s Morning Mashup. For the latest news, start at our WEEI.com home page or click here for the top stories from our news wire.

WEDNESDAY’S BROADCAST HIGHLIGHTS:
MLB: Orioles at Red Sox, 7:10 p.m. (NESN; WEEI-FM)
MLB: Phillies at Yankees, 1 p.m. (MLB Network)
MLB: Dodgers at Cubs, 8:05 p.m. (ESPN2)
College baseball: World Series, Virginia vs. Vanderbilt, 8 p.m. (ESPN)
NHL: Awards show, 7 p.m. (NBCSN)
MLS: Revolution at Crew, 7:30 p.m. (CSNNE)
MLS: Timbers at Galaxy, 11 p.m. (ESPN2)

AROUND THE WEB:

— Good news for Bruins fans: There should be fewer shootouts next season.

NHL general managers and players agreed Tuesday to change the overtime format from four-on-four — which it has been since 1999 — to three skaters per side. Now the proposal needs approval from the Board of Governors during Wednesday’s meeting in Las Vegas.

“We’ve already seen that it works in the AHL,” Flames GM Brad Treliving said. “And when you translate that to the skill level of the NHL players, I think it’s going to be very exciting.”

The AHL starts with four minutes of four-on-four, then goes to three minutes of three-on-three. The NHLPA opposed that format last year, apparently preferring to avoid extending games, but supported this year’s proposal.

“I think management preferred what they’ve done in the American league,” Reds Wings GM Ken Holland said. “But management wanted a higher percentage of games decided in overtime, and three-on-three is going to do it. We think it’s going to be a much higher percentage.”

The shootout still remains should teams stay tied after the five-minute overtime. The Bruins had just four wins in 14 shootouts last season, tied for the third-worst percentage in the league.

Also agreed to Tuesday: Coaches will be able to challenge goals based on goalie interference and offsides, and the salary cap was set at $71.4 million.

— The fan who caught Alex Rodriguez‘s 3,000th hit — a home run to the right-field bleachers — has softened his stance somewhat on making a deal to return the ball.

Zack Hample, who claims to have caught thousands of baseballs over the years, initially was uncooperative when approached by Yankees management. And a day before he caught the ball, he tweeted that if he did come up with it he would “give [Rodriguez] the finger and a dummy ball. That man deserves favors from no one, least of all a fan.”

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Wednesday’s Morning Mashup: Ravens LB Terrell Suggs surprisingly supports Tom Brady, plays down Deflategate 06.17.15 at 8:08 am ET
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Welcome to Wednesday’s Morning Mashup. For the latest news, start at our WEEI.com home page or click here for the top stories from our news wire.

WEDNESDAY’S BROADCAST HIGHLIGHTS:
MLB: Red Sox at Braves, 7:10 p.m. (NESN; WEEI-FM)
MLB: Rays at Nationals, 7:05 p.m. (ESPN2)
Soccer: Women’s World Cup, Mexico vs. France, 4 p.m. (Fox)
Soccer: Women’s World Cup, England vs. Colombia, 4 p.m. (FS1)
Soccer: Women’s World Cup, Costa Rica vs. Brazil, 7 p.m. (FS1)

AROUND THE WEB:

— Ravens linebacker Terrell Suggs rarely misses an opportunity to take a shot at Tom Brady — on and off the field. However, Suggs was surprisingly supportive of the Patriots quarterback when asked about Brady’s legacy following the QB’s four-game suspension for his role in Deflategate and his failure to cooperate with the league’s investigation.

“The guy is a winner,” Suggs said Tuesday (via The Baltimore Sun). “He’s won with whatever kind of personnel that he’s had. So I don’t think it really tarnished it. You need something to write about. Everybody needs something to write about, needs something to talk about, I guess. There’s is that. Ours was the deer antler [controversy involving Ray Lewis three years ago]. It’s always something.”

Last month, Suggs was spotted by TMZ leaving a Beverly Hills restaurant and was a little more willing to tweak the Pats over Deflategate, noting, “The last coach that got caught cheating got suspended for a whole year. So …”

This time, however, the normally outspoken Suggs said he didn’t want to wade into this controversy.

“I’m not stepping into that,” he said Tuesday. “I’m leaving that alone.”

— Michael Sam remains on the suspended list of the CFL’s Montreal Alouettes after leaving the team over the weekend, with no immediate resolution in sight.

Sam, the first openly gay player to be drafted by an NFL team, reportedly was struggling in Montreal’s training camp, leading to speculation that he left because he was afraid he would be cut.

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Read More: alex rodriguez, Michael Sam, Terrell Suggs, Tom Brady
Thursday’s Morning Mashup: Alex Rodriguez takes high road after ex-Yankees teammate Jorge Posada says he doesn’t belong in Hall 05.14.15 at 8:14 am ET
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Welcome to Thursday’s Morning Mashup. For the latest news, start at our WEEI.com home page or click here for the top stories from our news wire.

THURSDAY’S BROADCAST HIGHLIGHTS:
MLB: Red Sox at Mariners, 10:10 p.m. (NESN; WEEI-FM)
MLB: Twins at Tigers, 1:08 p.m. (MLB Network)
MLB: Yankees at Rays, 7:10 p.m. (MLB Network)
NBA playoffs: Cavaliers at Bulls, 8 p.m. (ESPN)
NBA playoffs: Rockets at Clippers, 10:30 p.m. (ESPN)
NBA: Draft combine, 3 p.m. (ESPN2)
Hockey: IIHF World Championship, Canada vs. Belarus, 9 a.m. (NBCSN)
Hockey: IIHF World Championship, Sweden vs. Russia, 11:30 a.m. (NBCSN)
Hockey: IIHF World Championship, Finland vs. Czech Republic, 11:30 p.m. (NBCSN)

AROUND THE WEB:

— Former Yankees catcher Jorge Posada, making the rounds to promote his new autobiography, said players who use performance-enhancing drugs — including former teammates Alex Rodriguez and Roger Clemensshould not be allowed in the Hall of Fame.

Appearing on “CBS This Morning” Wednesday, Posada stated “No,” when asked about A-Rod and Clemens.

“I don’t think it’s fair,” he added. “I really don’t. I think the guys that need to be in the Hall of Fame need to be a player that played with no controversy.”

Rodriguez, apprised of Posada’s comments before the Yankees‘ game against the Rays, said he considers Posada a friend and had nothing but good things to say about him.

“Jorge’s always worn his heart on his sleeve and that’s fine,” Rodriguez said. “He was a great teammate and a great player for a long time. What I remember the most is sharing and winning a championship in ’09.”

Posada finished third in the voting for the 2003 American League MVP award. It was won by Rodriguez, who later admitted to cheating.

“I was almost there,” Posada said of that honor. “You know what could’ve happened if . . . you know, it’s tough. It’s really tough.”

A-Rod said he had no interested in discussing the past.

“2003 is a long time ago,” he said. “All my energy is focused on 2015.”

— Indians pitcher Corey Kluber began Wednesday night with an 0-5 record. He ended by flirting with history.

Kluber struck out 18 Cardinals — the most K’s by an American League pitcher since then-Red Sox ace Roger Clemens in 1998 — and pitched 6 2/3 innings of no-hit ball in Cleveland’s 2-0 win. He was relieved after the eighth inning despite having a shot to break the major league record for strikeouts (20, by Clemens and Kerry Wood).

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Read More: alex rodriguez, Bill Guthridge, Corey Kluber, Jorge Posada
Friday’s Morning Mashup: Yankees fans give Alex Rodriguez standing ovation after HR No. 661 05.08.15 at 8:08 am ET
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Welcome to Friday’s Morning Mashup. For the latest news, start at our WEEI.com home page or click here for the top stories from our news wire.

FRIDAY’S BROADCAST HIGHLIGHTS:
MLB: Red Sox at Blue Jays, 7:07 p.m. (NESN; WEEI-FM)
MLB: Orioles at Yankees, 7 p.m. (MLB Network)
NBA playoffs: Cavaliers at Bulls, 8 p.m. (ESPN)
NBA playoffs: Rockets at Clippers, 10:30 p.m. (ESPN)
NHL playoffs: Capitals at Rangers, 7 p.m. (NBCSN)
NHL playoffs: Ducks at Flames, 9:30 p.m. (NBCSN)
Hockey: IIHF World Championship, United States vs. Denmark, 2 p.m. (NBCSN)
MLS: Revolution at Orlando City, 8 p.m. (Univision)
Golf: The Players Championship, 1 p.m. (TGC)

AROUND THE WEB:

Alex Rodriguez received a standing ovation from the Yankee Stadium crowd after hitting home run No. 661 in the third inning of Thursday’s 4-3 victory over the Orioles, moving past Willie Mays for sole possession of fourth place on baseball’s all-time home run list.

The Yankees, who have downplayed Rodriguez’s accomplishment and said they will not pay a $6 million bonus agreed to in his contract due to his use of performance-enhancing drugs, acknowledged the milestone with a statement on the scoreboard: 661 Home Runs. Alex Rodriguez just surpassed Willie Mays for sole possession of 4th place on baseball’s all-time home runs list.

Encouraged by his teammates to take a curtain call, Rodriguez said he first got the OK from manager Joe Girardi and then quickly jumped to the top step of the dugout and raised his hands over his head.

“All of this is pretty crazy,” Rodriguez said. “A year ago today I never thought I would ever get a curtain call or be hitting in the middle of the lineup for the Yankees, helping our team win.”

“When you’re productive you re-earn their respect and they pull for you,” Girardi said of the fans.

Said teammate Brett Gardner: “It’s a lot of fun to be a part of. I know there’s a lot of questions surrounding everything. Still, 661 home runs is a lot.”

Unlike when Rodriguez tied Mays with No. 660 last Friday against the Red Sox and the fan who caught the ball refused to give it up, this time the ball was easily retrieved, as it landed just to the left of Monument Park in center field, in an area off limits to fans.

Rodriguez almost homered in the first inning, but Orioles right fielder Delmon Young reached over the fence to turn it into an out.

— The Cowboys signed LSU offensive lineman La’el Collins and welcomed him to Dallas in an emotional press conference Thursday night.

Collins, projected to be a first-round draft pick, went undrafted after police expressed an interested in talking to him following the shooting death of his pregnant ex-girlfriend. A paternity test revealed Collins was not the father.

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Read More: alex rodriguez, Floyd Mayweather, Ja'el Collins, Manny Pacquiao
Alex Rodriguez on Yankees trying to deny $6M bonus: ‘I’m just happy to be playing baseball’ 05.04.15 at 12:21 pm ET
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After Alex Rodriguez hit the 660th home run of his career on Friday at Fenway Park, Yankees general manager Brian Cashman told the media that the team would not pay the 40-year-old a $6 million bonus for moving up on the all-time home run list. Rodriguez is now tied with Willie Mays at No. 4.

A-Rod responded on Saturday, telling reporters that he is not worried the money and is instead focusing on playing.

“I’m just happy to be playing baseball,” Rodriguez said. “Honestly, I am in a good place. A year ago I wouldn’t be dreaming to be talking to you guys about playing baseball and enjoying the game so much. … I’ve been in a good place for a while now and it’s just fun to be playing baseball.”

The 10-year contract that Rodriguez signed in 2007 promised a $6 million bonus for each time he moved up on the home run list as the Yankees would market the accomplishments. After the veteran’s year-long suspension for violating the league’s performance-enhancing drug policy, however, New York no longer believes it is in its interest to market the milestones.

Cashman said that the Yankees “have the right, but not the obligation” to pay the bonuses.

Rodriguez seems to be ignoring the decision instead of disputing it.

“I’ve learned my lesson,” Rodriguez said, discussing his history of publicly going head-to-head with both Major League Baseball and the Yankees organization. “The old [A-Rod] is gone.”

Read More: alex rodriguez, brian cashman, Yankees,
Monday’s Morning Mashup: Alex Rodriguez ‘having fun’ as he closes to within 1 home run of Willie Mays 04.27.15 at 7:43 am ET
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Welcome to Monday’s Morning Mashup. For the latest news, start at our WEEI.com home page or click here for the top stories from our news wire.

MONDAY’S BROADCAST HIGHLIGHTS:
MLB: Blue Jays at Red Sox, 6:10 p.m. (NESN; WEEI-FM)
MLB: Nationals at Braves, 7 p.m. (ESPN)
MLB: Giants at Dodgers, 10:10 p.m. (MLB Network)
NBA playoffs: Bucks at Bulls, 8 p.m. (TNT)
NBA playoffs: Grizzlies at Trail Blazers, 10:30 p.m. (TNT)
NHL playoffs: Lightning at Red Wings, 7 p.m. (CNBC)
NHL playoffs: Islanders at Capitals, 7:30 p.m. (NBCSN)

AROUND THE WEB:

Alex Rodriguez closed to within one home run of tying Willie Mays for fourth place on Major League Baseball‘s career list with his first-inning shot off Mets starter Jon Niese on Sunday night, although the Yankees continue to downplay his accomplishments.

The team has made it clear it will fight to avoid paying Rodriguez the $6 million bonus he is due for tying Mays, based on his use of performance-enhancing drugs that led to his season-long suspension in 2014. And the Yankees have not promoted Rodriguez’s pursuit of the home run title this season.

Asked about the situation Sunday night, Rodriguez said: “I don’t have a marketing degree. I’m just focusing on playing baseball.”

Fans at Yankee Stadium continued to be supportive of Rodriguez, who had a double in Sunday’s game, helping the Yankees rally for a 6-4 victory that puts them at 11-8 and tied for first in the American League East.

“It was energizing,” he said of the fans’ support Sunday. “The buzz was incredible. To feel that energy was pretty cool.”

Added Rodriguez: “I’m excited about the win today, the home run, and I’m having fun.”

— Cardinals ace Adam Wainwright might miss the rest of the season with the ankle injury he suffered while batting in Saturday’s game against the Brewers.

Wainwright was placed on the 15-day disabled list after stumbling out of the batter’s box on a fly out in the fifth inning and being helped off the field.

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Tuesday’s Morning Mashup: Bills OL Richie Incognito starts workouts with new team after ‘inner reflection’ 04.07.15 at 8:09 am ET
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Welcome to Tuesday’s Morning Mashup. For the latest news, start at our WEEI.com home page or click here for the top stories from our news wire.

TUESDAY’S BROADCAST HIGHLIGHTS:
MLB: Orioles at Rays, 7:10 p.m. (MLB Network)
MLB: Rangers at Athletics, 10:05 p.m. (MLB Network)
NBA: Spurs at Thunder, 8 p.m. (TNT)
NBA: Lakers at Clippers, 10:30 p.m. (TNT)
College basketball: Women’s NCAA Tournament final, UConn vs. Notre Dame, 8:30 p.m. (ESPN)
NHL: Wild at Blackhawks, 8:30 p.m. (NBCSN)
Soccer: Premier League, Queens Park at Aston Villa, 2:55 p.m. (NBCSN)

AROUND THE WEB:

Richie Incognito

Richie Incognito

— Richie Incognito began offseason conditioning with his new Bills teammates Monday, and the controversial offensive lineman acknowledged that his year and a half in exile following the 2013 bullying scandal with the Dolphins was “humbling.”

Incognito was benched by the Dolphins for the final eight games of the 2013 season, and no team was willing to sign him last year.

“It was definitely difficult sitting out, knowing I could still play, knowing I had talent to contribute,” Incognito said [via ESPN]. “It was a learning process. At first there was a lot of frustration: ‘Why am I not signed? Why am I not on a team?’ It was a time for inner reflection. Kind of a time for growth.

“Then it was an acceptance, and accepting the fact that I’m not going to play this year, that I’m going to have to chalk it up and wait for another opportunity.”

An NFL investigation found that Incognito bullied teammate Jonathan Martin, and there were reports of other incidents of harassment.

“There was a lot of things said and done that I wish I could change,” Incognito said. “But moving forward, you have to accept that there was definitely a learning process and a growing process and a process that I went through to become a better person. Nobody’s perfect. I think the biggest thing is I’ve learned from what I’ve went through, I’ve learned from what went down. I’ve grown from it.”

Incognito added that he’s “very thankful” that the Bills have given him a chance, which came about after he met with team owners Terry and Kim Pegula as well as new coach Rex Ryan.

Rex Ryan spent a lot of time talking about being a good teammate and coming in and putting my best foot forward,” Incognito said. “One of the big things they wanted to make sure was that I could still be myself without having any of the issues.”

Said Ryan: “I just wanted to see the sincerity that he was speaking with and where he was at. He’s got a burning desire to play this game still. I think that’s important. And obviously — hey, look, we’ve all made mistakes. Every single one of us in here has made mistakes. I know I’ve made than you guys. But it’s what we do and how excited he is about getting a new opportunity, and I can’t wait to watch him. But he’s a Bill now. He’s just one of us.”

Alex Rodriguez received mostly cheers from the Yankee Stadium faithful in Monday’s opener, although there wasn’t much else for New Yorkers to cheer about in a 6-1 loss to the Blue Jays.

Rodriguez, in his first at-bat in over a year following his MLB suspension, batted seventh as the designated hitter. He walked in his first plate appearance, then hit a single to right-center fielder in his second and lined out in his final at-bat.

“I have to admit, it definitely felt good. That’s for sure,” Rodriguez said.

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Read More: alex rodriguez, Avery Johnson, Masahiro Tanaka, Rex Ryan
Tuesday’s Morning Mashup: Alex Rodriguez continues hot start at spring training 03.10.15 at 8:04 am ET
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Welcome to Tuesday’s Morning Mashup. For the latest news, start at our WEEI.com home page or click here for the top stories from our news wire.

TUESDAY’S BROADCAST HIGHLIGHTS:
NHL: Bruins at Senators, 7:30 p.m. (NESN)
NHL: Kings at Avalanche, 9 p.m. (NBCSN)
College basketball: Boston College vs. Georgia Tech, 1 p.m. (ESPN2)
College basketball: Virginia Tech vs. Wake Forest, 3 p.m. (ESPN2)
College basketball: Robert Morris at Saint Francis (N.Y.), 7 p.m. (ESPN2)
College basketball: Green Bay at Valparaiso, 7 p.m. (ESPN)
College basketball: Princeton at Pennsylvania, 7:30 p.m. (CBSSN)
College basketball: North Dakota State vs. South Dakota State, 9 p.m. (ESPN2)
MLB exhibition: Tigers at Phillies, 1 p.m. (MLB Network)
MLB exhibition: Rangers at Angels, 4 p.m. (MLB Network)
Soccer: UEFA Champions, Schalke at Real Madrid, 3:30 p.m. (FS1)

AROUND THE WEB:

— There were some expectations that Alex Rodriguez would need some time to shake off the rust after being suspended for the entire 2014 season. However, Rodriguez has been hot in his first week of spring training, going 2-for-3 Monday against the Rays to improve to 4-for-9 with two walks in four games.

“It doesn’t really mean anything,” Rodriguez said. “I’ve played for a long time. It’s better than 0-for-9, I guess. … Nothing’s really significant this time of year.”

Manager Joe Girardi acknowledged he didn’t expect Rodriguez to be this comfortable this quickly, and he said he’s impressed by the start.

“I think it’s impossible not to [be impressed],” Girardi said. “If you’re struggling in the beginning, like a lot of our hitters are, you say it’s timing. That was my concern for Alex coming into camp; how long would it take for him to get his timing? I think he’s done a pretty good job adjusting, and I want to continue to see it.”

Added Rays manager Kevin Cash: “He looked good, he was aggressive, obviously hunting fastballs. He looked just the same as he did two years ago, so good for him.”

Rodriguez also passed another checkpoint, as Monday’s game was his first back-to-back outing of the spring. He’s expected to take Tuesday off.

“The first week is always the toughest,” Rodriguez said. “So far, so good.”

— Oft-injured Bulls star Derrick Rose, who had surgery on his knee Feb. 27, said Monday that he thinks he will return this season, but only “whenever I feel right, that’s when I’m going to step back.”

The team indicated Rose would miss between four and six weeks after his surgery to repair the torn medial meniscus in his right knee. He shot around on the United Center floor before Monday’s game.

“I feel good. I’m in a positive place right now,” Rose said in his first public comments since the surgery. “Just trying to keep it positive and get the most out of these days.”

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Read More: alex rodriguez, Derrick Rose,
Monday’s Morning Mashup: Defiant Syracuse coach Jim Boeheim tells fans, ‘I’m not going anywhere’ 03.09.15 at 8:04 am ET
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Welcome to Monday’s Morning Mashup. For the latest news, start at our WEEI.com home page or click here for the top stories from our news wire.

MONDAY’S BROADCAST HIGHLIGHTS:
NBA: Celtics at Heat, 7:30 p.m. (CSNNE)
NBA: Grizzlies at Bulls, 8 p.m. (NBA TV)
College basketball: Pepperdine vs. Gonzaga, 9 p.m. (ESPN)
College basketball: Manhattan vs. Iona, 9 p.m. (ESPN2)
College basketball: Portland vs. BYU, 11:30 p.m. (ESPN2)
NHL: Penguins at Sharks, 10 p.m. (NBCSN)
MLB exhibition: Braves at Nationals, 1 p.m. (MLB Network)
MLB exhibition: Indians at Mariners, 4 p.m. (MLB Network)
Soccer: Women’s Algarve Cup, Brazil vs. Germany, 1:30 p.m. (FS1)
Soccer: FA Cup, Arsenal at Manchester United, 3:30 p.m. (FS1)

AROUND THE WEB:

Jim Boeheim

Jim Boeheim

— After years of rumors and reports of transgressions at Syracuse, Jim Boeheim and his basketball program were punished by the NCAA on Friday, although the longtime coach defiantly told a group of supporters Sunday, “I’m not going anywhere.”

Speaking to about 700 Syracuse fans at a Hardwood Club dinner, an emotional Boeheim briefly addressed the situation after refusing to appear at a postgame press conference Saturday, following the Orange’s final game of the season at NC State (Syracuse last month imposed a ban on postseason play, including the conference tournament).

“There’s a lot of things to be said,” the 70-year-old Boeheim told his fans Sunday, according to Syracuse.com. “It’s difficult right now.”

Boeheim reportedly plans to appeal his suspension.

“I think there’s a hell of a battle ahead of us,” he said Sunday.

Boeheim, who received a long standing ovation from Sunday’s crowd after being taunted by NC State fans a day earlier, will have to sit out the first nine ACC games next season. The program will lose 12 scholarships over the next four seasons, must vacate 108 wins in which ineligible players participated during from 2004-07 and 2010-12, and is on probation for five years.

The violations, which were self-reported by Syracuse to the NCAA, included academic misconduct, extra benefits, impermissible booster activity and failure to follow the school’s drug-testing policy.

The Hall of Fame coach was 34 wins away from 1,000 but now drops to 858.

— Jets running back Chris Johnson is on the mend after being shot in the shoulder in a drive-by shooting early Sunday in Orlando, Florida.

Johnson was shot at an intersection while riding in a Jeep. Two other men in the car with Johnson were also hit by gunfire, including the driver, 28-year-old Dreekius Oricko Johnson, who was killed.

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Read More: alex rodriguez, Chris Johnson, jim boeheim,