Sports briefs 4-16-14: NCAA committee approves expanded meal allowance


INDIANAPOLIS -- The NCAA's legislative council has approved a proposal to expand the meal allowance for athletes.

If approved by the board of directors April 24, Division I schools could provide unlimited meals and snacks to everyone who plays a college sport, including walk-ons.

Tuesday's vote came eight days after Shabazz Napier closed out Connecticut's championship run by complaining that he sometimes went to bed "starving" because he couldn't afford food.

Committee members also voted to reduce the penalty for a first positive drug test from a full season to a half season if it's not for a performance-enhancing drug. The NCAA only tests during championship events.

The council also approved a measure to create a three-hour break between preseason football practices.

All changes would take effect Aug. 1.

• Baseball

Billingsley feels discomfort: Los Angeles Dodgers right-handed pitcher and Defiance graduate Chad Billingsley cut short a bullpen session after eight pitches due to discomfort on Tuesday. He was sent to Los Angeles for an MRI. Billingsley pitched 11⁄3 innings before exiting his start for Class-A Rancho Cucamonga, the first of five planned rehab starts. He had Tommy John surgery on April 24, 2013.

Springer joining Astros: Prized prospect George Springer says he will join the Houston Astros from Triple-A Oklahoma City on Wednesday.

The 24-year-old outfielder had 37 homers and 108 RBIs with 45 stolen bases combined in Double-A and Triple-A last year. He was off to a strong start in Triple-A this season, too, hitting .308 with three homers and eight RBIs.

Activate Bourn: The Indians activated outfielder Michael Bourn from the disabled list before their scheduled game with the Tigers was postponed by inclement weather.

To make room for Bourn, the Indians optioned outfielder Nyjer Morgan to Triple-A Columbus.

Moore out: Tampa Bay left-hander Matt Moore will miss the remainder of the season after opting to have elbow-ligament replacement surgery.

Dr. James Andrews is to operate next week on the 24-year-old pitcher, who made the AL All-Star team last year. Moore will be the first Rays pitcher to undergo Tommy John surgery since Jason Isringhausen in June 2009.

• Football

Coach returning: The football coach fired from Minnesota State, Mankato said Tuesday he will return to his old job after an arbitrator ruled he was wrongfully terminated, saying the decision wasn't easy but that it would help him and his family heal.

Todd Hoffner was fired last May for reasons undisclosed at the time. But the dismissal came after he had been accused -- then cleared -- of having pornographic images of his children on a work-issued cellphone, accusations he called the "most ridiculous things I've ever heard in my life."

CFL comeback?: Chad Johnson made a sharp cut to free himself from a defender, and then hauled in a pass at the 53-yard line.

The receiver who once changed his last name to Ochocinco might be hearing a lot of "O Canada" this summer, and he insists he's humbled for that opportunity. Johnson was on the field with the Montreal Alouettes of the CFL on Tuesday for the start of minicamp.

• Basketball

Feeling better: Former UNLV coach Jerry Tarkanian is up and moving around at a Las Vegas hospital and could go home this weekend after suffering a heart attack and contracting pneumonia.

Tarkanian was admitted to Valley Hospital last Wednesday after attending the Final Four, complaining of weakness, lethargy and labored breathing.

Dawson staying: Michigan State forward Branden Dawson is staying for his senior season.

He averaged a career-high 11.2 points during the last regular season, and 16.3 points and 8.8 rebounds in the NCAA tournament.

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