AUBURN, Ala. — Heisman Trophy favorite Cam Newton can focus on playing for the SEC championship instead of worrying about pay-for-play.
The NCAA ruled Wednesday that Auburn’s quarterback won’t be punished for the payment scheme concocted by his father, Cecil.
Instead, the younger Newton will lead the second-ranked Tigers into the Southeastern Conference championship game Saturday against South Carolina — with a shot at the national title on the line.
The second White River Christmas Half Marathon will happen a week earlier and start and finish in a new location, but it’s still about the spirit of giving, announced race director Matt Walker.
The event, which is set for Dec. 11, is free, but donations will be accepted and they will go to local families in need.
“We’ve already selected several families,” Walker said.
The race’s start-finish line will be in front of the Fellowship Bible Church on Main Street. The church is in the building that once housed the Landers Theatre.
MEMPHIS, Tenn. (AP) — Memphis Coach Josh Pastner was more upset, disappointed and generally ticked off at his 14th-ranked Tigers than at any other point in his one-plus years as coach.
And he didn’t mince words after seeing his team go through the motions, get extended to overtime and finally escape with a 78-71 victory over Arkansas State on Wednesday night. ASU has won once in seven games.
JUDSONIA — The Midland Lady Mustangs defeated the Bradford Lady Eagles 63-42 here Wednesday in a first-round game of the White County Invitational Tournament
Kerstie Bumpous led Midland (9-7) with 25 points. Emma Sellers added 14 points and nine rebounds and Emily Coppens threw in 13 points.
Midland led 34-26 at halftime. “They got in foul trouble and forced us to go to the free-throw line,” Midland Coach Brandon Gates said.
Bumpous hit nine of 11 free throws.
The Lady Mustangs advance to take on Buffalo Island Central today at 4 p.m.
FAYETTEVILLE — Arkansas Coach John Pelphrey wasn’t as concerned about the number of 3-point attempts in Arkansas’ first loss as he was about the lack of quality shots.
The Razorbacks heeded their coach’s advice on Wednesday, shooting 51 percent from the field in an 84-74 win over Oklahoma.
Arkansas (4-1) hit three of 21 shots from behind the arc last week in an overtime loss to Alabama-Birmingham. Against the Sooners, the Razorbacks connected on five of 11 3-point attempts in sending Oklahoma (3-4) to its fourth straight defeat.
COLUMBIA, Mo. — The Lyon Scots suffered their second straight 39-point loss when they were beaten by the Columbia Cougars 82-43 here Tuesday night.
Columbia won 71-60 in Batesville on Nov. 9.
Tuesday’s loss followed a 104-65 rout at Ecclesia in Springdale last week. This time, the Scots (5-4) were without leading scorer Andy Lee and solid freshman Kip Kelly. Lee was serving an automatic 1-game suspension for being ejected from the previous game. He is expected to return for Friday night’s home game against Philander Smith. Kelly is listed as day-to-day with a wrist injury.
WALNUT RIDGE — The Southside Lady Southerners defeated the Marmaduke Lady Greyhounds 41-35 in overtime in a Williams Baptist College Tournament opener here Tuesday night.
Southside outscored Marmaduke 6-0 in the extra period.
Jordan Hicks and Andrea Davis were each two for two from the free-throw line in overtime and Maggie Carlile provided the 2-pointer.
“We knew going in that Marmaduke had a very good 3-point shooting team, so we really tried to get out aggressively on their shooters,” Southside Coach Malcolm Long said.
Cedar Ridge’s junior basketball teams swept Batesville in Pioneer Gym Monday night, winning a close contest and breaking away in the second half for a large margin in the other.
The Junior Lady Timberwolves downed the Junior Lady Pioneers 19-12 as Haley Hix scored seven points. The Junior Lady T-wolves improved to 5-2.
Morgan Huff led 1-4 Batesville with six points.
The Junior T-wolves improved to 7-0 with 44-19 victory after outscoring the Junior Pioneers 26-2 in the second half.
JONESBORO (AP) — Arkansas State football Coach Steve Roberts resigned Monday after back-to-back 4-8 seasons, ending an up-and-down 9-year tenure at the Sun Belt school.
Lee said the school had reached a financial settlement with Roberts, who was 45-63 overall. He also said no interim coach had been named.
“This has been a very difficult day,” Lee said.
BLYTHEVILLE — The home teams swept Batesville in 5A-East District junior high basketball openers here Monday night.
The Blytheville Junior Lady Chickasaws won 25-22 on the strength of Tyneisha Bell’s 21 points, and the Junior Chicks won 40-24 as Ray Burton led a 16-3 fourth-quarter surge.
The Junior Lady Pioneers lost after leading 2-1, 7-4 and 11-10 at the end of each quarter. Bell scored 12 of her 21 points in the final stanza and they included the last three.
JUDSONIA — Concord’s senior high teams moved up with first-round victories in the White County Invitational Tournament here Monday night.
The Lady Pirates defeated their hosts, the White County Central Lady Bears, 53-49 as Kayla Richardson totaled 14 points and nine rebounds, and Casey Goercke fired in 16 points.
The Lady Pirates improved to 9-4 and will take on the Pangburn Lady Tigers in the quarterfinals Wednesday afternoon at 4.
FAYETTEVILLE — Jake Bequette missed seeing all but the last of Ryan Mallett’s to Cobi Hamilton 80-yard touchdown pass before halftime shocker.
But the Arkansas Razorbacks’ defensive end knew to look for Mallett throwing a fourth-quarter, fourth-and-3 surprise even before some on Arkansas’ offense did.
Like everyone but Arkansas Coach Bobby Petrino, Bequette was already regrouping for halftime. He didn’t see Mallett not take a knee like most quarterbacks do the last play of a half at their own 20.