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Third & short

Third & short

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GRAMBLING, La. - About 5,000 people attended Wednesday's funeral for former Grambling football coach Eddie Robinson - just across the street from the stadium where Robinson and his players made history.

"It's like coming to your father's funeral," said Robert "Big Bird" Smith, who played for Robinson and was an assistant coach during Robinson's final four years at Grambling. "He was like a father to everyone that ever played for him."

The funeral wrapped up three days of mourning that stretched across the state from Memorial Hall at the state Capitol in Baton Rouge to Memorial Garden, a cemetery two miles from the college.

A plywood sign hung at the Grambling exit off Interstate 20 read "Eddie Robinson, La."

Robinson died last week at 88. He was widely admired as one of the nation's winningest college football coaches and as a mentor to the young black men whose lives he influenced for 57 years.

LINCOLN, Neb. - Nebraska football fans nationwide will be able to watch the team's annual spring game on the NFL Network this Saturday, the athletic department announced Wednesday.

The game, which starts at 12:30 p.m. Saturday, will air that evening at 8 p.m., and the cable network may replay it in the coming weeks. The annual Red-White game signals the end of Nebraska's spring practices, and last year it attracted more than 57,000 fans.

Nebraska coach Bill Callahan will help provide commentary on the game during the taped broadcast along with former Nebraska receiver Matt Davison. Announcer Greg Sharpe, who has called Nebraska and basketball games for FSN Midwest, will provide the play-by-play.

Men's College Basketball

DETROIT - Harvard hired Tommy Amaker to coach its men's basketball team, less than a month after he was fired by Michigan.

"I called today and accepted the offer," Amaker told The Associated Press on Wednesday. "It's a terrific opportunity for me. I've been fortunate to be associated with some of the finest academic institutions in the country, and none is greater than Harvard."

Amaker, who played at Duke and was a Blue Devils assistant, has been a head coach at Michigan and Seton Hall.

Frank Sullivan's contract with Harvard was not renewed after the Crimson went 12-16 overall and 5-9 in the Ivy League last season, and 178-245 over 16 years. Harvard hasn't played in the NCAA tournament since 1946.

Amaker was fired March 17 by Michigan after failing to lead the Wolverines to the NCAA tournament during his six seasons there. Michigan was 22-13 last season, 109-83 overall with three 20-win seasons, but just 43-53 in the Big Ten under Amaker.


CHARLESTON, S.C. - Venus Williams needed only 49 minutes to reach the third round of the Family Circle Cup, defeating Vasilisa Bardina 6-2, 6-1 Wednesday in a match briefly suspended because of rain.

Williams, ranked No. 29, has been slowed by a wrist injury and is playing in only her fourth tournament this year. Bardina, ranked No. 55, broke serve to open the match, but from then on had problems handling Williams' serve, clocked as high as 120 mph.

Jelena Jankovic of Serbia, ranked No. 9 and the highest remaining seed at No. 2, also had an easy day, beating Anastasia Rodionova of Russia 6-1, 6-1.

Fourth-seeded Dinara Safina of Russia, ranked No. 13, beat Eleni Daniilidou of Greece 6-3, 6-4. Fifth-seeded Shahar Peer of Israel lost to Zheng Jie of China 6-2, 6-3. Seventh-seeded Ana Ivanovic of Serbia defeated Gisela Dulko of Argentina 6-0, 6-7 (5), 6-4.

Tatiana Golovin of France, who won her first tour title last week at Amelia Island, Fla., advanced to the third round with a 6-0, 6-1 win over Jill Craybas of the United States. Golovin, ranked No. 19, is seeded 10th.

Other second-round winners included Mara Santangelo of Italy, Lourdes Dominguez Lino of Spain, Vera Zvonareva of Russia and Anabel Medina Garrigues of Spain. Sybille Bammer of Austria advanced when Virginie Razzano of France retired with an upset stomach. Bammer was up 6-0, 3-0.

College Lacrosse

RALEIGH, N.C. - The Duke lacrosse rape case finally collapsed Wednesday, with North Carolina's top prosecutor saying the three athletes were railroaded by a district attorney who ignored increasingly flimsy evidence in a "tragic rush to accuse."

In a blistering assessment of the case, Attorney General Roy Cooper dropped all charges against the players, all but ensuring that only one person in the whole scandal will be held to account: Durham County District Attorney Mike Nifong.

"This case shows the enormous consequences of overreaching by a prosecutor," Cooper said.


NEW YORK - Zach Johnson's surprising Masters victory drew slightly higher television ratings than the final round last year. The national ratings also were 25 percent higher than the last time the final round was held on Easter Sunday. CBS Sports received a 9.1 rating and a 22 share on a day when Johnson earned his first green jacket.

Wire reports

by beating Tiger Woods, Retief Goosen and Rory Sabbatini by two shots, according to Nielsen Media Research.

That was 8 percent higher than the final round last year (8.4/19), when Phil Mickelson won his second Masters. Mickelson won his first Masters in 2004 on Easter, and the national rating was 7.3 with a 19 share.

Wire reports


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