| STOPPED |
For the first time in his 61 professional fights, on a controversial TKO by Chad Dawson (31--1), light heavyweight champion Bernard Hopkins (52-6-2, plus one no contest), who had held that title since May, when he became, at age 46, the oldest boxer to claim a major belt. The bout last Saturday in Los Angeles ended awkwardly in the second round when, as Hopkins leaned over him, a crouching Dawson (above, front) lifted his opponent on his shoulder and dropped him through the ropes, dislocating Hopkins's left shoulder. (Some observers believed Hopkins's head hit a ringside scoring table as well.) After conferring with the downed man, referee Pat Russell signaled the TKO and clarified that he was not calling a foul, which left Hopkins livid and claiming "dirty tactics." California officials were expected to review the fight this week; however, regardless of the ruling, at least one superannuated fighter came out victorious in L.A. In an undercard bout earlier that night, 52-year-old Dewey Bozella won in his pro debut, a unanimous decision over Larry Hopkins, after having spent 26 years behind bars for a murder he was later cleared of committing.
| DISMISSED |
By No. 14 South Carolina, senior quarterback Stephen Garcia, whose 3,059 yards and 20 TDs a year ago led the Gamecocks to their first SEC title game but whose off-field transgressions ultimately proved intolerable to the team. After having been arrested twice and suspended five times in Columbia, for such offenses as underage drinking, public intoxication and keying a professor's car, Garcia appeared to have cleaned up his act last season. His senior campaign, however, started with a suspension for violating team rules, and on the field Garcia was flailing, throwing nine interceptions against four touchdowns before being benched on Oct. 8. Three days later, after he allegedly tested positive for marijuana and alcohol, Garcia was sent packing. Last Thursday things got worse for the Gamecocks as senior running back Marcus Lattimore (818 rushing yards, 10 TDs) was lost for the season with a torn left knee ligament.
| CLEARED |
By team physicians for full contact play, Penguins captain Sidney Crosby, who has been recovering from a concussion since suffering two blows to the head in a pair of games in early January. While the 24-year-old center (left) has been practicing—symptom-free—with his team since the beginning of training camp in September, he has done so while wearing a white noncontact helmet. Last Thursday, however, he donned a black lid for the first time in more than 10 months, marking the biggest step forward in his progress. The Penguins still have not set a date for when the 2006-07 NHL MVP will play his first game (he skipped this week's road trip to Winnipeg and Minnesota), but they intend to test Crosby's response to gamelike conditions with contact in practice first. That may not be as easy as it sounds. Said Crosby, "I might have to do something to get [my teammates] to hit me."
| ANNOUNCED |
By the Mountain West Conference and Conference USA, a merger to create a 22-member football-only league spanning 16 states and five time zones. The latest move on the rapidly shifting college football landscape comes as a preemptive strike against defections amid reports that the Big East will extend invitations to MWC members Boise State and Air Force and C-USA's Central Florida, Houston and SMU. The alliance would presumably improve the members' chances for obtaining a BCS automatic qualifying bid, but MWC commissioner Craig Thompson maintains that stabilization was the main motivation behind the superleague. The as yet unnamed football collective, which could begin as early as 2012, would have a two-division alignment and play a championship game. The conferences would maintain their independent structures in all other sports.
| DIAGNOSED |
With an undisclosed form of cancer, former Valparaiso basketball coach Homer Drew, 67, who oversaw the Crusaders' 1998 NCAA tournament upset of Mississippi on a tip pass to Drew's son Bryce. On Oct. 11 the school, whose basketball team has been headed by a Drew family member ever since Homer's hiring 22 years ago (first by him, then by his sons Scott and current coach Bryce), announced that its first family is hurting: Both Homer (left), who has been associate athletic director since stepping down as head coach in May, and his 67-year-old wife, Janet, are suffering from the disease. In 22 seasons with Valpo, Drew was 371--305 with seven NCAA tournament berths.