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Auburn's Chizik: No comment on NCAA probe reports

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Auburn's Chizik: No comment on NCAA probe reports

AUBURN, Ala. (AP) Auburn coach Gene Chizik declined to comment on reports that the NCAA is investigating alleged improprieties involving the football program.

``I'm not going to comment on speculation,'' Chizik said Wednesday. ``It won't be a distraction to me. I'm just focused on the Iron Bowl.''

The Birmingham News reported Wednesday that NCAA investigators have interviewed at least one assistant coach and several players this week as the Tigers prepare for their season finale Saturday against No. 2 Alabama.

The newspaper, citing an unidentified source, reported the investigation included but is not limited to the signing of running back Jovon Robinson, who was ruled ineligible amid allegations of academic improprieties. The report said Auburn has not received an official letter of inquiry from the NCAA.

Yahoo! Sports also reported Wednesday that the NCAA has been investigating potential wrongdoing involving Auburn recruits, players, coaches and others. That report says assistants Trooper Taylor and Curtis Luper haven't been allowed to recruit for several weeks.

The Yahoo report said the NCAA has investigated whether Wooddale physical education teacher Rhonda Wilkinson provided impermissible benefits to Robinson during his recruitment, including transportation to Auburn at least once. Wilkinson, an Auburn graduate, declined comment for that story.

NCAA spokeswoman Stacey Osburn said Wednesday that the governing body does not comment on current, pending or potential investigations. Auburn spokesman Kirk Sampson said the school had no comment on the reports.

Chizik has already been under fire during Auburn's 3-8 season.

University President Jay Gogue has said he'll evaluate the program after the season, which ends on Saturday.

In October, Chizik refused to discuss whether any coaches had been pulled off the recruiting trail.

``I don't have time for all of that,'' he said at the time.

He also has repeatedly declined to address questions about whether he might be fired after the season. Chizik led the Tigers to the 2010 national championship, and the NCAA later said it had found no wrongdoing in an investigation into the recruitment of Heisman Trophy-winning quarterback Cam Newton.

Chizik parlayed that championship - Auburn's first since 1957 - into a contract worth about $3.6 million annually. He would be owed a $7.5 million buyout if he is fired on or after Dec. 1. He would be paid in monthly installments of about $208,000.

His new contract in June 2011 stipulated that he agrees to comply with Southeastern Conference and NCAA rules and disciplinary procedures. His previous deal would have allowed Auburn to suspend Chizik's salary if the program came under investigating by the university, the SEC or the NCAA for ``alleged major rules violations or significant or repetitive violations.''

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Nationals Roundup: Rout of Miami guarantees series win for Nats

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Nationals Roundup: Rout of Miami guarantees series win for Nats

The Nationals used Sunday's nine-run offensive outburst to skate past the Marlins, 9-6. The win marks the team's first three-game winning streak of the season. 

Here are your news and notes surrounding the 2019 Washington Nationals as they head into Monday's series finale against the Miami Marlins. 

Players Notes:

NATIONALS (22-31): 

Erick Fedde's second start of the season went well for the 26-year-old. He pitched five scoreless innings of four-hit baseball, walked three Marlins and fanned four. 51 of his 83 pitches were thrown for strikes. 

Washington erupted offensively Sunday. Howie Kendrick enjoyed a 3-for-5 afternoon, including a solo shot and three RBIs.  Anthony Rendon's 6th inning triple marked his first of the season, and brought two across the plate. 

Juan Soto's 8th inning single marked his 10th game (tied career best) in a row he's reached base safely. 

James Borque made his major-league debut Sunday, and it did not go as planned. He fell short of completing one full inning, surrendering four earned runs on three hits and walking two Marlins. He threw 29 pitches. 

MARLINS (16-34):

Miami starting pitcher Caleb Smith was bounced after just three innings. The Nats knocked him for five hits and cashed in for five runs. The 27-year-old entered Sunday's start with a 2.38 ERA. 

Neil Walker had a 2-for-5 afternoon which featured his 8th inning 2-run home run that got Miami on the board. 

Injuries: 

SP Jeremy Hellickson: hamstring, expected to be out until at least May 31

RP Justin Miller: shoulder, expected to be out until at least May 31

SP Anibal Sanchez: hamstring, expected to be out until at least Jun 6

OF Andrew Stevenson: back, expected to be out until at least May 24

1B Ryan Zimmerman: foot, expected to be out until at least Jun 1

RP Koda Glover: elbow, expected to be out until at least Jun 6

RP Trevor Rosenthal: viral infection, Expected to be out until at least May 27

RP Austen Williams: shoulder, expected to be out until at least Jun 13

Coming Up:

Monday, 5/27: Nationals vs. Marlins, 1:05 p.m. ET, Nationals Park 

Tuesday, 5/28: Nationals @ Braves, 7:20 p.m. ET, SunTrust Park

Wednesday, 5/29: Nationals @ Braves, 7:20 p.m. ET, SunTrust Park

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How the Wizards could buy into the second round for another draft pick

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How the Wizards could buy into the second round for another draft pick

The Washington Wizards would probably be smart to add at least one more pick in this year's NBA Draft. They hold the ninth overall selection in the first round, but nothing in the second round. They have no second round picks until 2023 and that one is protected and was acquired in a trade.

Like most teams, they need more young players on cheap contracts with high upside. The best way to find those is in the draft.

The Wizards could always strike a trade to land more picks, either in the first or second round. But they also have the option to purchase a second round pick. 

The Golden State Warriors are well-known for employing that strategy. They got Patrick McCaw in 2016 and Jordan Bell in 2017 by buying into the second round.

The Wizards have been doing their due diligence scouting players who could fall in the second round. They met with a collection of players at the NBA Combine that would not be considered for the ninth pick. 

If Washington wants to add a second round pick, they will have the option to. But it won't be cheap, at least initially.

The whole reason for buying into the second round is to get a player on an inexpensive contract. The Warriors have done it a few times to add depth within the confinement of their championship payroll. 

But you have to pay money to get such a player. There is a maximum money limit tied to the salary cap. Last year, that limit was set at $5.1 million. The price can vary on how high the pick falls in the second round.

Last June, the Rockets paid $1.5 million to land the 52nd pick in the back-end of the second round to take Vincent Edwards of Purdue. The year before, in 2017, the Warriors paid $3.5 million to get the 38th overall pick from the Bulls to take Bell. That $3.5 million was more than the total contract he then signed with Golden State, about $2.2 million. 

Wizards owner Ted Leonsis would essentially have to sign on for overpaying a young player. During Leonsis' tenure, they have more often been on the other end of such deals.

Former team president Ernie Grunfeld had a habit for trading away second round picks and sometimes only for cash considerations. In 2014, the Wizards infamously traded the pick that became Jordan Clarkson to the Lakers. They received a little less than $2 million in return.

Like anything involving the draft, it is an inexact science. But getting another pick, one way or another, seems like the smart move for the Wizards right now. Buying into the second round is one of their options.

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