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NCAA president defends Penn State sanctions

NCAA president defends Penn State sanctions

STATE COLLEGE, Pa. (AP) NCAA president Mark Emmert says the sanctions levied on Penn State for the Jerry Sandusky child sex abuse scandal dealt with the behavior of university leaders and whether or not the school handled the allegations appropriately.

Emmert told The Associated Press in an interview Wednesday in Chicago that the ``fact that there was criminal activity is not the NCAA's issue.''

The landmark penalties handed down by the NCAA in July included a four-year bowl ban and strict scholarship cuts.

A former assistant football coach, Sandusky was sentenced this month to at least 30 years in prison after being convicted on dozens of criminal counts. Authorities said allegations occurred on and off school property.

The NCAA had said before the sanctions it would look into institutional control at Penn State.

``I think it's important to differentiate what the Penn State case was about and what it wasn't about,'' Emmert said. ``What we were interested in, and what we focused on was the behavior of those people around that situation, and whether or not the university handled the allegations and the information that it received appropriately.''

He added the NCAA was interested ``not in the crimes themselves, but in what happened after those crimes were committed and how they were dealt with or not dealt with.''

Many Penn State fans, alumni and former players have criticized the NCAA's decision, along with the university's acceptance of the penalties. But school president Rodney Erickson has said he wanted to avoid an even worse punishment - the so-called ``death penalty,'' or elimination of the program entirely.

The NCAA's decision was based on a report by former FBI director Louis Freeh for Penn State that said that late coach Joe Paterno and three school officials concealed allegations against Sandusky in order to protect the school's image. Paterno's family and the official have vehemently denied those conclusions.

Emmert said if a university addresses criminal activity ``rapidly, then that's not an NCAA matter. It's whether or not the university fails to respond . to treat a student or an employee in a way that's fundamentally different than they might treat someone else in the same circumstance. That's what constitutes a loss of institutional control.''

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3 stars of the game: Caps save their season in physical win over Lightning

3 stars of the game: Caps save their season in physical win over Lightning

This one is going to go the distance.

The Washington Capitals staved off elimination on Monday with a 3-0 Game 6 win to force a Game 7 against the Tampa Bay Lightning.

Andrei Vasilevskiy looked unbeatable for much of the game, but T.J. Oshie finally got one past the Lightning netminder on the Caps' first power play since the second period of Game 4. Devante Smith-Pelly finished them off with a third-period tally.

Game 7 will be on Wednesday with a spot in the Stanley Cup Final on the line.

Here are the three stars of Game 6.

1.  T.J. Oshie: Oshie scored the goal that saved Washington's season.

The Caps were doing everything right, but they just could not get one past Vasilevskiy. Finally, Oshie struck with a one-timer from the high-slot that just managed to beat Vasilevskiy.

Oshie also added an empty-netter to ice the game away.

We will never know how close frustration came to really wearing down Washington, but it probably came closer than you think. Just seconds before Oshie's goal, John Carlson rang a blistering slap shot off the inside of the post. It was so close, the horn went off briefly, but play continued. Had Washington not been able to finish off the power play, would they have recovered or would Vasilevskiy officially have Halaked them?

2. Andrei Vasilevskiy: Don't let the score fool you, Vasilevskiy was absolutely brilliant. He really stood out in the first period when he denied great chances again and again to keep the score locked at 0-0. You knew he was on his game when he denied a great chance from Alex Ovechkin from the slot with the blocker. His best save, however, was saved for Evgeny Kuznetsov when he was on the ice and desperately extended the arm just in time to deny Kuznetsov.

Vasilevskity made a total of 32 saves in the losing effort.

3. Braden Holtby: Though he was not tested as much as his counterpart, Holtby was equally as brilliant in his 24 save performance for his fifth career playoff shutout.

The Lightning made a real push in the second and third period and some key saves by Holtby ensured the Caps did not give up the first goal or the game-tying one. The most critical save came on Anthony Cirelli in the second period with the game still tied at 0-0. A Lightning 2-on-1 resulted with Cirelli coming in all alone on Holtby, but the Caps' netminder just managed to extend the toe for the save.

Smith-Pelly had seven goals in the regular season. he has four in the playoffs. Smith-Pelly put the exclamation point on the game with his third period goal to extend the Caps' lead to 2-0.  He was set up by a phenomenal pass by Chandler Stephenson.

It was clear from the outset that the Caps wanted to be very physical in this game and Smith-Pelly really took that message to heart with 

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Juan Soto crushes a homer in the first at-bat of his first-ever start

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Juan Soto crushes a homer in the first at-bat of his first-ever start

Juan Soto, the highly-regarded 19-year-old Nationals' prospect, got his first major league start of his career tonight. 

How did it go, you ask? Surely it would take Soto - who was in Single-A less than two weeks ago - some time to adjust? 

What were you doing at 19??

2018 MLB POWER RANKINGS AND OTHER NATS NEWS:

- Rankings Update: Where does your team fall?
- Cause For Concern?: How worried should Nats fans be?
- Very Persuasive: How Rizzo convinced Reynolds to come to D.C.