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Troubled WAC loses Denver, adds Grand Canyon

Troubled WAC loses Denver, adds Grand Canyon

DENVER (AP) The troubled Western Athletic Conference is adding Grand Canyon University to replace the University of Denver, which is bolting for the Summit League after just one year in the WAC.

But the WAC must find another school - and quickly - in order to keep its automatic qualifying berths in the NCAA men's and women's basketball tournaments.

Grand Canyon University President Brian Mueller called Tuesday a historic day.

``We have made a commitment to excellence in athletics, just as we have academically, and that commitment has been recognized by the invitation to join the Western Athletic Conference, a conference with a storied past,'' Mueller said in a statement.

He predicted Division I status will raise the university's profile.

Grand Canyon, located in Phoenix with an enrollment of 6,500, would join Cal State-Bakersfield, Idaho, New Mexico State, Seattle and Utah Valley in the WAC starting in the 2013-14 academic year.

Keith Baker, the director of athletics at Grand Canyon, said Tuesday the school has already started the division transition process, which takes four years. Following the transition period, Grand Canyon will become a full Division I member provided that it meets all NCAA standards.

For the rest of the 2012-13 season, the university said its teams will remain eligible for all Pacific West Conference Championships as well as NCAA Division II postseason play.

WAC Interim Commissioner Jeff Hurd said the conference will help Grand Canyon as it makes the transition to the competitive Division I.

``This is another important step in the rebuilding process of the WAC as we continue to strengthen the conference,'' Hurd said.

In the Summit League, Denver plans to compete for conference championships in men's and women's basketball, men's and women's golf, men's and women's soccer, men's and women's swimming and diving, men's and women's tennis, and volleyball.

Denver said its hockey, gymnastics, men's and women's lacrosse, and men's and women's skiing teams will stay in their respective conferences.

Denver joins Omaha, Kansas City, Fort Wayne, North Dakota State, South Dakota, South Dakota State, Oakland, Western Illinois and Indiana University-Purdue University Indianapolis, or IUPUI, in the conference.

Wayne Rooney converts ridiculous free-kick marking 10th MLS goal

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USA Today Sports

Wayne Rooney converts ridiculous free-kick marking 10th MLS goal

When England's all-time goalscorer signed on with D.C. United in June, the soccer community in the nation's capital was ignited. 

Shortly after the excitement came the questions. How much does he have left in the tank? Can he actually carry a struggling D.C. United squad? Is he up for the task? 

Wayne Rooney has responded. 

Through 18 MLS matches, the 32-year-old now has 10 goals. 

In the first half of Wednesday night's game against Toronto FC, Rooney broke a scoreless tie with this free-kick strike. 

DC United currently sit in sixth place in the Eastern Conference, on 44 points.

 

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Fans, Redskins pay tribute to longtime NBC Sports Washington reporter Rich Tandler

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NBC Sports Washington

Fans, Redskins pay tribute to longtime NBC Sports Washington reporter Rich Tandler

NBC Sports Washington lost an important piece of its family this week when longtime Redskins reporter Rich Tandler died on Tuesday. He was 63.

Tandler joined NBC Sports Washington in 2011. He began his writing career in his 40s after working in restaurants and created his blog, Real Redskins, in 2004, which became the longest-running blog on the team. He also wrote three books on the Redskins and posted an estimated 2,300 consecutive “Need To Know” posts, becoming a must-read for Redskins fans as part of their morning routine.

“We’re devastated to learn of the loss of one of our most loved and valued media members, Rich Tandler of NBC Sports Washington,” Washington Redskins owner Dan Snyder said in a statement. “His dedication to covering the Redskins over the past 14 years has made him an irreplaceable presence among our media corps, and he will be in our hearts. Our thoughts are with his family, our family at NBC Sports Washington, and the entire Redskins community. He will be truly missed.”

The team will hold a moment of silence for Tandler before its game against the Dallas Cowboys on Sunday and will keep his regular seat on press row empty. On Wednesday, Redskins quarterback Alex Smith offered his “thoughts and prayers to his family.”

“Rich’s kind and warm nature made him a good friend and an especially close colleague to many of us at NBC Sports Washington,” NBC Sports Washington General Manager Damon Phillips said in a statement. “His passion for his work and the Redskins was inspiring and made him a critical part of many of our successes over the past seven years. This is a very big loss for the sports community. Our thoughts are with his family and his many friends.”

Fans, Redskins players, fellow reporters, and friends of Tandler paid tribute to him on social media.

“Incredibly saddened by the sudden passing of NBCSW’s Rich Tandler. He was a great talent and an important voice in the DC sports community. Our thoughts are with his wife @MissSkeetersmom, his family and his family at @NBCSWashington,” Washington Wizards and Capitals owner Ted Leonsis wrote on Twitter.