Ole Miss hit hard by flu outbreakMississippi running back Dexter McCluster spent Tuesday night in the hospital because of flu symptoms, and nearly two dozen Ole Miss players missed practice Wednesday as the virus continued to sweep though the team. McCluster, a versatile star for the sixth-ranked Rebels, was released Wednesday morning but did not attend the afternoon practice. So many were out coaches moved practice up and shortened it. Still, they were shuffling the lineup all day. "Boy, it’s tough,” Ole Miss offensive coordinator Kent Austin said. "We lost another quarterback today. About half our receiving corps is out, half our starting line.” As many as 22 players — or about 20 percent of the team — are in some stage of the flu. The list includes starting quarterback Jevan Snead, McCluster and several other starters. Officials believe it is the swine flu and are following U.S. Centers for Disease Control guidelines that include isolating ill players from other members of the team and public. The Rebels have an open date this week before playing Southeastern Louisiana on Sept. 19.
ALABAMA BOARD OKS SABAN DEALAlabama’s Board of Trustees compensation committee unanimously approved the three-year extension through Jan. 31, 2018, for football coach Nick Saban that doesn’t include a salary hike but rewards him for staying put and guarantees that he will remain among college football’s five highest paid coaches. Saban would receive a series of three completion bonuses totaling $5 million if he is still the coach through 2011, 2014 and 2017. That means the contract would be worth $42.35 million if he remains through the nine-year deal, or just over $4.7 million annually. The contract guarantees Saban will be among the nation’s five highest-paid football coaches or the three highest-paid in the Southeastern Conference, whichever is higher. His pay cannot fall below the average of those coaches.
ILLINOIS BACK SUSPENDEDIllinois will be without one of its leading rushers Saturday when it tries for its first win of the season. Illinois coach Ron Zook said Mikel Leshoure was suspended for an unspecified violation of team rules. The sophomore running back won’t play in Illinois’ home opener against Illinois State. Leshoure and fellow back Troy Pollard led Illinois with 38 yards each in last weekend’s 37-9 loss to Missouri.
COUGARS CANCEL HAWAII GAMEWashington State will pay $300,000 for canceling its 2011 game at Hawaii. Hawaii athletic director Jim Donovan said he received a letter last week from Washington State, canceling the final contest of a three-game series between the schools. WSU cited uncertain changes in the Pac-10 scheduling. The teams met in November in Honolulu and the Cougars host the Warriors in Seattle on Saturday. The Cougars aren’t the only team to cancel a date against the Warriors in recent years. Michigan State paid $250,000 to get out its 2007 matchup. Hawaii went 12-0 that year before losing to Georgia in the Sugar Bowl. THE ASSOCIATED PRESS
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