Mt. Vernon Register-News

April 22, 2013

Sports briefs


The Register-News

---- — NCAA gives Illinois tackle Lewis a sixth year

CHAMPAIGN (AP) — The NCAA has granted Illinois starting left tackle Corey Lewis a sixth year of eligibility after his return from a series of injuries.

A university news release said the NCAA had notified the school about the medical waiver on Friday.

He played in the last four Illinois games last fall after missing 34 straight games.

Lewis didn't play in 2010 or 2011 after tearing an anterior cruciate ligament three times. He had had five separate surgeries.

The Cresco, Pa., native earned his bachelor's degree in 2011 and is expected to graduate with a master's this December.

Auburn fans bid goodbye to beloved Toomer's oaks

AUBURN, Ala. (AP) — Rhonda and John Shelton made a six-hour round trip Friday so their kids could see the doomed oak trees at Toomer's Corner that have been part of so many Auburn celebrations.

The Trussville, Ala., residents weren't able to join the thousands of their fellow Tigers fans who will bid farewell with a final rolling Saturday of the two live oaks. The trees will be cut down Tuesday, more than two years after an Alabama fan poisoned them. One day they will be replaced as Auburn is in the planning stage of a seven-figure renovation.

But the Sheltons won't get a chance to make rolling the oaks a family tradition, like thousands of other Auburn fans.

Dylan, 11, only rolled them once and 8-year-old Josie says, with that exaggerated little-girl pout, "I never got to."

"They're supposed to be in school right now," said John Shelton, during a break from taking pictures of the kids next to the trees. "We just came down here to spend some time together and be part of history."

Auburn fans will one last time drape toilet paper over the two frail, poison-infested oaks after the football team's first spring game under Gus Malzahn, a perfect storm that has turned what's normally a nondescript scrimmage into a milestone moment. The makeover of Toomer's Corner is expected to begin after next season.

For the past two years, the trees have become a symbol not so much of decades of celebrations but of the feudal hatred that is the Alabama-Auburn rivalry. Longtime Crimson Tide fan Harvey Updyke Jr. pleaded guilty on March 22 to poisoning the trees after the 2010 Iron Bowl, when Cam Newton led Auburn to the national title — and an Iron Bowl comeback from a 24-0 deficit.

The Tide has won the other three BCS championships over the state's four-year stranglehold on the crystal trophy.

Auburn had sold 33,000 tickets to the spring game by Friday afternoon, spokesman Kirk Sampson said. He added that most fans at the Tigers' spring games are traditionally walk-ups. Last year's announced crowd was just over 43,000, many of whom probably made the 10-minute stroll to Toomer's Corner at some point.

Toomer's Corner is the bustling connecting point of campus and community, where Toomer's Drugs serves up lemonade and lunch at the old-fashioned counter and the trees serve as a gateway.

The celebratory rollings date back at least 40 years, starting with the now-underground wires that used to criss-cross the corner and switching to the trees some three decades ago, according to retired Auburn athletic director David Housel.

Housel remembers being at Toomer's Corner to celebrate quarterback Pat Sullivan winning the Heisman Trophy on Nov. 1, 1971. Toilet paper wasn't really part of the party.

Judge sides with sons about Jim Thorpe's remains

HARRISBURG, Pa. (AP) — The two surviving children of sports great Jim Thorpe won a critical ruling Friday in federal court that could clear the way for his remains to be removed from a mausoleum in the Pennsylvania town that bears his name and reinterred on American Indian land in Oklahoma.

U.S. District Judge Richard Caputo ruled in favor of sons Bill and Richard Thorpe and against Jim Thorpe borough in northeastern Pennsylvania, saying the town itself amounts to a museum under the 1990 Native American Graves Protection and Repatriation Act.

The men's lawyer, Stephen R. Ward of Tulsa, Okla., said they will now pursue the legal process to have their father, who won the decathlon and pentathlon in the 1912 Olympics, returned to Sac and Fox land in central Oklahoma.

Messages seeking comment from lawyers for the borough, and top borough officials, were not immediately returned. They could appeal Caputo's decision.

Ward said the brothers were pleased with the decision.

"They and their brothers and other members of the family have wanted this and have worked for this for a long time," he said. "They well remember how the wishes of the Indian members of the family were not respected concerning their father's burial."