Big Ten touts plan for tougher schedules as playoff push

Big-Ten-LogoCHICAGO (AP) — Big Ten teams plan to play at least one nonconference game against a Power Five opponent and eliminate FCS schools from their schedules starting in 2016.

That’s the same year that Big Ten teams go to a nine-game conference slate.

Commissioner Jim Delany touted a “1910” scheduling model Friday at Big Ten media days: one Power Five nonconference game, nine conference games, one conference championship game, zero games outside the Bowl Subdivision.

Delany said the scheduling guidelines are not a mandate but an agreement and that he believes it will make an impression on the playoff selection committee.

The Big Ten would become the only Power Five conference to play nine league games, eliminate FCS opponents and require a Power Five nonconference game.

Manning and Thomas back together after 201-day separation

DenverBroncosENGLEWOOD, Colo. (AP) — Peyton Manning and Demaryius Thomas are on the field together for the first time in 201 days as the Denver Broncos kick off training camp.

Thomas skipped the Broncos’ offseason program in a contract stalemate before signing a five-year, $70 million deal earlier this month.

When Manning reported to camp he told the Broncos’ website he’s happy for Thomas, saying “he deserves his new contract. He’s earned every cent of it and I know he will continue to earn it over the course of his career.”

Thomas said his goal is to break the NFL’s single-season receiving record of 1,964 yards even though the Broncos are switching to Gary Kubiak’s two-tight end, run-heavy offense.

Kubiak said he loves that bravado.

Chiefs veterans return to Missouri Western for training camp

Kansas City Chiefs LogoST. JOSEPH, Mo. (AP) — Chiefs linebacker Derrick Johnson and defensive tackle Mike DeVito, both coming back from season-ending injuries, were among the veterans reporting to training camp Friday.

This is generally a loathsome period for veterans, with insufferable practices in heat often topping triple digits. But Johnson and DeVito wore broad grins on their faces as they ambled up the pathway to Scanlon Hall at Missouri Western State University.

Johnson’s season ended before halftime of last season’s opener when he ruptured his Achilles tendon with nobody near him. He remains 15 tackles away from breaking the franchise record.

Eight plays later, DeVito went down with the same injury at nearly the same spot on the field. And without him on the line, the Chiefs struggled all season to defend the run.

Columbus Mom Takes Plea Deal, Is Convicted of Child Abuse

gavel-and-scaleCOLUMBUS, Neb. (AP) — A sentencing hearing has been scheduled for a 21-year-old Columbus mother convicted of child abuse.

Jodie Shelly pleaded no contest to two counts of misdemeanor negligent child abuse. Prosecutors had lowered the charges from felonies in exchange for her pleas. Her sentencing is set for Aug. 31.

Shelly’s boyfriend, 24-year-old Ryan Roberts, was sentenced in May to five years on two counts of child abuse. Roberts acknowledged backhanding Shelly’s 1-year-old son after the boy bit him in January.

A court document says Shelly acknowledged having an anger problem and that “she grabs her daughter too firmly when she is whining or arguing with her brother.” The document says Shelly acknowledged angrily tossing her daughter onto a couch from a few feet away in January.

Police: 5-Year-Old Boy Dies After Being Struck by SUV in Omaha

omaha-policeOMAHA, Neb. (AP) — A 5-year-old boy has died after being struck by an SUV in an alleyway in southeast Omaha.

According to police, Yoshua Mejia-Estrada died late Thursday. He was transported to the Nebraska Medical Center in critical condition with severe head injuries and a pelvic fracture.

Authorities say a 25-year-old man was driving through the alleyway when he struck Mejia-Estrada as the child emerged from between a set of parked vehicles around 9:15 p.m.

According to police, the boy and his family had been visiting relatives at a nearby residence when the accident happened.

Police say speed and alcohol were not factors in the collision. The incident is under investigation.

Highway Patrols in 5 States Ramp Up for Sturgis Rally

sturgis-2015BISMARCK, N.D. (AP) — Highway Patrol troopers in states bordering western South Dakota are giving extra attention to traffic flocking to the Sturgis Motorcycle Rally.

Organizers are planning for up to a million people for the rally’s 75th anniversary next week.

In southwestern North Dakota, the patrol is dedicating up to 30 overtime hours to the cause, at a cost of about $2,000.

The Montana Highway Patrol says it’s paying “special attention” to traffic routes favored by rally-goers, but spokesman John Barnes didn’t comment on whether any overtime hours were involved.

In Nebraska, there are additional patrols on some highways but no dedicated overtime. Capt. Paul Hattan says Nebraska’s mandatory helmet law prompts many riders to bypass the state.

In Wyoming, the patrol has secured $125,000 in federal highway grant money for ramped-up enforcement.

Woman Gets Probation for Drowning Puppy in GI Airport Toilet

Cynthia Anderson

Cynthia Anderson

GRAND ISLAND, Neb. (AP) — A Florida woman has been given two years of probation for drowning a 3-week-old puppy in a Nebraska airport toilet.

Cynthia Anderson, of Edgewater, Florida, was sentenced Thursday in Hall County District Court in Grand Island. She pleaded no contest in May to cruelly neglecting an animal, resulting in its death. A no contest plea isn’t an admission of guilt but is treated as such for sentencing.

During Thursday’s hearing, the 57-year-old Anderson apologized for her actions and pleaded for mercy and probation.

Anderson was barred from boarding a Jan. 23 flight at the Central Nebraska Regional Airport because the puppy was so young and wasn’t properly contained.

Authorities say she then was seen entering the restroom. Another woman soon reported finding the Doberman puppy dead in a toilet.

Omaha street now bears name of football great Johnny Rodgers

johnny rodgersOMAHA, Neb. (AP) — Omaha has named a street in honor of Nebraska football legend Johnny “The Jet” Rodgers.

A stretch of Burt Street near the old site of Omaha Tech high school, where Rodgers had played, now bears the name Johnny Rodgers Street. Rodgers, a wide receiver and return specialist for the Nebraska Cornhuskers, won the 1972 Heisman Trophy.

Rodgers’ former teammate at Omaha Tech, Ernie Britt, earlier this year asked the Omaha City Council to put Rodgers’ name on the street. More than 100 people attended a naming ceremony in northeast Omaha on Thursday.

Ogallala Pilot Critically Burned in North Texas Plane Crash

plane-crashSULPHUR SPRINGS, Texas (AP) — Authorities say a 46-year-old pilot from Nebraska has been critically burned in the crash of his small plane at an East Texas airport.

David German of Ogallala (oh-gah-LAH’-lah), Nebraska, was at Parkland Memorial Hospital in Dallas on Friday.

Sulphur Springs police say the crash happened Thursday night at Sulphur Springs Municipal Airport, about 70 miles northeast of Dallas.

The Federal Aviation Administration says the single-engine O’Dell Aeromaster crashed and burned while taking off.

Police Chief Jay Sanders says authorities are trying to determine whether German’s plane had engine trouble.

German was alone on the aircraft.

A hospital spokeswoman said German was in critical condition Friday and provided no additional information on his injuries.

Jays hit 3 home runs, beat Royals 5-2

kc-royalsTORONTO (AP) — Dioner Navarro hit a two-run home run, Russell Martin and Josh Donaldson added solo shots and the Toronto Blue Jays beat the Kansas City Royals 5-2 on Thursday night.

The Blue Jays, who acquired star pitcher David Price from Detroit earlier in the day, have homered in 12 consecutive games since the All-Star break, their longest streak of the season.

Price was not with the Blue Jays on Thursday but is expected to join them Friday. Toronto has not said when Price will make his first start but Sunday is a possibility.

Marco Estrada (8-6) allowed two runs and three hits in 5 2-3 innings. Estrada left after Lorenzo Cain’s two-out single in the sixth ended his run of 15 straight outs. Brett Cecil came on and retired Eric Hosmer.

LaTroy Hawkins pitched the seventh, Aaron Sanchez worked the eighth and Roberto Osuna finished for his sixth save.