Oklahoma to appeal ruling

OKLAHOMA CITY-- The University of Oklahoma plans to appeal the NCAA's ruling that the school was guilty of a "failure to monitor" the employment of players and must erase eight football victories from the 2005 season.

The NCAA also said Wednesday that the Sooners must cut two scholarships for the 2008-09 and 2009-10 school years in the case involving two players kicked off the team last August for being paid for work they didn't perform at a Norman car dealership.

Oklahoma president David Boren said the university will appeal the NCAA's "failure to monitor" finding and the ruling that Oklahoma must erase the 2005 wins. As of Thursday, Oklahoma had 14 days to notify the NCAA in writing of any such appeal.

• The head coach isn't getting a raise this year, but Phillip Fulmer's nine assistants will be getting a collective $161,000 boost in pay, Tennessee Athletic Director Mike Hamilton said. They also are getting contract extensions.

Tennessee's total payout to assistants and coordinators will jump 10 percent to $1.721 million. Hamilton called them "one of the best staffs in the SEC and the country."

The Vols went 9-4 last season, ending with a 20-10 loss to Penn State in the Outback Bowl. It was a big improvement over the 5-6 record in 2005, Fulmer's worst in 15 seasons.

• PRO BASEBALL -- Julio Franco may have finally run out of at-bats.

The New York Mets cut the 48-year-old utilityman, opting to give 22-year-old outfielder Lastings Milledge another chance in the majors.

The NL East leaders announced the move before starting the second half with a game against Cincinnati.

Franco hit only .200 in 50 at-bats with one home run and eight RBIs. Mostly a pinch-hitter, he also played a bit at first base and third base this season.

Popular in the clubhouse, Franco often acted as a coach, motivating both veterans and younger players. There has been speculation he might eventually have that role full-time; this week, the Mets hired Rickey Henderson as a coach.

The Mets designated Franco for assignment, meaning they have 10 days to trade him, release him or send him to the minors.

• Padres pitcher David Wells was suspended for seven games by the commissioner's office for his animated argument with an umpire last weekend.

Wells was ejected by umpire Ed Hickox for questioning calls in the fourth inning of Saturday's 8-5 win over Atlanta after Jeff Francoeur hit a two-run homer.

The portly pitcher had to be restrained by San Diego manager Bud Black, two coaches and catcher Josh Bard, and Wells fired a ball against the screen as he walked off the field.

• PRO FOOTBALL -- An attorney for suspended Titans cornerback Adam "Pacman" Jones accused a sheriff's deputy of targeting Jones in a June traffic stop, saying there was no reason to pull over Jones' orange Lamborghini.

Attorney Worrick Robinson said he has been told the deputy had talked of his intention to pull over Jones when he had the chance.

"It was not because he was speeding. It was not because he was swerving or that he failed to obey any traffic signal or any other traffic laws," Robinson said of the traffic stop. "He pulled him over. He had heard that Mr. Jones did not have a valid driver's license."

• PRO BASKETBALL -- The Detroit Pistons and forward Amir Johnson agreed to an $11 million, three-year contract, keeping the restricted free agent with the team that drafted him out of high school.

Johnson played in just 11 NBA games in two seasons, but the Pistons made bringing him back a top priority after re-signing Chauncey Billups on Wednesday.

• GOLF -- Another teenager from Hawaii is turning pro.

Tadd Fujikawa, the 16-year-old who became the youngest player in more than 50 years to make the cut on the PGA Tour, said Thursday he was giving up his amateur status and would make his pro debut in three weeks at the Reno-Tahoe Open.

Fujikawa made his announcement at a news conference at the Waialae Country Club, where in January the 5-foot-1 Fujikawa sent the gallery into a frenzy with an eagle on the 18th hole for a 66 that allowed him to make the cut at the Sony Open.