Nike suspends Vick's contract; Reebok halts sales

FLOWERY BRANCH, Ga. -- Nike suspended its lucrative contract with Michael Vick on Friday, while Reebok took the unprecedented step of stopping sales of his No. 7 jersey.

Facing protests from animal-rights groups, Nike announced it was suspending Vick's endorsement deal without pay, as well as halting sales of Vick-related shoes and other products at its retail stores.

Reebok, the official uniform supplier of the NFL, said it would stop selling Vick's replica jersey at retail stores and through its Web site.

The moves came one day after the Atlanta Falcons quarterback pleaded not guilty to federal dogfighting charges in Richmond, Va.

• CLEMSON ATHLETICS -- Clemson's ex-rowing coach Susie Lueck gave one of her athletes lodging and transportation -- one of nine NCAA secondary violations the school reported.

One violation, dated March 27, detailed how a former student-athlete's father and "representative of athletics interest" provided free medical treatment to an athlete. Once the athlete came back to campus, the team's "head coach provided lodging and transportation to and from campus," according to the report.

The corrective actions Clemson took included the head coach being "relieved of duties."

• PRO TENNIS -- Carlos Moya moved a step closer to a possible fifth Croatia Open title, defeating fellow Spaniard David Ferrer 7-5, 6-4 in the quarterfinals.

Moya, who is seeded sixth, will face 2004 champ Guillermo Canas in Saturday's semifinals. The other match features Viktor Troicki, a qualifier from Serbia and first-time ATP semifinalist, and unseeded Andrei Pavel of Romania.

Moya won this tournament in 1996, 2001, 2002 and 2003 and has a 41-8 record in Umag,

• TOUR DE FRANCE -- Sandy Casar crashed after hitting a spectator's dog but won the 18th stage of the Tour de France before home fans. Alberto Contador of Spain kept the overall lead as the doping-stained race neared its weekend finish in Paris.

Casar scraped his hip in the crash and went on to capture a Tour stage for the first time. He prevailed in a sprint among four cyclists who broke away from the main pack during the 131-mile ride from Cahors to Angouleme.

• COLLEGE FOOTBALL -- Liberty University has been tabbed as the favorite in the Big South Conference's annual preseason football poll.

It is the first time that the Flames have been tabbed the Conference's preseason football favorite since the Big South began sponsoring the sport in 2002.

Liberty, fresh off a nationally-recognized turnaround in 2006, has already caught the attention of national media outlets. Lindy's College Football Preview ranks the Flames at No. 25 in the country and also predicts Liberty will win its first Big South Conference football crown this season as well. Liberty received 12 first-place votes and 87 total points to supplant three-time Big South champion Coastal Carolina from the top spot.

The Chanticleers, coming off their third-straight League title and the Conference's and school's first-ever berth in the FCS playoffs, finished second with 79 points and Gardner-Webb was predicted to finish third with 63.

Charleston Southern 9-2, was voted fourth in the poll with 43 points, while VMI rounded out the voting with 28 points.