Casada wins outdoors award

Rock Hill's Jim Casada, who writes a weekly outdoors column for The Herald, picked up Excellence in Craft awards from the South Carolina Outdoor Press Association this past weekend.

Casada won three first-place awards for conference site story, non-game outdoor enjoyment, magazine column and electronic media fields.

He also took third in editorial/opinion and newspaper feature.

• PRO FOOTBALL -- Michael Vick's "deteriorating financial condition" prompted federal prosecutors to ask a judge to order the former NFL star to set aside nearly $1 million for the care of pit bulls seized from his dogfighting operation.

In court papers filed Tuesday, the government asked U.S. District Judge Henry Hudson to issue a restraining order that essentially would freeze about $928,000 to fulfill Vick's legal obligation to cover the costs of caring for the dogs and finding homes for them.

Vick faces a prison term of up to five years when he is sentenced Dec. 10 on a federal dogfighting conspiracy conviction. He voluntarily began serving his prison term early on Monday.

• Comcast, the nation's largest cable company, has sent a cease-and-desist letter to the NFL Network demanding the channel's representatives stop encouraging fans to leave the cable provider.

Dallas Cowboys owner Jerry Jones, the outspoken chairman of the league's NFL Network committee, has urged customers of Comcast and other large cable providers who don't carry the network on a basic tier to switch to satellite or other cable services that do.

The channel's Web site includes a box titled "MAKE THE SWITCH." Above a field to enter a zip code, the text reads, "Switch to a TV provider that will bring you NFL Network, not hold you hostage."

The letter, dated Monday, contends that such actions violate the contract between the network and Comcast.

• CYCLING -- Floyd Landis filed his appeal to the Court of Arbitration for Sport, setting in motion his last chance to regain the 2006 Tour de France title that was stripped because of a positive doping test.

Landis, who lost his arbitration hearing in September, promised last month that he would appeal the decision to CAS, which likely will hear the case early next year.

The introduction to the 90-page brief Landis' attorneys submitted to CAS said Landis fully supports ongoing efforts to eradicate doping in cycling.

• PRO TENNIS -- If Roger Federer expected an easy victory over his balding opponent, he found out early in their exhibition match that Pete Sampras still has his powerful serve.

The world's top-ranked player came back to beat the man he is chasing for the all-time Grand Slam titles record. Federer won 6-4, 6-3 in the first of three Asian exhibitions. These tennis greats of the past and present meet again Thursday in Kuala Lumpur and Saturday in Macau.

• COLLEGE ATHLETICS -- An associate athletic director from Maryland was picked as the College of Charleston AD.

The school announced that Joe Hull would fill the job left vacant since Jerry Baker's retirement this past summer.

Hull has spent the past 10 years at Maryland. Before that he served several athletic fundraising, ticketing and marketing roles at North Carolina State from 1985 to 1997.