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Luck bypasses NFL to remain at Stanford

Friday, January 7, 2011; D02

Stanford quarterback Andrew Luck has decided to stay in college to get his degree instead of immediately cashing in on the riches of being the likely No. 1 pick in the NFL draft.

Luck announced his decision Thursday, more than a week before the deadline for underclassmen to declare for the NFL draft. Luck, who sat out his first year as a redshirt, has two years of eligibility remaining but is on track to graduate next spring.

Luck's decision to stay at Stanford comes as Coach Jim Harbaugh is being wooed by NFL teams for a possible job. Harbaugh met Wednesday with officials with the San Francisco 49ers and met with Miami Dolphins owner Stephen Ross on Thursday in the Bay Area before talks broke off. He was considering staying at Stanford.

Arkansas quarterback Ryan Mallett declared for the NFL draft. The junior led the Razorbacks to their first BCS bowl game this season, his second with Arkansas.

Mallett led the Southeastern Conference in passing this season, throwing for 3,592 yards and 30 touchdowns. He added to that in Arkansas' 31-26 loss to Ohio State in the Sugar Bowl, throwing for 277 yards and two touchdowns. . . .

Alabama scheduled a news conference for Friday as a report surfaced that defensive end Marcell Dareus is heading to the NFL. Defensive end J.J. Watt, meantime, will leave Wisconsin early to enter the draft. But Oklahoma all-American wide receiver Ryan Broyles is returning for his senior season. . . .

Austin Boucher threw for 289 yards and two touchdowns in his fourth career start and Miami (Ohio) capped a historic turnaround season with a 35-21 win over Middle Tennessee in the GoDaddy.com Bowl in Mobile, Ala.

The RedHawks (10-4) are the first team in division I-A history to win 10 games one season after losing 10. Miami finished a dismal 1-11 in 2009, but recovered to win the Mid-American Conference title and finish this season on a six-game winning streak.

MTSU (6-7) won three games in a row to become bowl eligible, but it was hurt by five turnovers.

HOCKEY

Russia's gold-medal celebration went into overtime. And that prevented the team's players from boarding their flight, a day after they won the World Junior Hockey Championships in Buffalo.

About 30 members of the Russian contingent were asked to get off a Delta Air Lines flight for being unruly as they boarded for takeoff early Thursday morning, an airport spokesman in Buffalo said.

After players and managers spent the day at a hotel across the street - where a front desk clerk said they were "sleeping it off" - a team spokesman said the group would fly out in two groups Friday.

BASEBALL

First baseman Derrek Lee finalized a one-year, $7.25 million contract with the Baltimore Orioles, who hope he can provide punch to a lineup that ranked 21st in home runs last season.

The 35-year-old free agent had 19 homers and 80 RBI in 148 games with the Chicago Cubs and Atlanta Braves last year. He has 312 career home runs. . . .

The Braves locked up Dan Uggla with the team's largest contract in nearly a decade. Uggla completed a five-year, $62 million contract with Atlanta. . . . The Philadelphia Phillies re-signed reliever J.C. Romero to a one-year, $1.35 million contract.

SOCCER

Maryland junior midfielder Matt Kassel is planning to leave school to sign with the New York Red Bulls, Terrapins Coach Sasho Cirovski said.

The Red Bulls have MLS rights to Kassel, a New Jersey native, because he rose through the club's youth system, making him exempt from next week's draft in Baltimore. Another person close to the situation said the sides are likely to finalize a homegrown contract as early as this weekend.

- Steven Goff

Ronaldinho, 30, reached an agreement with AC Milan to end his contract, clearing the way to return to soccer in Brazil.

MISC.

Jonathan Byrd and Carl Pettersson enjoyed the calm conditions at Kapalua in Hawaii to open the PGA Tour season at 7-under-par 66 and share the lead in the Tournament of Champions.

Byrd picked up where he left off. He qualified by winning in Las Vegas last fall with a hole in one in the playoff.

Geoff Ogilvy became the first defending champion in 50 years at this winners-only tournament to not play. He withdrew after gouging his finger on a coral reef, leaving him with 12 stitches in his right index finger. . . .

American basketball star Diana Taurasi had her contract terminated by Turkish club Fenerbahce after her "B" sample tested positive for doping.

- From news services

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