Three former University of Minnesota basketball players were found not guilty on 12 separate charges of sexual assault in a verdict read early Friday morning in Dane County Circuit Court. The Madison, Wis., jury deliberated about 5 1/2 hours before reaching the verdict. The charges against Mitchell Lee and Kevin Smith, both 21, and George Williams Jr., 20, stemmed from an incident in the early hours of Jan. 24 after Minnesota had won a Big Ten basketball game the previous night from Wisconsin in Madison . . .

Marc Buoniconti is solely to blame for his paralyzing neck injury because he hit head-first, or "speared," a downed player, The Citadel said in answering Buoniconti's lawsuit.

Buoniconti's action was "in violation of common sense, rules of safety and the rules of football," attorneys for the military college wrote in their response.

Buoniconti, 19, also didn't tell officials at The Citadel everything about his medical condition and didn't follow their advice, according to court documents.

The former linebacker is seeking unspecified damages, claiming doctors failed to diagnose him properly and that his football coaches advised him to play while injured . . .

Milwaukee Bucks Coach Don Nelson and a trustee of the firm that owns the team have filed suit against American Airlines, claiming Nelson and a former player were hurt on a 1984 flight.

Nelson seeks $500,000 in damages in a suit filed in Milwaukee County Circuit Court. Daniel F. Finnane, trustee for Milwaukee Professional Sports and Services Inc., wants $650,000 in the other suit because the player, Mike Dunleavy, was paid for a full season to fulfill his contract, which specified he would get full pay if disabled during the season.