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Sports Briefing: After Second Look, No Charges in Minnesota Sex Assault Case

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Sports Briefing

Ten suspended Minnesota football players will not face charges in connection with an alleged sexual assault near campus, prosecutors announced Friday after taking a second look at the case.

It was the second time the Hennepin County attorney’s office weighed in on the September events that led to suspensions, potential expulsions, talk of a bowl-game boycott and questions as to whether Coach Tracy Claeys should continue with the Gopher football program. County Attorney Mike Freeman declined to press charges in October, citing a lack of evidence.

After reviewing the details of the university’s own investigation, Freeman said that inquiry had not added enough information to warrant criminal charges.

“That report shined a light on what can only be described as deplorable behavior,” Freeman said in a statement.

Lee Hutton, the players’ lawyer, did not immediately respond to a phone message and an email seeking comment.

The university suspended the 10 players after completing its own investigation, the results of which it kept private, citing federal privacy laws. But a local TV station published a redacted copy of the 82-page report, which quoted the woman as saying that she believed 10 to 20 men had had sex with her, though she was not certain. She told university investigators she was too traumatized to remember events clearly.

Soon after the report was leaked, players still on the roster — who had vowed to boycott Tuesday’s Holiday Bowl unless their teammates were reinstated — relented, going on to beat Washington State, 17-12.

COLLEGE BASKETBALL

Butler’s Team Has a Scary Moment

Butler Athletic Director Barry Collier has dealt with plenty of turbulence during his basketball career, but nothing like Thursday night’s flight home from New York.

Collier said the lights on the plane went out about 40 minutes into the flight. Oxygen masks deployed, tears flowed, and text messages were sent as the Bulldogs descended from 35,000 feet to 10,000 feet before an unscheduled landing in Pittsburgh, he said.

In Collier’s opinion, it was eventful and unusual but not terrifying.

“It felt a lot like a normal descent for a landing,” he said. “It wasn’t dramatically different, other than the cabin was dark. After about five or 10 minutes, the lights came back on.”

The charter plane was flying from La Guardia Airport to Indianapolis after Thursday’s 76-73 loss to St. John’s. Collier said the Bulldogs still had not received an explanation about what happened.

BAYLOR REMAINS UNDEFEATED Johnathan Motley had 19 points and 13 rebounds as undefeated No. 4 Baylor jumped on host Oklahoma early and breezed to a 76-50 victory in the Big 12 opener for both teams.

The Bears (12-0, 1-0) remain one of five unbeaten teams in Division I.

PRO FOOTBALL

N.F.L. Delays Decision on Smith

The suspended Oakland Raiders pass rusher Aldon Smith will not be reinstated by the N.F.L. this season.

Brian McCarthy, a league spokesman, said Friday that the league would begin considering Smith’s petition for reinstatement in March.

Smith was suspended in November 2015 for violating the league’s policy on substance abuse. He was eligible to be reinstated on Nov. 17.

Oakland Coach Jack Del Rio was not pleased with the league’s choice to put off a decision until 2017.

“Little disappointed, honestly,” Del Rio said. “Obviously it’s not my job to make a ruling, but from everything I’ve gathered, he’s done his duty to take care of all the things he needs to take care of.”

The Raiders (12-3) finish the regular season on Sunday in Denver and will make their first playoff appearance since 2002.

COLTS LINEBACKER TO RETIRE Indianapolis Colts linebacker Robert Mathis announced that he would retire after Sunday’s game against the Jacksonville Jaguars, ending 14 years with the organization.

Mathis, 35, spent his entire career with the Colts after being selected in the fifth round out of Alabama A&M in 2003. Mathis, a five-time Pro Bowler, has 122 career sacks — tied for 18th on the career list.

“I want to walk away, not limp away,” Mathis said.

PRO BASKETBALL

Thomas Sets Scoring Record for Celtics

Isaiah Thomas scored 29 of his career-high 52 points in the fourth quarter, setting a franchise record for points in a period and leading host Boston to a 117-114 victory over the Miami Heat.

Thomas hit six 3-pointers and converted a 3-point play in the fourth quarter and broke the franchise record of 24 points in a quarter set by Larry Bird in 1983 and matched by Todd Day in 1995. Thomas also topped his career high of 44 points, scored on Dec. 20 at Memphis.

HARDEN GETS HIS SEVENTH TRIPLE-DOUBLE James Harden had a triple-double with 30 points, 13 rebounds and 10 assists, and the Houston Rockets rolled to a 140-116 victory over the visiting Los Angeles Clippers.

The triple-double was the seventh this season for Harden and his third straight 30-point game.

CURRY AUCTIONS OFF SNEAKERS TO HELP FIRE VICTIMS The Golden State Warriors star Stephen Curry raised $45,201 for victims of the Ghost Ship warehouse fire in Oakland, Calif., on Dec. 2 by auctioning off two pairs of sneakers.

HOCKEY

Hurricanes Stay Hot on Home Ice

Jay McClement scored the what proved to be the winning goal 2 minutes 54 seconds into the third period, and the host Carolina Hurricanes beat the Western Conference-leading Chicago Blackhawks, 3-2.

Elias Lindholm and Lee Stempniak scored early goals 1:05 apart to give the Hurricanes a 2-1 lead, and they held on to earn a point in their 11th straight home game.

“I think we’re kind of firing on all cylinders at home,” McClement said. “We’ve just got to continue to do that on the road.”

The Hurricanes are 10-0-1 at PNC Arena since Nov. 12

PREDATORS END THEIR SKID IN ST. LOUIS Juuse Saros made 25 saves for his first career shutout, Filip Forsberg got a goal and an assist, and the Nashville Predators beat the St. Louis Blues, 4-0.

Yannick Weber, Viktor Arvidsson and Colin Wilson also scored, and Saros won his second career road game. The Predators ended a five-game losing streak on the road against St. Louis.

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