Monday's Sports in Brief

January 09, 2018 - 3:14 am

COLLEGE FOOTBALL

ATLANTA (AP) — Alabama was voted No. 1 in the final Associated Press college football poll after the Crimson Tide beat Georgia in the national championship game. Unbeaten Central Florida finished sixth.

The Crimson Tide received 57 of 61 first-place votes from the media panel after its 26-23 overtime win. UCF received the other four.

Georgia finished second and Oklahoma was third, followed by Clemson and Ohio State.

The AP national championship is the 11th for the Crimson Tide, three more than any other school, and fifth under coach Nick Saban since 2009. Alabama becomes the first preseason No. 1 to finish No. 1 since Southern California in 2004 and for the fourth time two teams from the same conference finished Nos. 1 and 2.

ATLANTA (AP) — President Donald Trump got his own national anthem moment when he took the field before Alabama and Georgia faced off in the college football national championship.

Months after wading into the culture war over protests during the anthem, the president was greeted by tens of thousands in Atlanta with cheers and a smattering of boos. After ROTC members escorted him onto the field, the president stood with his hand over his heart and an American flag pin on his lapel. He sang a few words as Georgia's Zac Brown Band and a gospel choir performed the anthem.

Trump has criticized professional football players who kneel during the anthem to protest racial injustice, as well as the NFL itself for allowing it.

OLYMPICS

SEOUL, South Korea (AP) — North Korea agreed to send a delegation to next month's Winter Olympics in South Korea, Seoul officials said, as the bitter rivals sat for rare talks at the border to discuss how to cooperate in the Olympics and improve their long-strained ties.

The Koreas' first talks in two years were arranged after North Korea's leader Kim Jong Un recently made an abrupt push for improved ties with South Korea after a year of elevated tensions with the outside world over his expanding nuclear and missile programs. Critics say Kim may be trying to divide Seoul and Washington in a bid to weaken international pressure and sanctions on the North.

During the talks, the North Korean delegation said it would send an Olympic delegation, which includes officials, athletes, cheerleaders, journalists and others, South Korea's Vice Unification Minister Chun Hae-sung told reporters, according to media footage from the border village of Panmunjom, the venue for the talks.

PRO BASKETBALL

OAKLAND, Calif. (AP) — Golden State coach Steve Kerr called LaVar Ball "the Kardashian of the NBA," and said he thinks the father of Lakers rookie Lonzo Ball has zero credibility.

Disgusted, Kerr made his remarks before the Warriors' game against Denver. He was asked about LaVar Ball after the demonstrative dad told ESPN that the Lakers no longer want to play for coach Luke Walton, a dear Kerr friend and former top assistant with the Warriors.

Mavericks coach Rick Carlisle, president of the National Basketball Coaches Association, has called the ESPN article "a disgrace" and LaVar Ball's comments an "ignorant distraction."

PRO FOOTBALL

CHARLOTTE, N.C. (AP) — Interim general manager Marty Hurney insists the Carolina Panthers handled the medical treatment of quarterback Cam Newton "the right way" during Sunday's 31-26 playoff loss to the New Orleans Saints.

The NFL and NFL Players Association announced they plan to conduct a joint review to determine if the Panthers followed the correct concussion protocol after Newton took a hard shot from Saints defensive tackle David Onyemata midway through the fourth quarter. If the concussion protocol was not properly followed the team is subject to discipline, including a $150,000 fine.

Newton spent time on the ground after the hit. Then, as he was walking toward the sideline, appeared to stumble to one knee. He briefly pointed toward his right eye.

He sat out one play, but returned on the next offensive series and finished the game.

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