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Friday's Sports In Brief

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MINNEAPOLIS (AP) The NFL's hard line on Adrian Peterson held up.

The league-appointed arbitrator for Peterson's appeal affirmed the unpaid suspension until at least next spring, the final result of the child-abuse case that kept the Minnesota running back out of all but one game this season and widened the rift between the NFL and its players over the fairness of the disciplinary process.

The decision by Harold Henderson, a former league official, means Peterson, though he avoided jail time and a felony conviction, has been fined more than $4.1 million as part of the punishment from the NFL. That's the cost of the six-game suspension that was issued Nov. 18 under the league's personal conduct policy. He will not be considered for reinstatement before April 15.

According to a person with direct knowledge of the situation, a lawsuit will be filed against the NFL on Peterson's behalf in federal court in Minnesota as early as Monday.

BOXING

Floyd Mayweather Jr. says he's ready to fight Manny Pacquiao next May in a long anticipated bout that would be the richest ever in boxing.

Mayweather called for negotiations for the fight to be take place, though he warned Pacquiao not to expect to get anywhere near the money that he himself would make.

In an interview on the Showtime network from a fight card he was promoting in San Antonio, Mayweather for the first time called for the fight to happen and even gave a date - May 2. He claimed it wasn't him but Pacquiao's promoter, Bob Arum, who has been the main obstacle for not making the fight in the last five years.

COLLEGE FOOTBALL

MADISON, Wis. (AP) - Wisconsin's coaching search will last until at least Wednesday, even if the Badgers have already honed in on a candidate or two.

Amid reports that Pittsburgh coach and former Badgers assistant Paul Chryst has emerged as a leading candidate, athletic director Barry Alvarez released a statement that Wisconsin state law prevents the university from making an offer to anyone before Wednesday.

The job posting went up Thursday after coach Gary Andersen's departure a day earlier for Oregon State.

Alvarez on Thursday also met with former Rutgers and Tampa Bay Buccaneers coach Greg Schiano while in Florida, a person familiar with the informal meeting told The Associated Press.

AUBURN, Ala. (AP) - Auburn hired former Florida coach Will Muschamp as defensive coordinator, hoping he can rebuild a defense that struggled badly late in the season.

A person with knowledge of the move said Muschamp will make $1.6 million a year, making him one of college football's highest paid assistants. The person spoke to The Associated Press on condition of anonymity because the school didn't release terms of the deal.

Muschamp will be introduced at a news conference Saturday.

BASEBALL

CHICAGO (AP) - Jason Hammel and the Cubs finalized a $20 million, two-year contract, a deal agreed to earlier in the week. The agreement includes a $12 million club option for 2017 with a $2 million buyout. If the option is exercised, the contract would be worth $30 million for three seasons.

The 32-year-old right-hander was 8-5 with a 2.98 ERA in 17 starts for the Cubs before he was traded to Oakland on July 5 with pitcher Jeff Samardzija. Hammel went 2-6 with a 4.26 ERA for the Athletics.

PITTSBURGH (AP) - The Pirates wanted to keep Francisco Liriano at the top end of their rotation so badly they offered the left-handed pitcher the most lucrative free agent contract in team history.

General manager Neal Huntington thinks the fact Liriano agreed to a $39 million, three-year deal so quickly serves as proof that the Pirates have established themselves as a legitimate threat in the NL Central.

The finalized the agreement three days after reaching the deal at the winter meetings. Liriano went 23-18 with a 3.20 ERA for Pittsburgh in 2013 and 2014, helping the franchise reach consecutive playoff berths for the first time in over 20 years.

Liriano declined a $15.3 million qualifying offer last month, and the Pirates would have received a compensatory draft pick if Liriano had signed elsewhere.

BOSTON (AP) - Just like that, the Boston Red Sox have a starting rotation again.

One day after acquiring a pair of starters, the Red Sox picked up a third, rebuilding their starting rotation this offseason almost as quickly as they took it apart during the summer.

Hours after trading for Detroit right-hander Rick Porcello on Thursday, Boston signed righty Justin Masterson as a free agent. On Friday, the Red Sox acquired lefty Wade Miley from Arizona for righties Rubby De La Rosa and Allen Webster and infielder Raymel Flores.

WASHINGTON (AP) - A former outfielder for the Chicago White Sox is all lined up for the diplomatic field.

Mark Gilbert, who played seven games in July 1985, has become the first major leaguer to be confirmed as a U.S. ambassador. The Senate approved his nomination to New Zealand and Samoa by voice vote.

U.S. State Department spokeswoman Marie Harf said the agency could not find any other record of a former major league player having served as an ambassador.

Gilbert hit .273, scored three runs and drove in three, and started alongside future Hall of Famers Tom Seaver and Carlton Fisk with the White Sox. His manager in the majors was Tony La Russa, also a Hall of Fame member.

COLLEGE BASKETBALL

LEXINGTON, Ky. (AP) - Kentucky starting forward Alex Poythress will miss the rest of the season after tearing a knee ligament during practice in a devastating loss for the top-ranked Wildcats.

The 6-foot-8 junior tore the anterior cruciate ligament in his left knee, the school said. A date for surgery has not been set, but recovery typically takes six to eight months.

Wildcats coach John Calipari called the injury ''a big blow to our team. No one will be able to replace Alex and what he did for this team.''

The coach said on his web site that Poythress was injured on a breakaway layup without contact.

Poythress started eight games for the Wildcats (10-0), who face North Carolina on Saturday in a major test. He averaged 5.5 points and 3.8 rebounds in 20 minutes.

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