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OSU football will have early opener, and other column notes

KERRY EGGERS ON SPORTS/NBA replay rules need work, Lillard adds an endorsement, Jefferson basketball makes a memory, Cliff Robinson is on the mend, and more

TRIBUNE PHOTO: JOSH KULLA - DAMIAN LILLARDHitting a variety of items on the subject of sports …

• Item: Oregon State will now open its football season at Colorado State on Saturday, Aug. 26. The Rams and Beavers were scheduled to play on Sept. 23, which would have been OSU's third game.

Comment: The switch was made because the Rams want to debut the new 41,000-seat Colorado State Stadium against a Pac-12 opponent.

Oregon State will now have two byes during the season — after the fourth game on Sept. 23 and after the seventh game on Oct. 21.

• Item: All three referees missed Washington's Markieff Morris stepping on the sideline while receiving a pass before launching the game-winning 20-footer with .4 of a second left in the Wizards' 125-124 overtime win over the Trail Blazers Saturday night at Moda Cener.

"It was obvious that he stepped out of bounds," Portland coach Terry Stotts said afterward, "and for all intents and purposes, it cost us the game."

Comment: It's clear there needs to be a change made in the NBA officials' guidelines regarding replay review.

According to the rulebook, referees can "only initiate a review on a called out-of-bounds play and only those involving doubt as to which player caused the ball to go out (not those, for example, where a player stepped on the line)."

As Damian Lillard points out, technology is in NBA arenas for the very purpose of helping the officials get calls right. That's the kind of play in which replay can help do that very thing.

I'm guessing this will be added to the list when league reps meet in the offseason — too late, of course, to do anything about a loss that could have playoff implications for the local quintet.

Funny thing is, had officials used replay to determine whether or not it was a 2- or 3-point shot, or whether time had expired, they also could have reviewed whether Morris was out of bounds.

Those decisions are made in the NBA Replay Center in Secaucus, New Jersey. But there ought to be some leeway, too, where officials can use common sense to ensure that they get the call right, and not just within the parameters of the rulebook.

On the other hand: If the Blazers can just take care of a 21-point halftime lead, Saturday's game doesn't come down to one play.

• Item: Lillard has a new advertising campaign for Powerade, showing him in workout sessions focusing on the underdog role that has driven the Trail Blazers' captain since his days on the playgrounds of Oakland. The ads are set to debut this week during "March Madness."

Comment: Lillard's agent, Aaron Goodwin, has done a nice job landing him some major deals, beginning with Adidas and including State Farm Insurance, McDonald's and JBL Stereo.

In 2014, Adidas signed Lillard to an eight-year contract extension, with options to go 10 or 12 years, for $104 million. That's not the $153 million in salary Lillard will command from the Blazers over the next five years, but it's not exactly chump change, either.

Goodwin says playing in a small market hasn't impaired Lillard's ability to get endorsements.

"It's about having the right plan and building the right relationships," Goodwin says. "If Damian doesn't have an authentic relationship (with the product and its representatives), we don't get involved."

• Item: Jefferson defeated Clackamas 70-67 to win the Class 6A boys championship.

Comment: The state tournament isn't what it once was in eras gone by, but in its 99th running, it's still an important event on our sports calendar. It was good to see Chiles Center filled to capacity (nearly 5,000) for the championship game, a rematch of a December meeting in which the Democrats won 80-54.

This one was as competitive as it can get. Jeff's 6-9 junior, Kamaka Hepa, didn't play in the first game between the teams, and the Cavaliers had the size to negate him Saturday. Hepa grabbed 15 rebounds but was held to three points on 0-for-7 shooting.

Portland State looks as if it has a good one coming in Elijah Gonzales. Clackamas' 5-9 point guard scored 93 points in the three tourney games, including 22 Saturday despite being limited to 22 minutes due to foul trouble.

In the end, it was senior guard Geno West playing the game of his life with 28 points and four assists for the Democrats. He has a memory he'll never forget.

Next year will mark the 100th state tournament. Here's hoping Oregon School Athletic Association officials will come up with some kind of centennial celebration paying tribute to some of the greats who have graced our courts over the years.

• Item: Former Trail Blazer Cliff Robinson was treated this past week at Providence St. Vincent Medical Center for what Robinson, 50, revealed Tuesday in a statement as a "minor brain hemorrhage."

Comment: Here's wishing "Uncle Cliffy" good fortunes in regaining his full health.

• Item: Oregon State freshman basketball player Kendal Manuel pleaded not guilty Friday to a fourth-degree assault charge stemming from a fight with his roommate, soccer player Hassani Stephenson. Stephenson arrived at the Corvallis Police Department on Thursday afternoon with, according to the police report, a "swollen area on the left side of his face" and "several red, swollen bumps on his forehead" after an altercation at their apartment.

Comment: This was not a domestic violence incident, or a barroom brawl in which weapons were involved and serious injuries inflicted. From the sound of it, it was a dispute between roommates in which fisticuffs occurred. If arrests were made every time that happened on a college campus, half the student population would be in handcuffs.

I understand scholarship athletes need to be held to a higher standard than the general student body. Given that, an appropriate punishment would be for Manuel to run "suicide" drills for a week at OSU's basketball practice facility under the supervision of coach Wayne Tinkle.

• Item: Oregon paid $63,750 to short-term assistant coach David Reaves for 26 hours of work, before his resignation after his arrest for DUII and other charges.

Comment: It's good work if you can get it.

Seriously, the average annual salary for a worker in Oregon was $48,312 in 2015.

Reaves gets that and more for a couple of days work before going on a bender.

The system is just as much out of control as Reaves was.

• Item: England's "The Sunday Times" reported they have seen a document prepared by the United States Anti-Doping Agency detailing use of the legal amino acid L-carnitine in "sometimes potential unlawful" ways by Olympic champion Mo Farah and six other members of Alberto Salazar's Nike Oregon Project. The USADA found "substantial and compelling evidence" that Salazar and a Houston-based endocrinologist, Jeffrey Brown, "conspired to collude together" to administer "egregiously risky" infusion of L-carnitine to their athletes without medical need — strictly to boost performance.

Salazar released a statement saying all L-carnitine use was "done so within (World Anti-Doping Agency) guidelines," and that he wrote to USADA and received guidance beforehand to ensure it was done within the rules.

Comment: This investigation has been going on for two years, since a report came from investigative nonprofit corporation ProPublica of New York City that Salazar was violating medical and anti-doping rules with his athletes, including 2012 Olympic silver medalist Galen Rupp.

If the USADA has the goods on Salazar, let's get the information out there officially and administer whatever penalties are due the Portland-based distance-running coach. If not, close the book and move on.

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