West Virginia University's board of governors sued former football coach

Rich Rodriguez

yesterday to collect a $4 million buyout of his contract with the school.

The lawsuit, filed in Monongalia County Circuit Court, says the university believes Rodriguez doesn't intend to abide by the contract.

The buyout clause requires Rodriguez to pay $4 million to WVU over a two-year period, with one-third of the total due 30 days after his employment's termination. His resignation was effective Dec. 19.

Rodriguez's agent,

Mike Brown

, declined to comment on the lawsuit.

Rodriguez went to Michigan after seven seasons with West Virginia, which he led to four Big East championships and a 60-26 record.

West Virginia officials decided to ask a court to enforce the contract after supporters of Rodriguez questioned its validity and the coach did not disavow those statements, said

Alex Macia

, vice president of legal affairs and legal counsel for the university.

Also, Illinois offensive coordinator

Mike Locksley

emphatically denied a report Wednesday by the Sporting News that he had been interviewed to fill the vacancy at West Virginia.

Louisiana State senior all-American

Sylvia Fowles

will miss two to four weeks of the basketball season after undergoing arthroscopic surgery on her right knee.

Keith Stroud

, a 6-foot-2, 203-pound wide receiver out of Fort Hamilton High in Fork Union, Mass., has given a written commitment to Rutgers. He is ranked 44th nationally and chose the Scarlet Knights over Syracuse, Connecticut, and Cincinnati.

Baseball

A member of a U.S. House committee investigating performance-enhancing drugs in baseball says there's little to be gained by having players testify at a hearing next month.

"If we went back to every player, we would have to do research every morning, noon and night," Rep.

Christopher Shays

(R., Conn.) told the Associated Press yesterday.

The House Committee on Oversight and Government Reform has scheduled a Jan. 15 hearing featuring former Senate Majority Leader

George Mitchell

, author of a report linking more than 80 baseball players to steroids and other performance enhancers. Commissioner

Bud Selig

and union leader

Donald Fehr

are to attend.

Former major-league player and longtime Braves coach

Jim Beauchamp

, 68, died of leukemia Tuesday in Atlanta. He was the bench coach for the Braves between 1991 and 1998.

The New York Yankees completed a $3.75 million, one-year contract with

LaTroy Hawkins

, 35. The righthander was 2-5 with a 3.42 ERA last season for Colorado.

Catcher

Miguel Olivo

, 29, signed a one-year contract with the Kansas City Royals. The Florida Marlins' primary catcher the last two seasons, he batted .237 in 2007.

Free-agent outfielder

Darin Erstad

signed a one-year contract worth $1 million plus incentives with the Houston Astros.

Noteworthy

The ATP, the governing body of men's tennis, confirmed that Italians

Potito Starace

, ranked 31st, and

Daniele Bracciali

(258th) had bet on tennis matches.

Sydney's Wild Oats XI became the first yacht in nearly 60 years to win the Sydney-to-Hobart race off Australia three times in a row.