MIKE FORD was let go yesterday as crew chief for Denny Hamlin after a disappointing season in which the duo failed to contend for the championship.

"I'm kind of relieved," Ford told the Associated Press. "It had been dragging on for so long, I'm actually relieved there's finally a resolution."

Ford's future with the team had been subject to speculation most of the season, largely because of how far Hamlin's performance had dropped from 2010, when he nearly dethroned Jimmie Johnson for the Sprint Cup title.

College Football * 

Arkansas coach Bobby Petrino said defensive coordinator Willy Robinson has resigned. Robinson is the third Arkansas assistant coach to leave the school in the last 2 days. Former offensive coordinator Garrick McGee was named the Alabama-Birmingham head coach and former special teams coach John L. Smith left to coach at Weber State. Meanwhile, Illinois offensive coordinator Paul Petrino is returning to Arkansas to coach with his brother. Petrino will serve as the Razorbacks' quarterbacks coach and offensive coordinator.

* LSU defensive coordinator John Chavis won the annual Broyles Award given to the top college assistant coach.

* Purdue wide receiver O.J. Ross has been suspended indefinitely for violating team rules.

Danny Rocco is leaving Liberty to become Richmond's coach.

Doping * 

Former Olympic cross-country ski champion Christian Hoffmann, of Austria, who retired from the sport in 2009, has been given a 6-year ban for blood doping.