AS CHRISTMAS draws near, it's time to see who has been naughty and who has been nice.

* Leading the naughty list is Rudy Ruettiger, of Notre Dame football fame.

According to Forbes, the Securities & Exchange Commission announced that Rudy has agreed to pay $382,866 to resolve the SEC's claim that he participated in a pump-and-dump stock scam in which he fraudulently induced investors to bid up the stock of his sports drink company, Rudy Nutrition. The 63-year-old Rudy, and 10 others, reached a settlement without formally admitting or denying the allegations.

Still, we're filling his stocking with coal.

* Panthers offensive coordinator Rob Chudzinski is on the nice list for displaying childlike enthusiasm in a game that many take far too seriously.

In a win over the Texans on Sunday, Chudzinski ran a version of the "the annexation of Puerto Rico," a hidden-ball play adapted from the kid's movie "Little Giants." Fullback Richie Brockel rumbled 7 yards for a touchdown.

* Mavericks owner Mark Cuban is getting an extra stocking stuffer for his honesty.

He recently told TMZ that if NBA players had confidence in a woman coach, "they would go to war with her." He also said he believes there will be an openly gay player in the league in the next 3 to 5 years.

However, he doesn't see a woman coaching anytime soon.

"It would be difficult right now," Cuban said. "Not because we wouldn't be accepting of a woman, but just because you'd want to find someone, male or female, who has the pedigree to give guys confidence.

"Just like it's difficult to pull college coaches and immediately turn them into NBA coaches . . . that hasn't worked out so well."

* The entire province of Quebec can forget about a visit from St. Nick.

Apparently, Quebecois are upset that interim Canadiens coach Randy Cunneyworth can't speak French. Sacre bleu!

Perhaps they forget that Cunneyworth, a longtime NHL player who replaced Jacques Martin on Saturday, speaks a far more important language: hockey.