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Updated 6:02 p.m. ET

On Thursday morning, the ethics committee of soccer's world governing body banned the group's president and other leaders for 90 days, citing ongoing investigations into allegations against FIFA President Sepp Blatter, UEFA President and FIFA Vice President Michel Platini and FIFA Secretary-General Jérôme Valcke.

The suspensions go into effect immediately and could be extended by 45 days, FIFA says.

Behind a complete-game shutout thrown by right-hander Jake Arrieta, the Chicago Cubs advanced to the Divisional Series on Wednesday night in Pittsburgh, beating the Pirates 4-0.

Kyle Schwarber had a home run and three runs batted in for the Cubs and Dexter Fowler had three hits and scored three times. Chicago will open its series against St. Louis at 6:30 p.m. ET on Friday. The Cardinals won 11 of the 19 games the divisional rivals played this season.

Updated 3:57 p.m. ET

The turmoil surrounding beleaguered FIFA President Sepp Blatter continues to churn.

On Wednesday, Blatter reportedy was told he is facing a provisional 90-day suspension, with a final decision from the FIFA ethics committee expected later this week.

The BBC quotes Blatter's adviser Klauss Stohlker as saying, "The news was communicated to the president this afternoon. He is calm. Remember he is the father of the ethics committee."

Sometimes when a funky beat drops, you can't help but break out in dance.

It was 75 years ago this week — Oct. 5, 1940 — when the movie Knute Rockne, All-American was released and first we heard, "Rock, some day when the team's up against it, breaks are beating the boys, ask them to go in there with all they've got, win just one for the Gipper."

It isn't just because a future president of the United States was the actor who uttered it, that this became the single most famous line ever spoken in a sports movie. No, it was because of who the Gipper was playing for: Notre Dame.

The Houston Astros, a surprise success early in the Major League Baseball season before cooling off, will get to keep playing after knocking out the New York Yankees 3-0 in a one-game wild card playoff.

Solo home runs by Colby Rasmus in the second inning and Carlos Gomez in the fourth inning gave Houston an early lead, and starting pitcher Dallas Keuchel gave up just three hits while striking out seven in six innings of work.

Both home runs came off of the Yankees' Masahiro Tanaka. Carlos Beltran and Alex Rodriguez, batting third and fourth, struck out four times.

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Updated 9:45 p.m. ET with state attorney general investigation

Two leading fantasy sports companies are promising to protect "the integrity of the games" they offer customers, after questions emerged over whether their employees use proprietary information to win thousands of dollars.

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On the eve of the New York Yankees American League wild-card game against the Houston Astros, pitcher CC Sabathia issued a written statement that he was checking himself into alcohol rehab.

The Yankees released the statement. Here's part of it:

"Today I am checking myself into an alcohol rehabilitation center to receive the professional care and assistance needed to treat my disease.

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This September alone, three high school football players died after injuries sustained on the field. The latest, a 17-year-old quarterback from New Jersey, suffered a ruptured spleen during a game just over a week ago.

In some high schools across the U.S., deaths such as these — and an increased focus on the risk of head injury and concussions — have raised concerns among parents and diminished interest in the sport. At others, like the Maplewood Richmond Heights High School in suburban St. Louis, the football programs have disbanded altogether.

Caron Butler has had a stellar career. The two-time NBA All-Star has contributed his talents on the court to the Miami Heat, the LA Lakers and the Dallas Mavericks, where he was part of a championship team in 2011.

But before he got to the NBA, his life was headed in a very different direction. He had a rough upbringing in Racine, Wis., and took an unusual route to get to the pros, which included numerous drug arrests, a stint in prison and a close call that could have changed his entire life — all before he turned 18.

High school football is taking a hit across the U.S. as mounting research shows that the sport is linked to repeated head trauma and a number of deaths in the country. In St. Louis, a school district has disbanded its football team, citing injuries and waning demand for the sport.

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Time now for sports.


Remember that Chicago Cubs fan who may or may not have cost his team a crucial out in Game 6 of the 2003 National League Championship series against the Marlins?

No? Well, let's take a jaunt down memory lane:

Following last week's announcement that FIFA President Sepp Blatter is facing criminal proceedings in Switzerland for alleged corruption, Coca-Cola and McDonald's, two major FIFA World Cup Sponsors, called for his immediate resignation.

The company released a statement, saying:

"Every day that passes, the image and reputation of FIFA continues to tarnish. FIFA needs comprehensive and urgent reform, and that can only be accomplished through a truly independent approach."

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This is an example of a disturbing scene emerging in high school sports.


UNIDENTIFIED SPORTS ANNOUNCER: Another - oh - he just hit the referee. He just hit the referee.

NPRreads is a weekly feature on Twitter and on The Two-Way. The premise is simple: Correspondents, editors and producers from our newsroom share the pieces that have kept them reading, using the #NPRreads hashtag. On Fridays, we highlight some of the best stories.

This week, we bring you three items.

From Sarah McCammon, a reporter on NPR's Washington Desk:

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The NCAA notched a victory on Wednesday when a federal appeals court ruled against requiring colleges to compensate athletes in deferred cash payments, according to the Associated Press.

You may not know that the WNBA finals begin this weekend. It's probably fair to say that if it were the NBA you would know.

More people pay attention to men's sports than women's sports, and one reason for that is inertia. Women are pretty new to big-time sports — and perhaps the media haven't caught up with them.

Also, there aren't that many women's team sports. Lots of people tune in to watch Serena Williams play tennis, and this summer, swimmer Katie Ledecky got a lot of attention — but they play individual sports.

Updated 6:20 p.m. ET

Southern Methodist University officials are considering an appeal of the NCAA's sanctions against the men's basketball program.

"There are a couple of things that we know we are going to consider, very seriously, appealing," SMU president Gerald Turner said, according to the Dallas ABC affiliate WFAA. He added that head basketball coach Larry Brown had his full support.

A dispute over a call in a soccer match boiled over to the point that a referee brought out a pistol on the field this weekend near the Brazilian city of Belo Horizonte. The referee, who is also a policeman, reportedly felt threatened and wanted to take control of the situation.

The referee is meeting with league officials today and could face disciplinary action.

He was once a vice president of soccer's world governing body, but now Jack Warner, who's under an indictment for corruption charges, has been banned from the sport for life. FIFA announced the move Tuesday, citing repeated misconduct by Warner.

The New York Jets lost their game over the weekend. But they got some encouragement.

The singer Gladys Knight showed up late for the game. As soon as she did, the Jets scored.

And she later called into the weekly radio show of coach Todd Bowles. She says if the Jets make the Super Bowl, she will sing for him in person.

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There are wardrobe malfunctions and then there's this.

Around mile 10 of the 26.2-mile Berlin marathon on Sunday, elite runner Eliud Kipchoge of Kenya began to have some serious shoe trouble. The neon-yellow insoles of his custom-made Nikes slipped partially out of his shoes; as he crossed the finish line, they were flapping at his ankles, according to the Berlin marathon website.