Former Auburn assistant basketball coach and NBA star Chuck Person's lifelong generosity may have driven him to the poorhouse, but it saved him from the jailhouse Wednesday when a judge sentenced him in a bribery scandal that touched some of the biggest college basketball programs.
U.S. District Judge Loretta A. Preska cited Person's "random acts of charity that happened all the time" as she explained why he won't be locked up for taking bribes to steer top college players toward a financial adviser who was cooperating with the government's investigation.
"The worst thing you have to say is that you were charitable to a fault," she told Person, who wiped tears from his face repeatedly. "Keep up the good work."
She ordered Person, who played for the Wolves from 1992-1994, to do 200 hours of community service during the two years the Probation Department will supervise him.
"No purpose would be served by incarceration," Preska said.
Sentencing guidelines called for two years in prison, though three other coaches who pleaded guilty to the same bribery conspiracy charge also received leniency.
Preska said the money Person gave to family, friends, strangers, charities and the schools that propelled him to a 13-year NBA career earned him leniency and a shot at redemption.
The judge read extensively from over 70 letters of support, many citing the generosity which included houses for at least 10 family members, college tuition for two nieces, and computers, school supplies and shoes for high school students.
When he ran out of money, he took out loans to give even more, including $300,000 for a lighted softball complex in Laverne, Alabama, Preska said.
Henderson-Sharp team takes LPGA event lead
Canadians Brooke Henderson and Alena Sharp shot a 5-under 65 in alternate-shot play Wednesday to take the first-round lead in the Dow Great Lakes Bay Invitational, the LPGA Tour's first-year team event.
Henderson and Sharp had seven birdies and two bogeys at Midland Country Club.
Paula Creamer and Morgan Pressel were a stroke back.
The teams of Minjee Lee-Jin Young Ko, Robyn Choi-Jaclyn Lee, Jasmine Suwannapura-Cydney Clanton and Amy Yang-Mirim Lee shot 67. The sister duo of Nelly and Jessica Korda topped the group at 68.
The teams will play best-ball Thursday, return to alternate shot Friday and close Saturday with a best-ball round.
Tackle released after assault charges filed
Arizona released tackle Desmond Harrison after police in North Carolina issued a warrant for his arrest on assault charges.
No other details were released. ... The Falcons agreed to terms with middle linebacker Deion Jones on a four-year, $57 million contract extension, $28.5 million of it guaranteed.
Australian wins sprint
Tour de France debutant Caleb Ewan sprinted to victory on Stage 11 of the Tour de France, while Frenchman Julian Alaphilippe kept the race leader's yellow jersey a day before the race enters the high mountains.
Ewan, a 25-year-old Australian, edged fellow sprinter Dylan Groenewegen by a tire's width and was awarded the victory after photo finish. Elia Viviani placed third.
AROUND THE HORN
WNBA: Stefanie Dolson made a go-ahead layup with 2.3 seconds left as Chicago beat Atlanta 77-76. ... Brittney Griner scored 23 points, including the go-ahead basket with 33.9 seconds left, as Phoenix held off Dallas Wings 69-64.
Swimming and diving: Thirteen-year-old Chinese diver Chen Yuxi won the women's 10-meter platform final at the world swimming championships, and received two perfect marks for her third drive.