The NCAA was ordered to pay $46 million in legal fees and expenses in the Ed O'Bannon lawsuit, which last year resulted in a ruling that the sports governing body was a multibillion-dollar cartel that cheats athletes.

U.S. Magistrate Judge Nathanael Cousins cited the "Game of Thrones" series in awarding the fees and costs to the attorneys who represented O'Bannon, the former UCLA basketball player who challenged the NCAA's rule restricting athlete compensation in a 2009 lawsuit. A federal judge in August ruled that college sports' governing body violates antitrust laws by limiting what schools can offer athletes.

The NCAA objected to paying lawyers for unsuccessful claims by the athletes. The organization alluded to the Charles Dickens novel "A Tale of Two Cities" by framing the case as a tale of two lawsuits — part of which went the NCAA's way, part of which went in favor of O'Bannon.

Cousins rejected most of the NCAA's arguments. He said the "Game of Thrones" series, written by George R.R. Martin, would be a better allusion.

"In Martin's world, 'When you play the game of thrones, you win or you die. There is no middle ground,'" the magistrate judge wrote. "For plaintiffs, their trial victory in this adventurous, risky suit, while more than a mere game, is nothing less than a win that warrants attorneys' fees for work spent on all claims — successful or unsuccessful."


Bills put assistant on leave

Bills President Russ Brandon says offensive line coach Aaron Kromer was put on paid administrative leave after being accused of punching a boy in the face for using his beach chairs. Brandon says the team is following the league's personal conduct policy, putting Kromer on leave while doing an investigation.

The Walton County Sheriff's Office says Kromer was arrested over the weekend after confronting two boys, pushing one to the ground and punching him.

... Police say former Vikings quarterback Donovan McNabb had a blood alcohol level that was more than twice the legal limit when he was arrested on suspicion of DUI in Arizona last month. ... A body recovered from a Dallas-area lake is believed to be ex-Texans receiver JaJuan Dawson, who fell from an inflatable tube being towed by a boat. Dawson was not wearing a life preserver during Sunday night's outing with his family on a rented boat. ... Former Dolphins cornerback Will Allen was charged with nearly two-dozen felony counts after federal investigators determined he and a business partner ran an elaborate Ponzi that involved pro athletes.

tour de france

Froome takes control

Chris Froome used the first high-mountain stage of this year's Tour de France to take control of the race, powering up a punishing climb in the Pyrenees at a pace none of his rivals could match.

Froome and his Sky teammates killed off the hopes of one contender after another, including 2014 winner Vincenzo Nibali, the first of the big favorites to crack on the final ascent of Stage 10 to the ski station of La Pierre-Saint-Martin.

Alberto Contador, the 2007 and 2009 winner, was the next former champion to wilt as Sky rider Richie Porte came up with another burst of speed. With six kilometers (four miles) to go, on some of the steepest sections, Froome tore away alone, getting out of the saddle as he accelerated. The last rider to stay with him, 2013 runner-up Nairo Quintana, couldn't respond and finished third behind Froome and Porte.


Playoff changes coming

NBA Commissioner Adam Silver says the league is leaning toward eliminating division records in the playoff-seeding formula, and that the change is expected to become finalized before the beginning of next season.

Silver spoke in Las Vegas after the NBA's Board of Governors met and discussed several issues, including adding a countdown clock to monitor the length of breaks between quarters and during timeouts.

Other topics included widening and adding a second escape lane with hopes that it will minimize player collisions with video and still cameramen along the baselines, and potential changes to the league's annual moratorium.

Mavericks get Deron Williams

Deron Williams joined his hometown Mavericks after Brooklyn bought out the contract the point guard signed when he spurned Dallas to stay with the Nets three years ago.

NBA: Nuggets point guard Ty Lawson was arrested in Los Angeles on suspicion of driving under the influence of alcohol — his second DUI arrest this year. ... The Celtics acquired forward Perry Jones III from the Thunder along with a second-round draft pick and cash for a conditional second-round pick. ... The Kings signed forwards Luc Mbah a Moute and Omri Casspi.


Nolasco has successful surgery

Twins righthander Ricky Nolasco had successful surgery to remove a bone fragment that created an impingement in his right ankle. The exact timetable for his return is unknown.

around the horn

NHL: The Devils re-signed defenseman Eric Gelinas to a two-year, $3.15 million contract.