Sports briefs: Manchester United clinches Premier League title
soccer • Manchester United won its record 20th English league title, beating Aston Villa 3-0 Monday night in Manchester, England, on Robin van Persie's first-half hat trick to clinch the championship with four games to spare.
Van Persie, signed from Arsenal last summer, put United ahead 83 seconds in when he scored from close range. He doubled the lead with a volley in the 12th minute and completed his hat trick in the 33rd minute for his league-high 24th goal of the season.
Manchester United (27-4-3) has a 16-point lead over Manchester City (20-5-8). City edged United in the final minute of last season with a pair of injury-time goals against Queen Park Rangers to win its first title since 1968.
This is the earliest a club has clinched the Premier League title since Manchester United on April 14, 2001, according to STATS.
Suarez's sanctions to have some teeth
soccer • Luis Suarez was charged by England's Football Association, fined by Liverpool, and even rebuked by the government on Monday for biting an opponent a day earlier. In a Premier League match broadcast globally on Sunday, Suarez bit Chelsea defender Branislav Ivanovic's arm. Although he escaped punishment during the game, Suarez now faces a lengthy ban. The sum of his fine was undisclosed.
UCF avoids postseason ban
college football • The NCAA has granted Central Florida's appeal of a one-year postseason ban in football. The decision will make UCF bowl-eligible as it moves into the American Athletic Conference this season.
UCF was originally issued the ban as part of sanctions levied last July for major recruiting violations in football and basketball. It also received a one-year postseason ban in basketball, $50,000 fine, five years' probation, reduction of basketball scholarships, and limits on football recruiting.
From wire reports
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