CHICAGO Teams

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Smith misses out on Hall of Fame

In his final year on the ballot, Lee Smith received 34.2 percent of the vote, falling well short of the 75 percent threshold required for induction. Sammy Sosa (8.6 percent) didn't fare much better in his fifth year on the ballot. Full results

Jesse Rogers ESPN Staff Writer 

Sammy Sosa received 8.6 percent of the vote for the Hall of Fame making the cut to stay on the ballot for another year but he's not close to getting in. Meanwhile Lee Smith got 34.1 percent but did not get in as he's still far from the 75 percent needed for induction. Derek Lee did not appear on a ballot in his first year of eligibility so he won't be considered for enshrinement next year as players need 5 percent of the vote to be considered the following year.

Nick Friedell ESPN Staff Writer 

Good note from Jacob Nitzberg of ESPN Stats and Information: "Tuesday night's game marked Jimmy Butler's 16th game this season with 10+ free throws made, which ties him with Chet Walker for the 10th-most such games in a season in franchise history. Only Michael Jordan has more games in a season with 10+ FT made in franchise history."

Jayson Stark ESPN Senior Writer 

The good news for Sammy Sosa: His vote total went up, from 7.0 to 8.6 pct. The bad news: This makes 4 straight years in single digits. He would need to add nearly 300 votes to get elected. Good luck on that!

ESPN.com

ND commit is No. 1 guard in 2017 class

Robert Hainsey is now the top-rated guard. Our Insiders note that he is a versatile player who will line up where needed for the Irish. ESPN 300 rankings (Insider)

ESPN.com

2017 Football Class Rankings

National signing day is rapidly approaching, and the combination of multiple commitments along with the release of the final ESPN 300 player rankings has spurred changes throughout the class rankings. Ranks 11-20 (Insider)

AP Photo/David Banks

What would White Sox say off the record?

If you gave truth serum to the executives of all 30 MLB teams, what might you hear? Buster Olney believes the White Sox would reveal if the competitive Jerry Reinsdorf held up approval of their rebuild. Front-office truths (Insider)

Jerry Lai/USA TODAY Sports

What would Cubs say off the record?

If you gave truth serum to the executives of all 30 MLB teams, what might you hear? Buster Olney believes the Cubs would be more open about how unsure they are of Jason Heyward's offense entering 2017. Front-office truths (Insider)

AP Photo/Seth Wenig

Dickerson: This is it for Cutler in Chicago

After one playoff appearance in eight seasons with the Bears, Jay Cutler will be traded or released this offseason, Jeff Dickerson predicts. Predicting big changes

Jeremy Crabtree RecruitingNation 

If the recruiting reform package passes, as it is expected to do after today's developments, class of 2019 prospects would be allowed to take official visits starting on April 1, 2018. "There's no reason to hold this off for another two or three years," Northwestern athletic director and Division I Council chairman Jim Phillips said. "Let's get this enacted and start moving forward."

Jeremy Crabtree RecruitingNation 

Northwestern athletic director and Division I Council chairman Jim Phillips said the Council and Football Oversight Committee "overwhelming" heard from perspective student athletes and current athletes that they wanted to take earlier official visits. "It's a hardship to do it at certain times for them," Phillips said. "So extending the window doesn't mean they can't come back to the fall and winter of their senior year, but now they have a chance to have it paid for and come on campus earlier."

Jeremy Crabtree RecruitingNation 

Northwestern athletic director and Division I Council chairman Jim Phillips on if the recruiting reform package will pass in upcoming votes in April and later this summer: "It will. It will. This thing could have been extremely contentious and divisive. The thing I will say more than anything is that this has been a collaborative effort. This is a prideful moment when you can put away some of your personal feelings and get to a position that's healthy for everyone."

Jeremy Crabtree RecruitingNation 

While the NCAA Division I Council adjusted the recruiting reform package to include only a mid-December signing period, the momentum toward an even earlier date is not over. "I don't think we're going to end just in December," Northwestern athletic director and Division I Council chairman Jim Phillips said. "We're going to continue to talk about it, and we may still come up with a Sept. 1 or an Aug. 30 early signing day, or something maybe before the high school season. But that's where we're at now and that'll be voted on in April."

Mitch Sherman ESPN Staff Writer 

Also from the council meeting today, Jim Phillips said the issue of holding a spring-break camp away from campus -- as Michigan coach Jim Harbaugh did last year at Florida's IMG Academy -- was forwarded to the Student-Athlete Advisory Committee, which will discuss perhaps when it meets Thursday and issue a recommendation back to the council.

Jeremy Crabtree RecruitingNation 

Along with a mid-December early signing period, the NCAA Division I Council has formally adjusted the official visit portion of the recruiting reform package. The original proposal called for official visits in June and July before a prospect's senior season, but Jim Phillips, Northwestern's athletic director and chairman of the Council, confirmed official visits for juniors would be allowed from April 1 through Sunday before the last Wednesday in June. Phillips is "supremely confident" the entire package will pass in an April vote.

Mitch Sherman ESPN Staff Writer 

Additionally, Miami AD Blake James will replace Phillips as the chair of the Division I Council in the summer of 2017.

Mitch Sherman ESPN Staff Writer 

Northwestern AD Jim Phillips, chair of the Division I Council, said the group also moved forward on enacting a 14-week regular season that would go into effect in 2020. It still needs to pass a vote of the council.

AP Photo/Julio Cortez

Bears will have big pockets this spring

Pending Jay Cutler's status, Chicago could have more than $60 million in cap room. Don't be surprised if Ryan Pace uses a chunk to beef up the offense, John Clayton writes. Big spenders, penny pinchers (Insider)

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