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Senator Criticizes IOC for 'Tepid' Reform Efforts

April 21, 1999| From Staff and Wire Reports

Saying that Olympic leaders had shown "tepid support for reform," Sen. John McCain (R-Ariz.) asked Tuesday for monthly updates on changes the International Olympic Committee was making in the wake of its worst scandal.

McCain wrote IOC President Juan Antonio Samaranch that "significant skepticism" remained in Congress and among the U.S. public that the Olympic committee would enact "comprehensive and meaningful reform."

McCain, who chaired a Senate Commerce Committee hearing on the Salt Lake Olympic bribery scandal last week, repeated that he was dismayed that the IOC had failed to embrace the recommendations of a special ethics panel headed by George Mitchell, former Senate majority leader.

McCain said he also was concerned that the IOC was dragging its feet on restructuring and other internal changes, and that the whole process still answered to Samaranch.

"The tepid support for reform is further exemplified by the apparent lack of independence of the IOC reform process, and the slow pace at which the IOC effort is proceeding," McCain wrote to Samaranch. "As a result, I request that you, as the individual responsible for the IOC, provide the committee with a monthly update of the progress of the IOC reform effort."

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The deadline for U.S. cities to submit bid packages for the 2012 Summer Olympics has been extended from March 31, 2000, to Dec. 15, 2000, the U.S. Olympic Committee announced. Los Angeles is among eight U.S. cities planning to bid on the 2012 Games.

Jurisprudence

Former Kentucky football player Jason Watts was sentenced to the maximum 10 years in prison for an alcohol-related truck crash that killed a teammate and another young man.

Watts, who turned 22 Monday, has been in the Pulaski County Detention Center in Somerset, Ky., since March 31, when he pleaded guilty to reckless homicide and volunteered to start serving time immediately.

After his sentencing, Watts was given a chance to address the court. Choking back tears, he said, "I want to say I'm sorry to all the people I let down."

A tentative arraignment date of June 24 has been set for Minnesota Viking safety Orlando Thomas, who faces a charge of domestic violence involving an assault on his wife.

Pro Football

Six undrafted USC players have signed as free agents with NFL teams: receiver Mike Bastianelli (San Francisco), offensive tackle Rome Douglas (Jacksonville), cornerback Ken Haslip (Kansas City), defensive tackle Marc Matock (San Francisco), safety Grant Pearsall (Dallas) and fullback Marvin Powell III (New Orleans).

Running back Charlie Garner was released after five seasons with the Philadelphia Eagles. Garner, a second-round draft choice in 1994, rushed for 2,261 yards and 17 touchdowns in 495 carries. . . . A day after releasing quarterback Neil O'Donnell, the Cincinnati Bengals unloaded another quarterback, backup Paul Justin. The Bengals now have four quarterbacks--Akili Smith, their first-round draft pick; Jeff Blake, Eric Kresser and Scott Covington.

Guard Nate Newton, 37, is seeking to be traded by the Dallas Cowboys, his agent, Jim Neader, told the Dallas Morning News. "Right now, I'd say he won't be back," Neader said. "It's more from their standpoint than ours. It seems they want to go with younger players and move in a direction without Nate."

Tennis

Karl-Heinz Becker, the father of Boris Becker, died of stomach cancer in Germany, prompting Becker to withdraw from the Monte Carlo Open in Monaco.

The tournament also lost Andre Agassi, who withdrew because of an injured right shoulder.

Also gone is third-seeded Tim Henman of Britain, who lost, 6-7 (7-5), 6-4, 7-5, to Fernando Meligeni of Brazil in the second round.

Fifth-seeded Jim Courier defeated Sweden's Mikael Tillstrom, 6-4, 7-5, in the first round of the Clay Court Championships at Lake Buena Vista, Fla. . . . Defending champion Virginia Ruano-Pascual of Spain was upset by unseeded Amanda Hopmans of the Netherlands, 6-2, 6-4, in the first round of the Budapest Ladies Open in Hungary.

Auto Racing

Talladega Superspeedway officials have denied John Andretti's request to represent Alabama in Sunday's DieHard 500, meaning there will be no in-state driver in the race for the first time in the track's 30-year history. Andretti, who lists Indianapolis as his hometown, had wanted to represent Alabama as a sign of respect for previous Alabama drivers.

Names in the News

Illinois State point guard Victor Williams, the Missouri Valley Conference's freshman of the year, said he will transfer to another college at the end of the school year. Williams said he wanted to be closer to his home in Kansas City.

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