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THE INSIDE TRACK | NEWSWIRE

World Cup Champions Bask in the Afterglow

July 13, 1999| From Staff and Wire Reports

They hoisted their trophy like an Oscar at the Academy Awards, stopped pedestrian traffic in midtown Manhattan and even burst into song on the sidewalks of New York.

The members of the champion U.S. women's soccer team took to the streets Monday, soaking up more acclaim for their World Cup victory over China.

They were in New York for a rapid-fire tour of shows from "Good Morning America" and "Today" to CNN and Fox News Channel. A midtown rally was on today's agenda.

The extraordinary attention did not surprise midfielder Julie Foudy. "We've always said this team is America's best-kept secret," Foudy said on NBC's "Today" show. " . . . The secret is out!"

Winning the World Cup also began paying financial dividends for the women.

Originally scheduled to share $250,000 from the U.S. Soccer Federation, the players instead were awarded a $1-million bonus for winning the Cup. That breaks down to $50,000 a player instead of the $12,500 they originally expected.

Then, on Monday, the United States Olympic Committee said it was awarding $120,000 to the team--$6,000 for each of the 20 players.

Meanwhile, ESPN announced that it will rebroadcast Saturday's final opposite the major league baseball All-Star game tonight.

The 5-4 shootout victory by the United States over China was the most-watched soccer game ever on U.S. network television, with an estimated 40 million viewers watching.

In Beijing, Chinese fans banging drums and singing the national anthem gave a hero's welcome to a team that returned defiant from its loss to the Americans.

"We didn't lose because of spirit or strength. We lost because of luck," defender Zhao Lihong said as the team walked through the airport.

*

A U.S. appeals court in Richmond, Va., extended the rights of women to play college football under Title IX, a federal law prohibiting sex discrimination in college sports.

The U.S. Fourth Circuit Court of Appeals, in a case filed by a woman who was kicked off the Duke football team in 1996, ruled that colleges that allow women to try out for football cannot then discriminate against them.

Under Title IX, football and other single-sex contact sports are exempted from the sex discrimination statute. But the appeals court for the first time ruled that the exemption is lifted if women are invited to play.

The appeals court overturned a North Carolina federal court ruling and allowed Heather Sue Mercer, who graduated from Duke in May 1998, to continue with her lawsuit against the university and former coach Fred Goldsmith.

Mercer drew national attention in April 1995 when she kicked the winning 28-yard field goal in Duke's spring intrasquad scrimmage. She was a member of the team in 1995, but did not play. Mercer said she was dropped from the team at the start of the 1996 season because of her sex. She claimed Goldsmith made several offensive statements to her.

Basketball

Luke Recker, a former Indiana basketball standout who transferred to Arizona after last season, was recuperating after undergoing surgery to repair an ear severely lacerated in a fatal weekend car accident near Durango, Colo.

Recker, 21, also suffered facial cuts, but did not have a broken arm, as was initially reported, Mercy Hospital spokesman Joe Wade Plunk said. Recker was in fair condition.

Recker and four friends were injured in the three-car accident Saturday night on County Road 240 near Durango in southwestern Colorado. He was a passenger in a vehicle driven by John Hollbert, 23, of Senoia, Ga., who was killed.

Virginia Athletic Director Terry Holland has discussed the possibility of becoming Minnesota's next basketball coach, according to published reports, but declined to say if he would accept the job if it were offered.

Cincinnati's Kenyon Martin scored 21 points as the U.S. men's basketball team won its record sixth consecutive World University Games gold medal by defeating Yugoslavia, 79-65, at Palma de Mallorca, Balearic Islands.

Spain won the women's title by upsetting the United States, 57-48.

The Orlando Magic signed rookie swingman Corey Maggette from Duke. Terms were not disclosed.

Miscellany

Two New York Jet players and a former teammate arrested after a bar fight in Long Island face disciplinary action by the NFL.

The players were arraigned in Long Beach (N.Y.) City Court and remained free on bail, the Nassau County district attorney's office said.

John "Jumbo" Elliott, 34, and Jason Fabini, 24, of the Jets and Matt O'Dwyer, 26, of the Cincinnati Bengals were drinking at Bogart's Bar and Restaurant in Long Beach about 12:30 a.m. Saturday when they began acting up, police said. It took 31 officers to subdue the 300-pound football players, police said.

Howard Schnellenberger's search for a coach to lead Florida Atlantic's new football program ended with the obvious choice: Howard Schnellenberger. Since May 1998, the former Miami, Louisville and Oklahoma coach has been raising money for the program as director of football operations. Florida Atlantic, located in Boca Raton, plays its first game Sept. 8, 2001, against Cornell.

Randy Harvey is on vacation.

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