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The Inside Track | NEWSWIRE

More Minnesota Probation

July 03, 2002|From Associated Press

The NCAA hit Minnesota with two more years of probation on Tuesday, for rule-breaking in the women's basketball program, but spared the school harsher penalties.

The women's basketball team will forfeit a scholarship in each of the two seasons, and recruiting will be trimmed back. The NCAA declined to shut down the program for two seasons, which was a possibility under the NCAA's repeat violator rule, and didn't ban the Gophers from postseason play.

Minnesota already was serving four years' probation for academic cheating uncovered in the men's program in 1999. Tuesday's action extends the probation until October 2006.

New Coach Pam Borton, who took the job two months ago despite the pending sanctions, said she was relieved that she no longer has to reassure recruits nervous about the NCAA's so-called "death penalty."

"I'm excited that this is over and that this is done," Borton said. "We can move on."

Former coach Cheryl Littlejohn was fired before last season after a university investigation found she had given $200 to $300 to a player, bought clothes for others and encouraged players to lie to investigators.

Tuesday's announcement cited several other violations by Littlejohn, including arranging free housing for recruits in 1998 and arranging for student managers and assistants to oversee improper workouts in 1998 and 2000.

Littlejohn, whose teams were 29-81 in four years, also was hit in Tuesday's announcement. She is banned from participating in off-campus recruiting from July 8-Nov. 20 at Chicago State, where she now coaches. She's also not allowed to take part in the first seven days of practice this season.

Track and Field

Marion Jones won the 100 meters for a fifth consecutive victory, and Gail Devers overcame a clumsy start to set a stadium record in the 100 hurdles in the Athletissima track meet at Lausanne, Switzerland.

Jones clocked 11.05 seconds to beat Tayna Lawrence of Jamaica by .09. Jones will race next in Paris on Friday.

The 35-year-old Devers, unbeaten this season in the event, won in 12.40 seconds, shaving off 0.11 from the season's previous best time she set June 23 at Stanford. She also bettered the Pontaise track record she set two years ago by .10 seconds.

Francis Obikwelu, a Nigerian who now races for Portugal, won the men's 100 in 10.10. After Olympic and world champion Maurice Greene and Ato Boldon withdrew from the meet citing fatigue, Obikwelu beat Americans Tim Montgomery, Bernard Williams and Joshua Johnson.

Football

Fresno State wide receiver Rodney Wright, a seventh-round draft pick by the Buffalo Bills, was arrested on charges that he injured two people in a hit-and-run crash.

Fresno police said Wright was driving a vehicle that struck a van and caused it to hit a post and burst into flames.

Colorado State's Frostee Rucker, accused of sexually assaulting another student has pleaded guilty to a reduced charge of harassment. Rucker, from Tustin High, was ordered to serve a one-year deferred sentence.

Free-agent wide receiver Michael Westbrook agreed to a three-year contract with the Cincinnati Bengals.

Miscellany

LaQuanda Barksdale completed a three-point play with 15.2 seconds left to give the Portland Fire a 68-64 victory over the Cleveland Rockers at Cleveland.

Tari Phillips scored 19 points as the New York Liberty defeated the Seattle Storm, 74-63 in front of 14,401 at New York. The Liberty won for the second time in seven games.

Jockey Antonia Pena was hospitalized after he was thrown from his horse in a race at Philadelphia Park at Bensalem, Pa. Pena was listed in stable condition at Frankford-Torresdale Hospital.

Passings

Tony Razzano, who helped put together four Super Bowl-winning teams for the San Francisco 49ers, has died. He was 77. Razzano was head of the 49ers' college scouting department from 1979-91.

*

T.J. Simers is on vacation.

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