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NEWSWIRE

NCAA Tough on Nicknames

April 29, 2006|From Times Staff and Wire Reports

Despite a letter from one tribal leader in support of the Fighting Sioux nickname, North Dakota lost its appeal to the NCAA on Friday.

Illinois and Indiana University of Pennsylvania didn't fare any better.

The governing body's executive committee rejected appeals from all three schools that would have allowed them to use Indian nicknames or images without penalty. Bradley, the fourth school with an appeal, became the nation's first to appear on a five-year watch list.

The NCAA's message was clear: It would not retreat from its policy banning the use of "hostile" and "abusive" Indian nicknames, mascots and imagery at championship events.

"The NCAA has a responsibility to make sure its events are treated with respect for all and making sure that the environment is fully respectful," NCAA President Myles Brand said during a conference call.

Friday's decisions came nearly eight months after Brand announced the policy, which prohibits offenders from playing host to postseason games and bars the use of Indian nicknames and images by everyone from coaches and players to cheerleaders and band members.

TENNIS

Nadal Extends

Streak on Clay to 45

Rafael Nadal won his 45th consecutive match on clay, a 4-6, 6-4, 6-3 victory over Jarkko Nieminen that sent the top-seeded Spaniard into the Open Seat Godo semifinals at Barcelona, Spain.

Guillermo Vilas holds the open era record on clay with 53 consecutive wins in 1977. Bjorn Borg is second with 46 in a row in 1979.

Nadal will meet countryman Nicolas Almagro, who ousted 2001 champion Juan Carlos Ferrero, 6-3, 6-3. Tommy Robredo, the 2004 champion, will play Stanislas Wawrinka in the other semifinal.

Top-seeded Nicolas Massu defeated Nicolas Mahut of France, 6-3, 7-6 (3), to reach the semifinals of the Grand Prix Hassan II at Casablanca, Morocco.

Massu, who won his sixth ATP title in Costa do Sauipe and reached the final at Vina del Mar, will play unseeded German Bjorn Phau, who defeated Jiri Vanek of the Czech Republic, 7-5, 6-3. Today's other semifinal pits seventh-seeded Daniele Bracciali of Italy against eighth-seeded Gilles Simon of France.

Bracciali defeated second-seeded Luis Horna of Peru, 6-7 (12), 6-4, 7-6 (3), and Simon upset third-seeded Christophe Rochus of Belgium, 6-3, 3-6, 6-4.

Kim Clijsters might skip Belgium's Fed Cup semifinal against the United States if the matches are on clay.

The U.S. Open champion said on her website that she is concerned about the timing of the July 15-16 series in Belgium, which comes about a week after Wimbledon.

GOLF

Durant Shoots a 64

for Two-Stroke Lead

Joe Durant had a bogey-free, eight-under-par 64 to take a two-shot lead over Brett Wetterich at the Zurich Classic in New Orleans.

Durant, winless since winning the Bob Hope Classic and Doral in consecutive starts five years ago, had a 12-under 132 total on the English Turn course.

Two-time U.S. Open champion Retief Goosen had a three-under 69 that left him in a group of seven players at nine-under 135.

Lorena Ochoa shot a two-under 70 and is a stroke behind Mi Hyun Kim, who shot a 66, after the second round of the Ginn Clubs & Resorts Open at Reunion, Fla.

Dakoda Dowd, the 13-year-old who was given a sponsor's exemption after it was learned that her mother, Kelly Jo, was terminally ill with cancer, shot an 82 and missed the cut by eight strokes.

Tom Kite birdied the final hole for a four-under 68 and a share of the first-round lead at the FedEx Kinko's Classic at Lakeway, Texas.

Kite was tied with Jay Haas, Bruce Fleisher, Craig Stadler, Curtis Strange and senior newcomer David Edwards.

PRO FOOTBALL

Veteran Thomas

Signs With Bills

The Buffalo Bills signed free-agent running back Anthony Thomas.

For his five-year career, Thomas has rushed for 3,424 yards in 901 carries. Thomas will serve as a backup to Willis McGahee, who is coming off his second consecutive 1,000-yard season.

The St. Louis Rams agreed to a one-year contract with receiver Kevin Curtis.

Receiver Shaun McDonald, defensive end Brandon Green and cornerback DeJuan Groce also agreed to one-year deals.

Reserve offensive guard Jeb Terry re-signed with the Tampa Bay Buccaneers.... The Dallas Cowboys re-signed restricted free-agent linebacker Scott Shanle to a one-year contract worth $721,600.

Clint Dolezel threw seven touchdown passes to help the Dallas Desperados (11-3) clinch home-field advantage throughout the Arena Football League playoffs with a 54-46 win over the Arizona Rattlers (7-7) at Dallas.

MISCELLANY

Another Guilty Plea

in BALCO Case

A noted scientist in the field of sports nutritional supplements pleaded guilty to supplying the BALCO lab with the performance-enhancing drug known as "the clear."

Patrick Arnold pleaded guilty to one count of conspiracy to distribute steroids. He's scheduled to be sentenced in August and probably will face three months in jail and three months of home detention.

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