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Coliseum approves long-term lease with USC

May 13, 2008|Sam Farmer; | From Times Staff and Wire Reports

In a special meeting Monday, the Coliseum Commission voted unanimously to approve a long-term lease that will keep USC playing football at the historic stadium for decades to come.

The agreement now goes to the USC finance committee, which will vote Wednesday on whether to give the school's final approval.

It is the first long-term agreement in a relationship between USC and the Coliseum that spans more than 80 years. The 25-year lease can be extended to 47 years.

"It's great that it's done," said Pat Lynch, general manager of the Coliseum.

"We can look forward to a long and bright future together."

The proposed pact gives USC veto power over an NFL team returning to the Coliseum, and provides the school seats on the California Science Center Board and the Coliseum Commission.

In exchange, USC will allow the commission to use the school's name and logos as the centerpiece of a future naming-rights deal. The money generated would be earmarked for stadium improvements, including new video displays, concession areas, seating, drainage systems, locker rooms, elevators and escalators.

The document also says that if the commission fails to make the promised improvements in a timely and satisfactory manner, the school can opt out of the agreement after two years. USC would have the right to pay for the improvements itself and be repaid with interest.

-- Sam Farmer

TENNIS

Zvonareva continues to play well on clay

Tenth-seeded Vera Zvonareva extended her impressive streak of clay-court victories, cruising past Ai Sugiyama, 6-3, 6-3, in the first round of the Italian Open at Rome.

Zvonareva won the Prague Open earlier this month and posted a three-set win over Vania King on clay to clinch victory for Russia in the Fed Cup semifinals against the United States.

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Jo-Wilfried Tsonga rallied to beat Nicolas Mahut, 0-6, 7-6 (5), 6-2, in the first round of the Hamburg Masters in Germany, for his first win since returning from a knee injury.

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The U.S. Open's cable TV coverage is leaving USA Network after 25 years and moving to ESPN and the Tennis Channel starting in 2009.

MISCELLANY

U.S. hockey team routs Norway, 9-1

New York Rangers forward Brandon Dubinsky scored three goals and the U.S. scored three times in each period to wrap up their qualifying round at the world hockey championships with a 9-1 win over Norway at Halifax, Canada.

With the win, the U.S. (3-2) locked up third place in Pool F. The U.S. next plays Finland, which lost to Canada, 6-3, on Monday. Unbeaten Russia defeated Switzerland, 5-3, Denmark upset Belarus, 3-2 and Germany beat Latvia, 5-3.

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The America's Cup showdown between two-time defending champion Alinghi of Switzerland and BMW Oracle Racing of the U.S. can't begin for at least 10 months.

The court ruling is a victory for Alinghi. BMW Oracle Racing felt it had the right as Challenger of Record to hold the best-of-three series in October, but Alinghi argued it wouldn't be able to build a boat in time.

New York State Supreme Court Judge Herman Cahn said it would be "inequitable" to deprive Alinghi of the full 10-month notice of challenge to prepare its boat. That 10-month period began with Monday's ruling.

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Prosecutors said they will not seek the death penalty against four people charged with murdering Washington Redskins star Sean Taylor because the accused shooter was a minor when the crime was committed.

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The World Anti-Doping Agency has spent more than $1 million helping fight the appeal by Floyd Landis of the decision stripping him of the 2006 Tour de France title for a doping offense. WADA President John Fahey said that the organization has contributed $1.3 million -- 5% of its total budget of $26 million -- to the U.S. Anti-Doping Agency's case against the cyclist.

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The Chicago Bears signed kicker Robbie Gould to a five-year, $15.5-million contract extension through 2013.

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Brigham Young running back Manase Tonga is academically ineligible and will miss the 2008 football season.

PASSINGS

Ex-UCLA basketball player Rankin, 84

Bill Rankin, a basketball star at UCLA during World War II and after, has died after a long fight with Parkinson's disease. He was 84. Rankin played guard and forward under coach Wilbur Johns for the Bruins in 1945 and, with time out for the Navy, in 1946 and 1947. Rankin coached basketball at Westchester and Monroe high schools.

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