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Sports Briefs

Posted: Monday, February 03, 2003

Feofanova tops own world indoor pole vault mark

GLASGOW, Scotland -- Russia's Svetlana Feofanova broke her own world indoor pole vault record Sunday, jumping 15 feet, 7 1/4 inches at the Norwich Union meet.

Feofanova surpassed her previous mark of 15-7 set last March 3 at the European indoor championships in Vienna, Austria.

Feofanova, 22, finished second at the last two indoor and outdoor world championships, but she failed to record a mark at the 2000 Olympics.

American Stacy Dragila, the Olympic champion, holds the outdoor world record of 15-9 1/4.

Manning calls Vanderjagt ''idiot'' during Pro Bowl

HONOLULU -- Peyton Manning called teammate Mike Vanderjagt an ''idiot kicker'' at the Pro Bowl on Sunday, three days after Vanderjagt apologized for making disparaging remarks about the Indianapolis Colts quarterback.

Manning made the comment during a live interview on ABC. He also claimed Vanderjagt was ''liquored up'' at the time of the Canadian cable TV interview earlier this week in which he said Manning should show more emotion.

Vanderjagt also criticized Colts coach Tony Dungy in the interview with The Score, a Toronto-based cable sports network.

''I'm not a real big Colts fan right now, unfortunately. I just don't see us getting better,'' Vanderjagt said during the interview.

''Coach Dungy, he's just a mild-mannered guy. He doesn't get too excited, he doesn't get too down and I don't think that works, either. ... I think you need a motivator, I think you need a guy that is going to get in somebody's face when they're not performing well enough.''

Vanderjagt, the most accurate field-goal kicker in NFL history, apologized Thursday to Dungy, Manning and the rest of his teammates. He signed a $7.75 million, five-year contract extension with the Colts in November 2000 -- at the time making him the league's highest-paid kicker.

James sits as his team squeaks out win

AKRON, Ohio -- LeBron James didn't wear any type of jersey, and the only person he was willing to go one-on-one with was Deion Sanders.

James, ruled ineligible by state high school officials for accepting two free ''throwback'' jerseys from a trendy clothing store in Cleveland, missed the first game of his celebrated career on Sunday.

Without James, who is expected to be the top selection in this year's NBA draft, Akron's St. Vincent-St. Mary survived its closest game this season, edging Canton McKinley 63-62.

James' high school career came to an apparent end following Friday's ruling by the Ohio High School Athletic Association that he violated amateur bylaws by accepting the retro jerseys worth $845.

James will likely appeal the OHSAA's decision on Monday. School athletic director Grant Innocenzi expects James' attorney, Fred Nance, to take legal action that may allow the senior to continue playing.

Nance declined comment.

James didn't come on the school's team bus to sold out Rhodes Arena at the University of Akron, arriving about an hour before tipoff flanked by campus police and some of his own security personnel.

Later, one of James' advisers asked Akron police to clear the gymnasium so Sanders could have an exclusive interview for CBS' ''The Early Show'' with James, who has not yet addressed his situation and has refused interviews for weeks.

As Sanders took James into the stands to chat, LeBron's mother, Gloria James, screamed at photographers trying to get a picture of the two high-profile athletes.

Sanders also turned down interview requests, speaking only to a Washington Post reporter he knows.

''I was curious to see what kind of guy he was,'' Sanders said of James.

Sanders is puzzled by the rule that has sidelined James for now.

''I never heard of a rule like that,'' Prime Time told the newspaper. ''If we really did our homework, I don't think we would have anyone eligible.''

Wearing a cap pulled down over his eyes, and a black T-shirt under a St. Vincent-St. Mary gold suit, James laughed while shooting a few jumpers as his Fighting Irish teammates warmed up.

Many in the crowd of 5,900 showed their support for the 18-year-old James with signs. One read: ''Let LeBron Play Please.'' Another said: ''Hey Clair Be Fair'', a reference to OHSAA commissioner Clair Muscaro.

A group of St. Vincent-St. Mary students wore ''We Love LeBron'' T-shirts, and shortly before the game started, James posed for pictures with Canton McKinley's cheerleaders.

James took a seat in the middle of his team's bench, and when he wasn't cheering for his teammates, he sat nervously chewing his nails during the tight game.

When St. Vincent-St. Mary opened an eight-point lead in the final minute, Canton McKinley called timeout. James then walked away from his team's huddle and clapped along with the crowd as the band played the school's fight song.

Muscaro ruled on Friday that in taking the jerseys, James broke bylaw 4-10-1 (c) which states ''an amateur forfeits his or her amateur status by capitalizing on athletic fame by receiving money or gifts of monetary value.''

Muscaro could not be reached at home for comment.

OHSAA spokesman Bob Goldring said James has to make his appeal to Muscaro in writing, and it would be heard by a state panel on Feb. 13 in Columbus.

Goldring said the Board of Control could convene earlier, and have held emergency conference calls in the past to hear appeals.

Before the game, coach Dru Joyce said James returned the jerseys to ''Next Urban Gear and Music'' on Friday and was on his way back to Akron when Muscaro handed down his decision.

Joyce insisted that James didn't go to the store looking for a handout, and had no idea he was going to get the jerseys for free from the store's owner, Robert Rosenthal.

'''Bron walked in and he said, 'Let me know what you want','' Joyce said. ''He's an 18-year-old kid. What's he supposed to do.''

At the time, James was unaware of the consequences of accepting the free gifts, Joyce said.

''He didn't think it was a big deal, so he said, 'I'm going to take the jerseys back.' He wanted to do the right thing. I applaud him for that.''

Joyce also contested Muscaro's claim that he had tried to speak with James and was turned down.

''The school's officials never told LeBron that Clair called,'' Joyce said. ''LeBron never had the chance to talk to him.''



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