Sports Briefs

Posted: Friday, April 12, 2002

Peninsula Relays canceled

The Peninsula Relays, which were scheduled this Saturday for Skyview High School, have been canceled due to snow on the track.

Senior All-Star Game set for Skyview

The boys Senior All-Star Game will be at 8 p.m. tonight at Skyview. The game features senior basketball players from Kenai Peninsula high schools.

There will be no girls game this year due to lack of participants.

Gonzalez chews gum before witnesses in Denver

DENVER -- Weary of the monthlong saga, Arizona Diamondbacks outfielder Luis Gonzalez chewed gum in front of television cameras on Thursday, then put the gum in a bottle for mailing to an Arizona radio station.

The public chewing was intended to end any dispute over the authenticity of another piece of Gonzo-chewed gum being sold at auction on the Internet.

Prior to Thursday night's Arizona-Colorado game, Gonzalez chewed gum near the dugout at Coors Field while the media watched and cameras whirred. He placed the gum in an empty plastic water bottle, which was tagged with the date, 4-11-02. It was then to be sent to Tucson radio station KRQ.

KRQ disc jockey Johnjay Van Es said the station will hold the gum until the auction wraps up Monday evening. The original gum is still in the hands of Wood Lake, Minn., memorabilia store owner Jason Gabbert, who said he collected it at a spring training game in Tucson.

Both the station and Gabbert are taking bids through their Web sites, Van Es said. The winner will get both pieces of gum.

Washington coach Neuheisel facing NCAA probe

BOULDER, Colo. -- The NCAA is investigating University of Washington coach Rick Neuheisel for potential recruiting violations during his tenure at the University of Colorado.

The NCAA alleged a number of violations from l996-l998, and claimed ''a lack of institutional control'' by Neuheisel and his coaching staff, Colorado athletics spokesman Dave Plati said Thursday.

The allegations include improper visits to 25 prospective athletes outside of appropriate contact periods and not properly documenting use of a private jet for recruiting, Plati said. Seven recruits ended up playing for the Buffaloes.

The school also allegedly failed to recover athletic apparel provided for campus visit weekends and inadequately monitored its equipment room.

Another allegation concerned attendance at a prospect's baseball game by an unauthorized athletic department staff member.

Colorado said it has cooperated since the NCAA warned in January 1999 of possible recruiting violations based on a news article about a recruit's visit, CU officials said. The NCAA formally advised the school of an investigation of recruiting practices in July 2001.

The athletic department conducted an internal audit after coach Gary Barnett arrived. Since then, Colorado has self-reported several violations, including excessive reimbursement for mileage to recruits; excessive entertainment money to three student hosts of recruits; use of a hotel game room at a cost of $3 over the limit for some recruiting weekends; provision of TV station tours and a gift of a mock interview tape; and allowing a reporter from a recruit's hometown to be present during a campus visit.

Minnesota merging departments

MINNEAPOLIS -- Citing financial problems, the University of Minnesota will merge the men's and women's athletic departments and officials recommended Thursday that the school cut three sports.

Men's and women's golf and men's gymnastics are the targeted sports. If they are eliminated, the university would save an estimated $900,000 annually. University Vice President Tonya Moten Brown, who oversees sports, estimated deficits will approach $21 million in the next five years unless changes are made.

The jobs of men's AD Tom Moe and women's AD Chris Voelz will end in June, with the school planning a nationwide search for one AD. Brown projected $4.4 million in savings over the next five years from combining the departments.

Minnesota has been one of just five universities with separate sports departments.

Florida's Torborg, Olsen suspended

MIAMI -- Florida manager Jeff Torborg was suspended two games Thursday and fined an undisclosed amount for excessive arguing during the Marlins' home opener.

Right-hander Kevin Olsen also was suspended three games and fined $1,000 for intentionally throwing at and hitting Philadelphia's Marlon Anderson last Friday.

Baseball disciplinarian Bob Watson announced the suspensions Thursday, and they were scheduled to begin Friday. Olsen said he will appeal.

Torborg said managers have no appeal option, but he planned to talk to Watson again Friday morning in hopes of reducing the suspension.

''I can see the fine, but not the suspension,'' Torborg said. ''To take you away from the club? ... Maybe it's a new way of handling things.''

Florida's Mike Lowell also was fined $300 for his actions in the home opener.

Torborg was ejected from Monday's game against the Montreal Expos when he objected to an umpire crew's reversed call, which turned Lowell's three-run homer into a foul ball.

When third-base umpire Chuck Meriwether ruled the ball fair, Montreal manager Frank Robinson argued. Meriwether then consulted with the other umpires, and the ruling was changed.

A TV replay showed the ball hooked foul, passing outside the foul pole as it barely cleared the wall.

Torborg sprinted onto the field to argue the reversal and was ejected by crew chief Tim McClelland when the manager bumped into him.

Torborg didn't think he touched McClelland, but admitted he did after watching a replay of the incident Friday.

''I bumped into his arm a little bit,'' Torborg said, adding that his fine was partly for arguing, partly for running into McClelland and partly for inciting the crowd, which showered the field with magnets.

''I didn't incite the crowd,'' he said. ''The reverse call incited the crowd.''

Even Robinson, baseball's former disciplinarian, thought Torborg's punishment was severe.

''It seemed a little harsh from what I saw, but I don't know what else was said between him and the umpires.''

Lowell said he was fined for throwing his batting helmet and inciting the crowd.

''I think they're trying to make a statement,'' Lowell said.

Olsen's suspension stems from a bench-clearing standoff against the Phillies.

Philadelphia starter Brandon Duckworth hit Preston Wilson in the first inning and Cliff Floyd in the fourth, and Rheal Cormier hit Floyd again in the top of the seventh.

Olsen retaliated by hitting Anderson to start the bottom of the inning. Benches and bullpens emptied, but no punches were thrown. Olsen was ejected.

''I'm going to do the only thing I can do, and that's appeal it,'' Olsen said.

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