Miami, Washington unable to get together
Miami did an about-face and agreed to play in the 1992 Kickoff Classic. But a contest pitting last season's two national college football champions fell apart when Washington declined, a source told The Associated Press yesterday. The source, who asked not to be identified, said there was never an agreement between the schools to play in the season opener at Giants Stadium in late August.
Miami, which finished first in The Associated Press' media poll, originally told the organizers of the game it was not interested. That stance started softening, and on Jan. 21 athletic director Dave Maggard informed the organizers that the Hurricanes would play provided the opponent was Washington, which finished first in the USA Today-CNN coaches poll. But the battle of No. 1s fell apart hours after Miami said yes, when Washington athletic director Barbara Hedges told the game's organizers that Huskies players had voted not to play in the game.
Washington Redskins defensive lineman Markus Koch, who missed most of last season with a knee injury, won't decide until this spring whether he wants to try to make a comeback, his agent, Marvin Demoff, said. Koch's indecision left the Redskins in a quandary yesterday, as they worked on their 37-man Plan B protected list that must be submitted to the league tomorrow.
Koch, 28, has flirted in the past with the idea of retiring, but always has returned. General manager Charley Casserly said that a decision on whether to protect Koch probably will be one of the last ones the Redskins make tomorrow before they submit their list by 3 p.m.
Casserly said coach Joe Gibbs plans to talk to Koch and also to speak to such veterans as Don Warren, Jeff Bostic and Joe Jacoby. The Redskins want them all back, but Gibbs will see if any wants to volunteer to be left unprotected. The only veteran who no longer seems to fit into the team's plans is offensive guard Russ Grimm, who hasn't decided whether to retire.
* Nevada sports books took a record $50.3 million in Super Bowl bets, but wound up winning only $301,280, the Nevada Gaming Control Board said.
Owner Harold Katz, coach Jimmy Lynam and the Philadelphia 76ers players held a 46-minute team meeting after practice to consider Katz's gripe that the team lacks focus and intensity against so-called bad teams. "We had a private meeting and I left it with the guys. It's going to remain private," Katz said. "I will discuss nothing about the meeting. But I think it's obvious that we have lost to every bad team, that there is a reason why we are losing to those bad teams. We just had a team meeting discussing that purpose."
* Los Angeles Lakers general manager Jerry West said the team still plans to retire Magic Johnson's jersey Feb. 16 even though Johnson has spoken of a possible comeback.
* Atlanta Hawks forward Dominique Wilkins should be back in action next season, his surgeon said after the All-Star forward underwent surgery for a torn right Achilles' tendon. "It went fine, looks good and looks like it ought to heal well," said Dr. Jack Hughston, who performed the 1 1/2 -hour surgery.
* Dallas Mavericks backup center James Donaldson said he is filing a grievance over his one-game suspension for fighting with teammates Derek Harper and Rolando Blackman.
Pete Sampras, the fourth-ranked player in the world, plays 44th-ranked Martin Jaite of Argentina in today's first match of the U.S.-Argentine Davis Cup world group first-round tie in Kohala Coast, Hawaii. Eleventh-ranked Andre Agassi meets No. 21 Alberto Mancini in the second match. The doubles tomorrow pairs Americans Rick Leach and John McEnroe against Javier Frana and Christian Minussi. On Sunday, Sampras plays Mancini, followed by Agassi against Jaite.
A Japanese-led group's $100 million offer for the Seattle Mariners was forwarded to baseball's ownership committee, and the committee immediately will begin its background checks and deliberations. Deputy commissioner Stephen Greenberg and committee chairman Fred Kuhlmann of the St. Louis Cardinals ** said there was a chance that the committee would be able to report to all owners at the next quarterly meetings, scheduled for March 4-5 at Rosemont, Ill.