NCAA clears Laettner, Duke in GQ diary case
Duke's national championship is safe. Center Christian Laettner didn't break any rules by keeping a diary during his senior season, according to the NCAA.
"Christian Laettner did not violate any NCAA rules by keeping a diary -- and that's all he did," NCAA spokesman Jim Marchiony said. "There was neither any written nor oral agreement between Laettner and GQ that would be a violation of NCAA rules."
Laettner had agreed to keep the diary in order to write an article for GQ magazine. Duke officials had cleared it with the NCAA before the season began, the NCAA acknowledged.
The Winston-Salem Journal reported Thursday that GQ managing editor David Granger and former manager editor Eliot Kaplan said Laettner signed a contract with the magazine, agreeing to payment if the story were published.
NCAA rules say a student-athlete's eligibility is jeopardized if he makes an agreement for professional services or promotes a product while still eligible. Laettner denied signing a contract. Granger checked GQ's files and agreed there was no written contract.
* The University of Kentucky found "credible and persuasive" evidence that someone in the school's basketball office placed $1,000 in an envelope being mailed to a recruit's father, according to an in-house investigation.
The university opened nearly all the pages from an NCAA investigation that led to a three-year probation of the school's storied basketball program. The school released the massive 3-year-old report after the Kentucky Supreme Court ruled 6-1 on April 9 that it wasn't exempt from the state's Open Records Law.
* University of Maine police and the Penobscot County district attorney's office are investigating a sports gambling ring involving 40 university students.
University police uncovered evidence of an operation taking $3,000-$10,000 a week in bets on professional and college sports, District Attorney Christopher Almy said. Almy said he was not aware of any betting on Maine games.
Mario Lemieux, who missed the Pittsburgh Penguins' last two games with a sore shoulder, may not be ready for tomorrow's playoff opener against the Washington Capitals.
Lemieux pulled himself from the ice before the end of the Penguins' practice yesterday, saying he didn't feel right.
"It was very sore," Lemieux said. "I tried to skate a little but I couldn't move my shoulder very well. I took a couple of shots and that didn't go very well either."
Americans Kim Zmeskal and Betty Okino advanced to the women's finals of the World Gymnastics Championships in Paris with superb routines that earned them the top scores in the semifinals of the individual events.
Zmeskal, 16, had a 9.937 in the floor exercise to pace the all-around event. Defending champion Oksana Tchusovitina of the former Soviet Union received a bye into today's final.
Okino, 16, was fourth in the all-around last year at Indianapolis. She picked up a 9.937 in the balance beam to tie for first with another member of the former Soviet Union, Tatiana Lissenko.
Just a day after looking like the Andre Agassi of old, the second seed was upset by 77th-ranked Franco Davin 6-4, 7-6 (7-0) in the quarterfinals of the USTA Men's Clay Courts tournament in Tampa, Fla.
Third-seeded MaliVai Washington had to save two match points in the second set of his 4-6, 7-6 (9-7), 6-4 win over unseeded Marcelo Filippini, while Jaime Yzaga of Peru needed three sets to get past unseeded Mark Woodforde of Australia 4-6, 6-0, 7-5.
* Top-seeded Pete Sampras avenged a Davis Cup loss by beating France's Henri Leconte in the Nice Open in Paris. Second-seeded Guy Forget was eliminated in the quarterfinals by Javier Sanchez of Spain.
Last December, Leconte surprised Sampras in the final of the Davis Cup to propel France to the victory over the United States. But Sampras won this time, 6-4, 1-6, 6-3.
* Jim Courier, the world's top-ranked player, defeated South African Gary Muller, 6-2, 6-1, to cruise into the semifinals of the Hong Kong Salem Open.
Courier lost only six points on his serve as he advanced along with fellow American Michael Chang. Third-seed Chang also had no trouble beating sixth-seeded Dutchman Jan Siemerink, 6-3, 6-2, in his quarterfinal match.
* Heavy rains forced the cancellation of all afternoon and evening matches at the Virginia Slims of Houston. Tournament officials said play will resume at 10 a.m. today, weather permitting.