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AROUND & ABOUT

Metro eyes Syracuse for expansion

CHARLOTTE, N.C. -- The Metro Conference moved to the fore in the conference expansion game Thursday with a proposal to double league membership to 16 teams by adding eight East Coast football independents.

The Southeastern and Atlantic Coast conferences also are mulling over the idea of adding new members, but the Metro has gone a step further by setting a working deadline of late summer or early fall for the teams under consideration to make a decision.

The plan approved Thursday by representatives of the current Metro members -- South Carolina, Louisville, Florida State, Virginia Tech, Memphis State, Cincinnati, Tulane and Southern Mississippi -- calls for the conference to add football as a league sport and feature competition in two eight-team divisions.

The new members would be Miami (Fla.), West Virginia, Pittsburgh, Syracuse, East Carolina, Rutgers, Temple and Boston College. All eight schools were represented during two days of meetings in Charlotte.

Twelve of the schools in the expanded league would play an all-sports schedule, but Syracuse, Pittsburgh and Boston College would continue to play basketball in the Big East, and East Carolina would retain its basketball affiliation with the Colonial Athletic Association.

Syracuse Athletic Director Jake Crouthamel said joining the conference would benefit his school's football program.

"It is an opportunity for Syracuse University to get its football team placed while still retaining membership in the Big East," he said. "It is the only alternative we have been presented with to get football placed."

City Mattress trips Lockport DMI

Right-hander Steve Biancofiore tossed a two-hitter with nine strikeouts as City Mattress, two-time defending Buffalo News Suburban Baseball Association overall playoff champions, defeated Lockport DMI, 5-2, at Lockport's Outwater Park.

Biancofiore, who struck out the side in the seventh, was aided in the Erie-Niagara League game by John Hoar, who was 3 for 3, and Scott Yudess and Mark Notaro, who had two hits each. City Mattress is 6-5; DMI is 5-8.

Palombi rallies to capture bowling lead

RIVERSIDE, Calif. -- Ron Palombi Jr., in 88th place after the first round of qualifying, took the lead after five rounds of the $145,000 PBA Kessler Classic.

Palombi, who won the U.S. Open in April, has a 12-4 match-play record and a pinfall of 7,961 through 34 games. That includes 30 bonus pins per victory. After starting 88th, Palombi moved to 47th, sixth and second place before Friday.

After slipping to fifth, early leader Don Genalo is second with 7,934.

Danny Wiseman jumped from sixth to third with 7,876.

Mike Edwards, the only bowler among the top five who has not won a PBA title, is fourth with 7,871.

Despite a 300 game, fourth-round leader Wayne Webb slipped to fifth with a 7,808. Webb, who has 17 PBA titles, is seeking only his second win in the last five years.

Buffalo's Brad Kiszewski was 24th with 7,164. The stepladder finals for for the $24,000 top prize are today (3:30 p.m., ESPN).

Leonard ready to fight, but not Hearns

NEW YORK -- Sugar Ray Leonard announced he will fight overseas in November, but not against Thomas Hearns as anticipated.

Leonard's attorney Mike Trainer said Leonard will fight again as a middleweight and is considering a world tour. He has offers from four countries to host Leonard's next bout, and his opponent will probably be a boxer from the country where he fights.

Trainer said the weight difference between Leonard and Hearns prevents a third meeting between the two.

Agent says Pats knew of Sims' troubles

BOSTON -- The agent for Kenneth Sims said the New England Patriots knew for a long time that the 1982 top NFL draft pick had a cocaine problem, yet did nothing about it.

"You know if this had been a knee injury, he would have been seeing the best doctor in town," Witt Stewart said.

Sims was waived June 19 following an arrest June 3 in Austin, Texas, for alleged cocaine possession. The case is still pending. Stewart said that a drug test taken the day after the arrest was negative.

Stewart said a suit had not been filed yet. "But if he can be the case that causes this league to address this problem and come up with a viable program, then he's done something that will help not only himself but lots of other guys throughout the future," he said.

The Patriots said at the time of Sims' release that he had violated a two-year contract signed in May, which was worth $900,000 with incentives, requiring him to remain in the Foxboro area for off-season workouts and to stay in proper physical condition.

But Stewart said Sims' release, at least in part, was linked to the bad publicity generated by his cocaine arrest. He also said immediately after the release that Sims' problem was more a dependency on alcohol.

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