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West Seneca East graduate Kevin Mason will return to the Arena Football League's Buffalo Destroyers for a third straight season.

Coach and General Manager Ray Bentley announced Thursday that the club has re-signed Mason, a 6-foot-4, 205-pound Syracuse University product who completed 78 of 146 passes for 908 yards with 11 touchdowns and four interceptions last season. Don't necessarily look for him at quarterback this spring, however.

"It's great to have Kevin back," Bentley said. "He's so athletic that his versatility is going to allow us some flexibility. This year he'll primarily play at the wide receiver/linebacker spot with the intention that if a calamitous situation arises, we can put him in at quarterback and get the job done."

The Destroyers also signed 6-6, 320-pound rookie lineman Robert Barzilauskas from Valdosta State.

The team will hold minicamp next Monday through Wednesday at the Amherst Training Facility.

CBA in big trouble,
suspends play temporarily

The Continental Basketball Association temporarily suspended play, with league owner Isiah Thomas attempting to sell the teams to local groups.

The league's value plummeted when the NBA decided to operate its own developmental league rather than relying on the CBA, though the NBA extended its partnership through the current season.

The CBA said Thomas personally advanced funds to pay the players through their last games. The league said payments to non-player personnel and the resumption of the season will be determined by the local owners.

Eight of the league's 10 teams failed to meet their player payrolls last Friday, and it was questionable whether they had money to travel for road games.

Thomas, head coach of the Indiana Pacers, has been ordered by the NBA to sell the CBA before next season's training camp.

Casey wins his case
in salary arbitration

Cincinnati first baseman Sean Casey won the first case in baseball salary arbitration decided by a panel that included two women.

Casey was awarded a raise from $400,000 to $3 million Thursday by arbitrators.

Casey, 26, hit .315 last season with 20 homers and 85 RBIs. Cincinnati offered him $2.6 million.

Players and owners have split the first four cases this year.

Two players scheduled for hearings settled their cases. Kansas City right-hander Jeff Suppan agreed to a $6.5 million, two-year contract, and Reds outfielder Dmitri Young agreed to a $3.5 million, one-year deal.

New York Yankees closer Mariano Rivera, originally scheduled for a hearing Thursday, will have his case rescheduled for Feb. 14 or 19 following the firing of his agents, Jim Bronner and Bob Gilhooley, by SFX Entertainment Inc. Randy Hendricks will take over arguing Rivera's case.

Meanwhile, it appears Derek Jeter's $189 million, 10-year contract with the Yankees could be finalized by Monday. The sides have only minor details left and are close to finishing the deal, a pair of baseball officials said.

Among free agents, Milwaukee signed infielder Tony Fernandez, who played in Japan last year; Cleveland signed right-hander Willie Blair; and Tampa Bay signed right-hander Ken Hill. All got minor league contracts.

UNLV president to talk
to Pitino about job

UNLV's president plans to meet today with Rick Pitino to try to convince the former Boston Celtics coach to take over the university's basketball program.

President Carol Harter said she and athletic director Charles Cavagnaro will talk to Pitino, but that no offer is likely to be made at the meeting.

Elsewhere in college hoops:

Jason Kapono scored 20 points and UCLA beat No. 22 Southern California (16-6, 6-4), 85-76, snapping the Trojans' 10-game undefeated streak at home.

Quincy Wadley scored 21 points as Temple overwhelmed George Washington, 91-58.

Tim Lyles scored 17 points, including a driving layup with 18 seconds left to lift West Virginia to a 69-68 victory over Pittsburgh. Julius Page (Turner/Carroll) scored only four points, six below his average, for Pitt.

Scott Knapp scored 20 points and Siena held Loyola-Maryland to 33.3 percent shooting in a 65-56 Metro Atlantic Athletic Conference win. Justin Miller (Southwestern) scored nine points for Siena.

Former Indiana coach Bob Knight has been hired by an Internet company to post his NCAA Tournament picks online. A Reston, Va.-based Internet company,, will pay Knight roughly $50,000 to pick the winners of the 64-team field.

Around & About

Former heavyweight boxing champion Riddick Bowe was arrested in Syosset, L.I., following a fight with his wife at their home. Bowe, 33, allegedly dragged his spouse, leaving her with cuts on her knees and elbows. In other boxing news, heavyweight champion Lennox Lewis will defend his title on April 21 in Pretoria, South Africa, against American Hasim Rahman.

Tony Reyes rolled a 300 game to take a 24-pin lead over Brian Himmler after the second round of qualifying in the PBA Tour's Parker Bohn III Empire State Open in Latham.

Anna Kournikova, still without a WTA Tour title, beat Sandra Kleinova, 6-0, 6-3, in 45 minutes to reach the quarterfinals of the Gaz de France tournament in Paris. Kournikova, seeded second, next plays Amelie Mauresmo. In other tennis news, Australia took a 2-0 lead in its first-round Davis Cup match against Ecuador as Pat Rafter and Lleyton Hewitt earned straight-set wins.

Chicago Enforcers running back John Avery and Orlando Rage linebacker Shawn Banks were named the top players from the XFL's inaugural week. Avery gained 250 total yards and scored two touchdowns in Chicago's 33-29 loss to Orlando. Banks had five tackles with a fumble recovery and an interception.

The driver of a bus carrying the Florida State baseball team to a game against Stanford died of an apparent heart attack as the bus hurtled along Highway 101 near San Francisco at 70 mph. Team coaches were able to control the bus and steer it safely to the shoulder, and no one else was injured.

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