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SPORTS TODAY

Donations for relief fund flood in from sports leagues

Major league baseball and its players association contributed $5 million each on Wednesday to establish a relief fund to aid victims of last week's terrorism.

The MLB-MLBPA Disaster Relief Fund will distribute money after consulting with governmental and charitable relief organizations.

Many baseball teams and players are making separate contributions, along with the NFL, NBA and NHL.

"All of major league baseball is deeply saddened by the loss of life and the terrible damage wrought by the terrorist attacks that struck our nation," Commissioner Bud Selig said.

Don Fehr, executive director of the union, said: "The events of Sept. 11 left all of us horrified, and none of us untouched. Baseball and America have always gone together, and now, as the country moves forward to relieve the suffering and heal the wounds, everyone in the baseball community wants to go along."

The NBA is contributing more than $1 million, along with supplies and office space. The NFL is about to make a "major financial contribution," league spokesman Greg Aiello said.

NHL teams have raised a total of more than $1.3 million for disaster relief funds and the NHL Players Association donated $500,000 to help families of New York City firefighters and police officers.

The U.S. Tennis Association announced a $1 million donation to the World Trade Center relief effort.

Golf's top two cups will exchange slots

The Ryder Cup and Presidents Cup are trading places on the calendar beginning next year, a change that golf executives described as the only one that made sense.

The Ryder Cup, scheduled for Sept. 28-30 at The Belfry in England until it was postponed one year because of the terrorist attacks, will be played Sept. 27-29, 2002, at the same location with the same captains and the same 12-man teams.

After that, the matches between the United States and Europe will be played permanently in even-numbered years. The Ryder Cup has been held every other year since 1927, with the exception of a 10-year break during World War II.

"I don't think playing in odd-numbered years added a whole lot to the atmosphere," U.S. captain Curtis Strange said Wednesday.

To accommodate the change, the PGA Tour agreed to push back the Presidents Cup one year to November 2003 in South Africa. It will be played in odd-numbered years.

"It was our position that the most likely scenario, if we made the determination to postpone the Ryder Cup, was to slide everything back," PGA Tour Commissioner Tim Finchem said.

Breeders' Cup races will stay in New York

The Breeders' Cup will go on as planned next month in New York with tighter security.

D.G. Van Clief Jr., president of Breeders' Cup Ltd., said that "currently, there are no insurmountable obstacles to running the World Thoroughbred Championships" at Belmont Park in Elmont.

The eight-race program Oct. 27, with $13 million in purses, is horse racing's showcase day.

Garden goes quiet for return of games

In the first professional game of any kind in New York since the terrorist attacks, fans at Madison Square Garden observed their quietest moment of silence ever.

"That was respect for those lost and regard for everyone going through a tough time right now," the New York Rangers' Eric Lindros said.

Lindros scored the final goal of the game at 12:21 of the third period in his first appearance of the preseason as New York defeated New Jersey, 6-1.

In other NHL news: Left wing Craig Berube, 35, rejoined the Calgary Flames after spending last season with Washington and the New York Islanders. The Flames lost to the Oilers, 3-2, when Domenic Pittis scored a power-play goal with 4:01 left. Scott Nichol, a former Sabres draft pick, scored one of Calgary's goals. . . . Markus Naslund had a goal and an assist in the Canucks' 6-3 victory over the Coyotes. Naslund was playing his first game since breaking his right leg in two places on March 16 in a game at Buffalo.

Virginia's Groh says he's sorry about remark

Virginia football coach Al Groh apologized for a comment that offended many people, including university President John Casteen.

On a conference call with reporters, Groh was told that several of his players had voiced concerns about flying to this weekend's game at Clemson (2-0).

The Cavaliers (1-1) travel by chartered jet, and Groh said they need not worry about a hijacking.

"I'm not saying this to make light of it by any means, but I'm not planning on having Arabs in the traveling party," Groh said. "So therefore I think probably that the threat of our being hijacked is pretty remote."

News of his comment spread, and Groh issued a written apology.

"I am sorry if my remarks were insensitive," Groh said. "I certainly did not mean to insinuate that millions of sensitive, God-fearing people of Arabic descent are terrorists."

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