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SPORTS TODAY/NEWS, NOTES & QUOTES

'THE BIG O' FILLS IN FOR CINCY'S HUGGINS

Oscar Robertson, Cincinnati's greatest player, will serve as the Bearcats' interim head coach until Bob Huggins returns from suspension Aug. 27.

The Hall of Famer replaces Dan Peters, who left Cincinnati on Tuesday to become an assistant coach at Ohio State.

"I appreciate Oscar's willingness to step up for his university and its basketball program," Athletics Director Bob Goin said in a statement.

Goin said Robertson has agreed to provide oversight and meet with players on a regular basis, as well as provide counseling on their academic responsibilities. Robertson will not have any off-campus recruiting duties but will be allowed to participate in on-campus recruiting as permitted under NCAA rules, Goin said.

Robertson said in the statement released by the school that he considers it "a great honor and opportunity" to work for the school he played for from 1957 to '60.

Robertson played 14 seasons in the NBA for the Cincinnati Royals and Milwaukee Bucks. He made the All-Star team 12 times.

Huggins has been suspended for a drunken driving conviction.

ARBITER REINSTATES U.S. MOUNTAIN BIKER

Mary McConneloug (left) won her appeal to be nominated to the Olympic women's mountain biking team, overturning USA Cycling's selection of Sue Haywood and ending a bizarre process that will likely be remembered more for confusion than accomplishment.

The arbiter ruled that USA Cycling's decision to add 15 points to Haywood's international total -- a decision that pushed her one point ahead of McConneloug in a yearlong battle for the lone women's mountain start position allocated to the Americans for the Athens Games -- wasn't justified.

McConneloug's name will formally be added to the official Olympic roster today. Haywood, however, said she will file an injunction and further contest the decision. The issue was between McConneloug and USA Cycling; Haywood said she never agreed that the arbiter's ruling would be binding.

McConneloug, the No. 2-ranked women's rider in the world, filed the appeal because she believed USA Cycling, in nominating Haywood to the team, did not follow its own criteria -- which states the top-ranked American rider in the International Cycling Union's rankings will be chosen for the Olympics.

NCAA PANEL URGES FEWER FRILLS IN RECRUITING

Under new rules designed to take the "celebrity" out of the recruiting race, colleges will no longer be able to fly recruits on private jets, house them in resort hotels or feed them extravagant meals.

The NCAA Management Council concluded a two-day meeting in Baltimore on Tuesday and will forward the recommendations to the organization's board of directors for emergency approval Aug. 5.

The council also agreed to advance a package of proposals from the National Association of Basketball Coaches that focus on recruiting, retaining and graduating Division I basketball players.

The package includes granting players five years of eligibility, allowing coaches to talk with players outside the traditional player-coach environment and hold tryouts to evaluate prospects.

The package will be examined by member schools, with an initial vote expected in January 2005 and a final vote in April.

TULACZ'S 65 SETS RECORD IN STATE MEN'S AMATEUR

Michael Tulacz of Connelly shot a 7-under 65, the lowest score in tournament history, to lead the first day of qualifying for the 82nd New York State Men's Amateur Championship at Wiltwyck Country Club in Kingston.

Tulacz, who plays out of the Twaalsfskill Club in Kingston, had a 29 on the back nine. He had seven birdies and an eagle in his round. Just a stroke behind is Andrew DiBitetto of Rochester with a 6-under 66. David Patronik of Gannon College and Holland Hills was tied for third place with a 2-under 70. Matt Thomas of Miami (Ohio) was in a tie for fifth place with a 71. Thomas was last year's runner-up.

The field will play another 18 holes of stroke play today with the top 32 entering match play Thursday.

TWO WNY TEEN DIVERS ADVANCE TO NATIONALS

Two local divers are Georgia-bound after their performances in last week's Junior Olympic East Summer Championships qualified them to compete in the National Junior Diving Championships next month.

Casey Matthews, 13, of Getzville, swept all three events in the qualifiers, winning the 1-meter, 3-meter and platform. Ian O'Rourke, 15, of Grand Island, placed 12th on the 1-meter board.

Both divers are members of the local U.S. Diving program the Wings. The national championships will be held Aug. 8-13 in Moultrie, Ga.

AROUND & ABOUT

The Cleveland Browns signed defensive end Jamal Reynolds, a former first-round pick by Green Bay, to a two-year contract.

The East Coast Hockey League has revoked the memberships of the Roanoke Express and Greensboro Generals. Both teams had problems with ownership.

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