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SPORTS TODAY <br> NEWS, NOTES & QUOTES

ALL BODIES RECOVERED IN HENDRICK CRASH

Crews on all-terrain vehicles on Monday recovered the bodies of all 10 people killed in the crash of a Hendrick Motorsports plane that was carrying family and friends of one of NASCAR's top syndicates.

Federal investigators said they did not know what caused the Beech 200 King Air to crash Sunday en route from Concord, N.C., to Martinsville Speedway, about 7 miles east of the crash site on Bull Mountain in the foothills of the Appalachians.

A bulldozer cleared a path to the crash site so ATVs could recover the bodies.

"The only method we have of getting up to the scene is on ATVs . . . so it's a tedious and slow process," State Police Sgt. Rob Carpentieri said.

The plane slammed into the side of the mountain and its wreckage was blown uphill, said Brian Rayner, a National Transportation Safety Board investigator. Charred debris from the fuselage, engine and other parts was visible, he said.

There was no flight data recorder, cockpit voice recorder or ground proximity monitoring system on the plane, so investigators will try to piece together what happened from the wreckage, radar data and communications between the pilot and the airport, Rayner said.

The crash killed all 10 people aboard, including the son, brother and two nieces of owner Rick Hendrick.

Hendrick, 55, did not join the flight to Sunday's race at Martinsville Speedway because he was not feeling well, a team spokesman said.

GRADUATION RATES HOLD STEADY

The graduation rate for major college football players increased for the fourth straight year, and the rate for all Division I athletes remained at 62 percent, or 2 percent higher than the general student population.

The figures, released Monday by the NCAA, were for athletes who entered college in 1997 and graduated within the six-year window set by the U.S. Department of Education.

This year's report showed 70 percent of female athletes who entered Division I colleges on scholarship in 1997 have graduated, compared with 55 percent of the male athletes over the same period. Those figures, as well as the 62 percent overall rate, were identical to those compiled last year, the first study since the NCAA imposed more stringent academic requirements.

AROUND & ABOUT

* An alleged gang member accused of killing the half sister of tennis stars Venus and Serena Williams was in a "shoot now and ask no questions mood," a prosecutor told jurors at the man's murder trial. Robert E. Maxfield, 23, killed Yetunde Price when he fired 11 shots with an assault rifle at a sport utility vehicle in September 2003, Deputy District Attorney Hoon Chun told the Los Angeles County jury during opening statements.

* New Jersey Devils center Scott Gomez signed a $500 per week contract with the minor league Alaska Aces for the duration of the NHL lockout. Gomez, the NHL's rookie of the year in 2000, attended East High School in Anchorage.

* Notre Dame basketball coach Mike Brey received a two-year contract extension through the 2010-11 season after leading the Irish to three NCAA tournaments in four seasons.

Compiled from News and wire service reports.

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