The Florida Citrus Bowl college football game in Orlando, Fla., plans to go big time and apparently has what it takes: a new date and a new TV deal.
Instead of NBC televising the 41st annual game Dec. 27, ABC will televise it live Jan. 1, starting at noon, opposite the Rose Bowl Parade on NBC and CBS. NBC's Fiesta and CBS' Cotton bowls will be shown at 1:30.
NBC had carried the last two Citrus Bowls and offered to do the next one, but wouldn't pay as much for the rights at it had. NBC has three New Year's Day bowls under contract: the Fiesta, Rose and Orange.
Citrus Bowl officials talked to CBS about doing the game Jan. 1 but decided on ABC's four-year offer. CBS had dropped its deals with the Sun and Peach bowls this year.
Citrus Bowl sponsors said the new TV money will enable them to pay each team nearly $1 million and that by playing on New Year's Day, the bowl will attract the nation's top teams for 50,500-seat Orlando Stadium.
Ohio State beat Brigham Young, 10-7, in the last Citrus Bowl. . . .
Georgetown got 10 straight hits in a 10-run fifth inning and went on to defeat American University, 15-1, at AU's Reeves Field. Scott Elliot hit for the cycle, the homer coming with two on in the big inning that put Georgetown ahead by 14-0. Teammate Rich Esposito went five for six, getting his two RBI on an eighth-inning homer. Georgetown is 11-12, AU 6-14 . . .
At College Park, Kevin Fitzgerald and John Flaherty each hit grand slams in George Washington's 21-8 victory over Maryland. GW, which has won 11 straight, is 20-9. Maryland is 7-12-1 . . .
Outfielder David White's five hits and six RBI enabled George Mason University to beat Virginia Commonwealth, 10-7, at Mason. He homered with one on in the first inning and with two on in the second to help provide a 7-0 lead. Mason is 16-12, VCU 17-19 . . .
Iona's new basketball coach, Gary Brokaw, got a multiyear contract, although the college's last two coaches, Jim Valvano and Pat Kennedy, left while under contract. Brokaw was an assistant for six years to Digger Phelps at Notre Dame, where he once played for Phelps . . .
Auburn is lacking three of its football players this spring because they didn't keep their grades up. A school spokesman identified them as strong safety Arthur Johnson, tailback Collis Campbell and cornerback Alvin Briggs, and said all are expected to play this fall . . .
Ernest Chambers, a Nebraska state senator from Omaha, says the state university's football players risk their lives and should get paid for it. So when LB1255 authorizing payment of claims against the state came up, he tried to amend it to provide money for football players. He further observed that the college makes a lot of money from its football team and that its players "labor strenuously for the university."
Legislative Speaker William Nichol ruled Chambers out of order because his proposed amendment did not pertain to the bill.