Atlanta Olympic officials admit offering college scholarships that weren't accepted and possibly breaking the law three times while trying to land the 1996 Summer Games.

But former organizing chief Billy Payne and former attorney general Griffin Bell denied that the "excesses," which appear in an amended report to Congress made public yesterday, were part of any vote-buying scheme. Rather, they said, they were the result of "overexuberance" by Atlanta bidders.

"This is not a corrupt system, but it is subject to abuse," said Bell, also a former federal judge and now a partner in the Atlanta law firm King & Spalding, which represents the organization that bid for the games. "We had a couple of cases where we gave gifts of $1,000, and given all the people fighting for the same thing, I'm amazed it didn't go higher."

The report was delivered to a House Commerce subcommittee investigating Olympic bidding, and it shows that former Atlanta mayor Andrew Young, who co-chaired the bid committee, offered a Georgia Tech scholarship to the daughter of Maj. Gen. Henry Edmund Olufemi Adefope, Nigeria's International Olympic Committee representative.

Bell said Young did so without consulting with the Atlanta school. The offer was later declined because Bell said the IOC member "did not want any embarrassment to fall upon Mr. Young."

The daughter of Hungarian IOC member Pal Schmitt was also offered a tennis scholarship at Georgia, but she declined.

Boxing

Pettway Triumphs

Former IBF junior middleweight champion Vincent Pettway of Baltimore won a unanimous eight-round decision over Anthony Ivory before a hometown crowd of 2,000 Wednesday night in Woodlawn, Md.

Pettway (43-6-1) and Ivory (26-48-1) traded body blows for the first four rounds until the winner took a more aggressive stance against the Chicago fighter.

Baseball

Hurricane Delays Trial

Hurricane Floyd prevented the Baltimore Orioles' mascot from having his day in court yesterday.

Because two key witnesses could not make it to the courthouse, a Baltimore District Court judge issued a continuance in the trial of a Philadelphia man accused of pushing the Oriole Bird off the right field wall during a May 4 game at Oriole Park at Camden Yards.

The witnesses, who were asked to testify in the criminal case, called the court and said they couldn't make it from Beltsville because of the severe weather.

A new trial date was not set.

Louis Vitagliano, 43, is charged with second-degree assault and reckless endangerment for allegedly pushing John J. Krownapple, 24, who performed as the team mascot during the game against the Chicago White Sox.

In addition to the criminal charges, Krownapple filed a civil lawsuit against Vitagliano, seeking $200,000 in compensatory and punitive damages.

Swimming

Freestyler Disqualified

Three Chinese swimmers, including a leading freestyler, failed blood tests and were disqualified from a domestic competition, a Chinese newspaper reported yesterday.

Tan Caini, China's top women's 200-meter freestyler last year, and two men--400-meter freestyler Liu Gang and 100-meter breaststroker Xia Shichao--were disqualified from the City Games at Xi'an in north China, the Beijing Youth Daily reported.

The three had red blood cell concentrations that were over the limit. They had been training at a high altitude, a possible reason for the high count.

Another possible explanation was the use of the banned drug erythropoietin (EPO), but the blood test alone is no proof that an athlete used the stimulant, the China Sports Daily said. The disqualification of the three applied only to the games in Xi'an. . . .

Allen Stack, a gold medalist in swimming at the 1948 Olympics, has died at age 71.

Stack, who died at his home in Honolulu on Sunday, won the gold medal in the 100-meter backstroke in 1948. He also swam on the U.S. team in the 1952 Olympics. Stack held six world records and 22 American records between 1948 and 1951, when he swam for Yale University. He also won 10 national Amateur Athletic Union championships.

Basketball

Brovelli to CBA

Jim Brovelli, a former Washington Wizards assistant coach, was hired as coach of the CBA's Sioux Falls (S.D.) Skyforce. Brovelli was elevated to interim coach of the Wizards last season after the firing of Bernie Bickerstaff 18 games into the season. . . .

The Philadelphia 76ers signed center Todd MacCulloch, their only selection in June's NBA draft, and free agent forward Bruce Bowen, who played with the Celtics the past two seasons. . . .

The Miami Heat re-signed guard Rex Walters. Walters, 29, averaged 3.8 points, 1.8 assists and 1.5 rebounds in 33 games last season.

Horse Racing

Colonial Downs Canceled

Colonial Downs has canceled its thoroughbred racing card for today because many of the horses could not make it to the track. Racing is expected to resume Saturday.

Track and Field

Suspensions Sought

The International Amateur Athletic Federation asked the Cuban and Jamaican federations to suspend Javier Sotomayor and Merlene Ottey provisionally for positive drug tests.

Sotomayor, the world record holder in the high jump, tested positive for cocaine at the Pan American Games in Canada. Ottey, the Jamaican sprinter, tested positive for the steroid nandrolone at a meet in July.

Both athletes have denied taking drugs.

The IAAF said the athletes must be suspended by their national federations pending a hearing.

Soccer

A Dollar a Dog

Hot dogs and soda will cost $1 each at Saturday's D.C. United game against the MetroStars at RFK Stadium. The promotion highlights "Youth Soccer Appreciation Night" at the stadium. The game will begin at 7:30 p.m.

Auto Racing

Time Trials Canceled

Rainy weather forced NASCAR officials to cancel time trials today for the New Hampshire 100 Busch North series race at New Hampshire International Speedway in Loudon.

The 44-car starting lineup will be based on the current 1999 points standings. On the pole will be current points leader Brad Leighton of Center Harbor, N.H.

A ninth-place or better finish in Saturday's race will allow Leighton to clinch the 1999 series championship. . . .

Derrike Cope, who won the 1990 Daytona 500, has signed with Bud Moore-Fenley Motorsports to drive its No. 15 car at the UAW-GM Quality 500 in Concord, N.C., next month.

Robert Fenley, president of Fenley Motorsports, said the deal with Cope runs through the 2000 season with options for 2001 and 2002. Cope will also race in Atlanta, the last race of the season.

CAPTION: Former Atlanta Olympic organizing chief Billy Payne says scholarship offers reflected bidders' "overexuberance."