A college football playoff will have to wait a little longer after the Bowl Championship Series and ABC agreed yesterday to a four-year contract extension worth about $400 million.

The new deal runs through the 2005 season, which includes bowl games in January 2006. Taken as a whole, the entire eight-year package that began in 1998 is worth more than $930 million.

"We're pleased with the agreement and glad ABC was willing to make enhancements to the rights fees," said Kevin Weiberg, commissioner of the Big 12, one of the six conferences in the BCS, along with Notre Dame.

The BCS was created two years ago with the singular goal of matching the two best teams--based on its standings that use polls, computers and strength of schedule--in a national title game. The four bowls in the BCS are the Sugar, Orange, Fiesta and Rose.

Each team playing in a BCS game receives about $13 million, and the new deal is expected to raise the payouts by as much as 30 percent, to about $17 million, in the final years of the agreement.

Next season's championship game is at the Orange Bowl on Jan. 3, 2001, and the following title game will be at the Rose Bowl on Jan. 3, 2002. The rotation for the title games from 2003 to '06 has yet to be determined.


Fore, or Else

Yelling "fore" while playing golf is not just a courtesy--in some cases it's a legal necessity, a New Jersey appeals court has ruled.

The court ruled Wednesday that hitting a golf ball without warning is a recklessly dangerous act. That departs from standard sports liability law--courts consistently have held that sports carry a foreseeable risk of injury.

The ruling revived a lawsuit filed by Jeffrey Schick, who sued a golfing partner after he was struck in the face by a ball while playing at East Orange Golf Course in 1994.

Schick claims that John Ferolito took a mulligan--a second shot to replace a poor first shot--without proper warning and that Schick could not have been reasonably expected to foresee the danger.

Track and Field

Controversy Over Ottey

Organizers of a meet in Karslruhe, Germany, will allow two-time 200-meter world champion Merlene Ottey to compete Saturday, despite pressure from the IAAF and promoters.

Ottey tested positive for the banned substance Nandrolene at a July meet in Lucerne, Switzerland, but later was cleared by Jamaican authorities. The 39-year-old Ottey, the 1993 and 1995 world champion, still faces possible suspension from the IAAF, track's international body.

The IAAF sent a letter yesterday advising the Karlsruhe meet not to allow Ottey to run. That followed a wave of anger and shock from the German track establishment.

German track president Helmut Digel blasted Karlsruhe's action as "a scandal" on Wednesday, while the country's association of track meets has threatened to expel Karlsruhe.

Karlsruhe organizers said Ottey isn't under investigation despite reports the IAAF plans to take action against her before the Sydney Olympics. . . .

Joan Benoit Samuelson, winner of the first Olympic women's marathon in 1984, will try to make the U.S. team again this year.

Samuelson ended speculation yesterday about whether she would compete in the U.S. marathon trials Feb. 26 in Columbia, S.C.

"I haven't submitted my application, but that's the plan," Samuelson said from her home in Freeport, Maine.

She gave several reasons for her decision to enter.

"I'm qualified, I'm 42, this is the year 2000 and my kids have supported me," she said. . . .

Carl Lewis, Greg Foster and Glenn Cunningham head a group of five track and field stars announced as inductees for the Millrose Games Hall of Fame. Joining them are Earl Bell and Doug Padilla. . . .

Double world indoor champion Haile Gebrselassie has pulled out of all indoor track competitions this season because of interruptions in his training after an Achilles' tendon injury last year.

The Ethiopian, world indoor champion at 1,500 and 3,000 meters, was scheduled to start his season in Dortmund, Germany, next Sunday. . . .

Irina Privalova of Russia, the world indoor record holder at 60 meters, made her first international appearance in the 60-meter hurdles at the Russian Winter meet in Moscow, and lost to countrywoman Yulia Graudyn. In the meet at the Vladimir Kuts arena, Privalova finished only 0.1 second behind Graudyn, who was timed in 8.06.

Privalova has held the 60-meter record of 6.92 since 1993. She missed most of last season with an Achilles' tendon injury.


Baggio Lifts Team

Roberto Baggio scored one minute after AC Milan had taken the lead, giving Internazionale of Milan a 1-1 tie against its crosstown rival and a spot in the Italian Cup semifinals.

Internazionale, which won the two-game, total-goals series 4-3, plays Cagliari in the semifinals, with Lazio of Rome playing Venezia in the other semifinal.

CAPTION: Jamaican sprinter Merlene Ottey has been invited to participate in a German meet, despite pressure on the organizers from the IAAF not to let her run.