The Atlantic Coast Conference has proposed making football players eligible to compete for five years, saying the extra season might allow some students to get their degrees rather than leave school early.

The NCAA will vote on the proposal no earlier than April 2005, said Shane Lyons, the ACC's associate commissioner.

"Many students who have exhausted eligibility have to make a decision about whether they pursue their professional or athletic career without getting their education," Lyons said Tuesday. "We believe it's more likely that student-athletes will return if they still have that eligibility."

The ACC, which proposed the rule to the NCAA earlier this month, suggested that the NCAA eliminate redshirt seasons, when players are on the team but don't play. A redshirt season does not count toward eligibility. About 70 percent of college football players are redshirted, Lyons said.

* CYCLING: An Italian cyclist who says he was "threatened" by six-time Tour de France champion Lance Armstrong during the race was questioned by police about the episode, which might be linked to a feud between the riders.

Filippo Simeoni was questioned Tuesday in Rome about Friday's stage, during which he was chased down by Armstrong, a move apparently related to a dispute about Simeoni's testimony about drug use in cycling, Col. Stefano Ortolani of the paramilitary Carabiniere NAS anti-doping squad said yesterday.

When Simeoni moved ahead to try to win a stage that would not have affected the overall standings, Armstrong chased him down and herded him back to the main pack.

The sports daily Gazzetta dello Sport quoted Simeoni after he left police questioning as saying, "He prevented me from continuing the breakaway and afterward he threatened me."

Armstrong's agent, Bill Stapleton, had no comment.

* BOXING: The Ballroom at Michael's Eighth Avenue in Glen Burnie will host ESPN2's "Tuesday Night Fights," with a main event on Tuesday matching 175-pounders Darnell Wilson (16-1-2) of Silver Spring and George Khalid Jones (19-2) of Patterson, N.J.

Baltimore middleweight Ishmail Arvin (10-0-1) is scheduled to meet Elco Garcia (Colorado, 15-2) in a co-feature. . . .

Former undisputed heavyweight champion Hasim Rahman knocked out Terrence Lewis with a left jab that broke his nose 43 seconds into the second round of their fight in Rochester, N.Y.

* TENNIS: Andy Roddick beat French qualifier Julien Benneteau, 6-4, 6-2, to reach the second round of the $2.5 million Masters Canada tournament in Toronto.

Top-seeded Roger Federer beat Morocco's Hicham Arazi, 6-3, 7-5, in another first-round match.

* MOTOR SPORTS: Former Indianapolis 500 champions Bobby Rahal and Johnnie Parsons head a class of seven inductees into the Motorsports Hall of Fame of America.

Rahal, the 1986 Indy winner, and Parsons, who took that title in 1950, will be inducted today in Novi, Mich. Also being inducted into the 16th class will be NASCAR executive Bill France Jr., NHRA Top Fuel champion Joe Amato, multiclass sports car champ Geoff Brabham, driver-designer-builder Don Vesco and longtime Los Angeles Times motor sports writer Shav Glick.

* OBITUARY: Former San Francisco Giants pitcher Ruben Gomez, who won baseball's first regular season game on the West Coast, has died. He was 77.

-- From News Services

and Staff Reports