Val Ackerman is stepping down as president of the WNBA, a position she has held since the league's inception in 1996, the Sports Business Daily reported yesterday.

Ackerman joined the NBA as an attorney in 1988, and served as a special assistant to Commissioner David Stern. She later became the league's vice president of business affairs. Numerous sports marketing sources told the newspaper, published by Street & Smith's Sports Group, of Ackerman's decision to leave the WNBA.

* SOCCER: Inter Milan, Chelsea and AC Milan stayed perfect yesterday as the European Champions League group stage reached the halfway mark.

Chelsea converted first-half headers from John Terry and Eidur Gudjohnsen, defeating CSKA Moscow, 2-0, at Stamford Bridge in London for its third victory. Chelsea Manager Jose Mourinho is undefeated in 14 straight Champions League matches, which includes last season with champion Porto.

English league leader Arsenal was held to a 2-2 draw at Greek champion Panathinaikos. Thierry Henry gave Arsenal a 2-1 lead in the 74th, but Emmanuel Olisadebe got the equalizer in the 82nd.

* COLLEGE BASKETBALL: The NCAA has granted the academic waiver petition of Syracuse junior guard Billy Edelin, making him immediately eligible to play for the Orange. According to a release distributed by the NCAA, the membership service staff noted Edelin's recent academic improvement and the academic recovery plan presented by the institution as reasons for approval.

* HORSE RACING: The $4 million Breeders' Cup Classic is shaping up to be a doozy of a race -- even without Kentucky Derby and Preakness winner Smarty Jones.

Funny Cide, the 2003 Derby and Preakness winner, returns to the limelight as the chestnut gelding joins defending champion Pleasantly Perfect, Belmont Stakes winner Birdstone and perhaps the great mare Azeri in a field of 13 pre-entered at Lone Star Park in Texas on Oct. 30. A total of 101 horses were pre-entered yesterday for the eight-race, $14 million event billed as the World Thoroughbred Championships.

* COURTS: The former Baylor University basketball player accused of gunning down a teammate will be sent to a state mental hospital for treatment before he can be tried for murder, a judge in Waco, Tex., said. In a report, a court-appointed psychiatrist said Carlton Dotson "consistently appears to be hallucinating."

-- From News Services

Andriy Shevchenko celebrates his goal in the 31st minute that gave AC Milan a 1-0 victory over Barcelona in a Champions League match in Italy.