Forgoing more than $1 million, Michigan and Ohio State walked away from a naming rights deal that would have renamed their annual football game the SBC Michigan-Ohio State Classic yesterday.
SBC Communications had offered each school $260,000 for each of the next two years. The rejection was announced in a joint statement from Michigan Athletic Director Bill Martin and Ohio State Athletic Director Andy Geiger.
"The money was not the issue. We didn't even talk about the money," Martin said. "It was a matter from [Michigan President Mary Sue Coleman's] perspective and mine in the final analysis that this was inconsistent with the values that we share with the greater Michigan family." . . .
The Mississippi State football program was stripped of eight scholarships over the next two seasons by the NCAA as part of its four-year probation for recruiting violations. The school also was banned from postseason play this season.
The probation stems from violations under former coach Jackie Sherrill.
"We will not under my watch be in this situation again," said first-year coach Sylvester Croom.
The Bulldogs (2-5 this year) are allowed 81 football scholarships for the 2005 and 2006 seasons, and are limited to 45 expense-paid recruiting visits in each of the 2004-05 and 2005-06 academic years -- 11 per year fewer than the maximum.
* SOCCER: Sao Caetano defender Serginho died after collapsing during a Brazilian match.
Serginho, 30, likely suffered cardiac arrest; the official cause was not immediately released. He is survived by a wife and young son. . . .
Mateja Kezman scored his first goal for Chelsea after 611 minutes of competitive action in a 1-0 win over visiting West Ham in the third round of the League Cup. The game ended with police in riot gear separating fans. Also, Arsenal defeated host Manchester City, 2-1, and Bolton, runners-up last year, lost to Tottenham, 4-3.
* COURTS: NASCAR driver Jimmy Spencer was fired by Morgan McClure Motorsports after he was arrested and accused of interfering with police officers as they attempted to serve a warrant on his son.
Spencer had not posted a top-10 finish this year. The team didn't indicate whether the firing was because of his arrest.
"While his part has been greatly appreciated by everyone here . . . it has been decided, by mutual agreement, that it would be beneficial to both the team and to Jimmy Spencer to release him," team owner Larry McClure said.
On Sunday night, officers went to Spencer's home to arrest James Jonathan Spencer Jr., 18, on a misdemeanor charge of injury to personal property. . . .
Former champion ski jumper Matti Nykanen was sentenced to more than two years in prison in Helsinki after stabbing a man during a drunken stupor in August. Nykanen stabbed a repairman who was working on the cottage where Nykanen was staying. The victim was released from the hospital after a few days.
* BASEBALL: Dodgers bench coach Jim Riggleman (Richard Montgomery High) interviewed for the Mets' managing job.
-- From News Services