Mississippi State sprinter Steve Mullings withdrew from the NCAA championships yesterday after a Jamaican athletic organization banned him for two years for testing positive for steroids.
"I have come to realize that this decision may put an end to those lashing out at my team and university," Mullings said in a statement issued by the school.
Mississippi State Athletic Director Larry Templeton said in the statement that Mullings, the Southeastern Conference champion in the 100 meters, was eligible under NCAA, conference and school regulations.
Mullings received the ban from the Jamaica Amateur Athletic Association last week for testing positive for the banned substance testosterone at the Jamaica national championships last year.
The JAAA said the ban is effective from June 26, 2004, the date of his suspension.
Mullings, 22, was tested days after winning the 200 meters at the competition to select Jamaica's squad for the Athens Olympics. He was subsequently left off the team.
The NCAA championships begin today in Sacramento.
* PRO FOOTBALL: The New York Giants are willing to work out an agreement with the Jets to share ownership of a new $750 million stadium at the Meadowlands if the Jets' plans to build a stadium on the New York's West Side fall apart.
The advantage of having the Jets share in the ownership and play in the same stadium would be that the teams would not compete for money from advertisers and suite owners.
The new, 80,000-seat stadium for the Giants is expected to be ready for the 2009 season.
* AUTO RACING: Joe Gibbs Racing hired Mike Ford, Dale Jarrett's recently deposed crew chief, to take over the car of struggling rookie Jason Leffler, who is 36th in the NASCAR Nextel Cup standings.
Leffler, who drives Gibbs's newest car, the No. 11 Chevrolet sponsored by FedEx, has been dogged by rumors of impending change and failed to qualify for last month's Coca-Cola 600. His former crew chief, Dave Rogers, will remain with Joe Gibbs Racing.
* COLLEGES: ESPN withdrew from the college football coaches' poll, the second major news organization to say it didn't want to be a part of the Bowl Championship Series' weekly rankings.
The cable sports network said it no longer wanted its name attached to the rankings unless all ballots were made public, not just the final ones. USA Today will continue running the poll, which helps determine who plays for the national championship.
In December, the Associated Press told the BCS to stop using its media poll in its weekly formula.
-- From News Services