The Maryland State Board of Education ratified a plan that would require all private high school sports teams -- including those with home-schooled students -- to follow the same student eligibility guidelines as Maryland public schools if they want to compete against them in athletics.

The plan passed unanimously and will go into effect this fall. It comes in response to a $7.7 million lawsuit filed against the Maryland Public Secondary Schools Athletic Association in March by the parents of a group of home-schooled students who wrestled for Progressive Christian School in Temple Hills.

The suit claims the MPSSAA discriminated by not allowing Progressive Christian's wrestlers to compete against Maryland public school teams this winter.

Under the previous eligibility rules, MPSSAA member schools were not allowed to compete against high school teams that included home-schooled athletes. . . .

Reggie Blackmon, who coached Churchill High's girls' junior varsity basketball team the past two years, was named varsity coach.

* SWIMMING: Alexandre Despatie gave Canada its second gold medal to celebrate at the world swimming championships in Montreal.

Despatie won the three-meter springboard title yesterday with 813.60 points. The United States's Troy Dumais earned the silver with 752.76 points and He Chong of China took the bronze with 730.77 points.

-- From News Services

and Staff Reports