The Blackhawks traded goaltender Jocelyn Thibault to Pittsburgh for a fourth-round pick in the 2006 NHL draft yesterday.

Blackhawks General Manager Dale Tallon called Thibault a class act who did a lot for the team. He said the trade was "strictly a business decision." Chicago signed goaltender Nikolai Khabibulin to a four-year, $27 million contract last week.

* COLLEGES: Florida State will appeal the NCAA's ban on Native American mascots during postseason tournaments, the school's trustees decided during an emergency meeting.

The school, whose teams are nicknamed the Seminoles and whose mascot is an Indian chief, said it would consider suing the NCAA if its appeal is rejected.

"We will not stand by and let this happen without a fight," Board of Trustees Chairman Jim Smith said.

The NCAA said it will hear Florida State's appeal.

* COURTS: Florida State junior linebacker Ernie Sims will complete two days of public service after pleading no contest to a reduced charge of disorderly conduct, stemming from a fight last month with his girlfriend.

Sims had originally been charged with domestic battery, but that was reduced to disorderly conduct, a misdemeanor. A resisting arrest charge was dropped because "police said he was very remorseful and cooperative," prosecutor Stephanie Usina said.

"Mr. Sims is pleased with it, I'm pleased with it," said his attorney, Henry Hunter.

Another Florida State linebacker, A.J. Nicholson, pleaded no contest earlier this week to a first-offense DUI charge, also a misdemeanor.

* BASKETBALL: Curtis Withers (Charlotte) scored 15 points and Terrence Roberts (Syracuse) added 14 as the United States beat Slovenia, 82-79, in the preliminary round of the men's under-21 world championships in Mar Del Plata, Argentina.

* TENNIS: Three-time champion Andre Agassi defeated Jonas Bjorkman, 6-1, 3-6, 6-2, to advance to the third round of the Masters Series tournament in Montreal.

Agassi, seeded fourth, advanced to face Nicolas Kiefer today. Kiefer, a semifinalist last year, beat Taylor Dent of the United States, 6-4, 6-4.

* WNBA: In New York, Becky Hammon scored 18 of her 22 points in the second half to give the Liberty (14-13) a 74-69 win and its first season sweep of the Los Angeles Sparks.

Chamique Holdsclaw had 21 points and 13 rebounds for the Sparks (12-15), who finished 2-6 on their longest road trip of the season. Los Angeles fell one game behind Minnesota and Phoenix for fourth place in the Western Conference.

* SOCCER: Defending champion Liverpool beat CSKA Sofia, 3-1, in the final round of Champions League qualifying. Two-time champion Inter Milan won, 2-0, at Shakhtar Donetsk.

Fernando Morientes, who was ineligible to play for Liverpool in the Champions League last season, scored two goals for visitors.

-- From News Services

After signing goaltender Nikolai Khabibulin, the Blackhawks opted to trade Jocelyn Thibault, above, to Pittsburgh.