The New Orleans Saints aren't going anywhere for a while.
State officials announced Monday that they have agreed in principle with the NFL team with a financial package that will help keep the league's poorest franchise in New Orleans,
Steve Perry, chief of staff to Gov. Mike Foster, said Monday that Louisiana will provide the Saints $12.5 million in guaranteed operating cash to assure the team's financial stability. The state also would continue what was called "an escalating inducement package" until a new or renovated stadium is functional.
In the next two weeks, Foster will appoint a committee to study whether to build a new stadium or totally renovate the team's current home, the Louisiana Superdome.
The committee will report no later than Jan, 2003.
Tom Benson, the team's owner, has been asking the state to help the Saints move from last among NFL teams in revenue to at least 18th. He also reiterated his feeling that the Saints eventually need to move out of the Superdome and into a new stadium.
GOLF: Augusta's Laura Coble shot a 74 Monday and is the first alternate for the U.S. Women's Amateur championship.
Kathi Eutzler of Atlanta was qualifying medalist in the 18-hole event at Chapel Hills Golf Club in Douglasville, Ga. The top nine finishers gained berths in the women's amateur, which will be held July 30-Aug. 4 at Flint Hills National Golf Club in Andover, Kan.
The teams of Brad Faxon and Gary Player and Tim Herron and Dudley Hart each shot a record 13-under-par 58 Monday to tie for the first-round lead at the CVS Charity Classic in Barrington, R.I.
This year's 36-hole, best-ball tournament carries a total purse of $1.1 million.
Faxon birdied the last three holes as his team finished the back nine 5 under to catch Herron and Hart.
Hart birdied last three holes as he and Herron played the back nine in 8-under 27, the lowest total for those holes recorded by any of the 10 teams.
FOOTBALL: One of Clemson's highly touted freshman receivers has failed to meet NCAA academic requirements.
Marlboro County's Tymere Zimmerman said Sunday his ACT score kept him from qualifying for the Tigers. He said he is considering going to Fork Union Military Academy in Virginia.
At least one recruiting analyst called Zimmerman the fifth best receiver in the country, right behind Clemson recruits Roscoe Crosby and Airese Currie. Zimmerman caught seven passed for 170 yards to lead all receivers in the Shrine Bowl.
Crosby and Currie, both who could play as freshmen, have qualified.
Another heralded receiver, Lamar's Derrick Higgins, also failed to qualify.
Defensive lineman Wendell Singletary of West Columbus High School in Whiteville, N.C., said Sunday he also has not qualified after receiving his latest ACT score.
The academic ineligibility of Georgetown defensive lineman Leo Reed leaves Clemson with four signees not qualified out of 29 recruits. The NCAA allows a school to bring in a maximum of 25 freshmen in one class.
BASKETBALL: Florida's national recruiting tentacles keep expanding. On Monday, Gators coach Billy Donovan received a verbal commitment from Rashid Al-Kaleem, a shooting guard from Boston.
If Al-Kaleem signs as expected in November and enrolls in 2002-03, he'll be Florida's first player from Massachusetts.
A 6-foot-4 guard, Al-Kaleem averaged 21 points last season as a junior, in leading Charlestown High to a state title. He's largely considered one of the top 100 players in the country.
The Indiana Fever's Tamika Catchings, No. 3 overall pick in this year's WNBA draft, will likely miss the remainder of the season with a right knee injury,
Catchings was already rehabbing a knee injury suffered during her senior season at Tennessee, and was hoping for a late-season WNBA debut.
The 6-1 forward injured her knee during the Fever's practice in Houston on July 5. She underwent successful surgery Monday in Indianapolis and is expected to make a full recovery.