Sports briefs 9/21/05

Wednesday, September 21, 2005

Basketball

* With the city's famous skyline as a backdrop, Chicago's WNBA franchise announced Tuesday the new team will be called the Sky, with light blue and yellow as its colors.

The team has been without a moniker since February, when the league awarded real estate developer Michael Alter an expansion franchise to begin play next year.

College

* A former assistant basketball coach at Barton County Community College has pleaded guilty to fraud and embezzlement charges, the latest development in an investigation that has snarled three coaches in federal indictments and led to the firing of the school's president.

Matt Skillman pleaded guilty Monday to one count of embezzlement for falsifying timecards so players could receive money from the federal work-study program without doing any work. Skillman also pleaded guilty to one count of mail fraud.

In his guilty plea, Skillman admitted that on numerous occasions he completed academic work on behalf of student athletes so that they could obtain associate degrees they were not entitled to receive, according to the U.S. attorney's office.

The fraud charge stemmed from the mailing of a falsified academic transcript for basketball player Randy Pulley from the western Kansas junior college to the University of Missouri in Columbia.

Sentencing was set for Dec. 5 before Judge Wesley E. Brown.

* The Sugar Bowl will be played in either Baton Rouge, La., or Atlanta after being forced out of the Superdome in New Orleans by the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina.

Sugar Bowl officials said Tuesday they will know in about three weeks whether Louisiana has recovered sufficiently to keep the game in the state where it has been played every year since it was established in 1935.

Motorsports

* NASCAR points leader Tony Stewart crashed during a test session at Lowe's Motor Speedway on Tuesday, raising serious questions about the track surface.

Stewart crashed his Chevrolet after running just a handful of laps, then ended his session because of a headache. He met briefly with track president Humpy Wheeler before heading home.

Also wrecking during the test session were Greg Biffle, who is second in the points and had his accident with just over an hour left of track time, and Mike Bliss and Boris Said. None of the drivers were injured.

-- From wire reports

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