SOUTH BEND, Ind., Nov. 30 (UPI) -- A newspaper that covers Notre Dame athletics reported today that coach Bob Davie would be fired after the Fighting Irish's game Saturday against Purdue, a report Davie promptly denied.
Blue and Gold Illustrated said Davie would be dismissed and that there already is a list of candidates to replace him that includes Oklahoma's Bob Stoops and NFL coaches Jon Gruden of the Oakland Raiders and Tom Coughlin of the Jacksonville Jaguars.
Davie appeared in a television interview, however, and said the report is erroneous.
"It's the first I've heard of it," he said. "It's not true. I believe in Notre Dame and its integrity and honesty. It might happen somewhere else, but not here. It's the first time I've been confronted with it. That story is not true."
At 4-6, the Fighting Irish will not be competing in a bowl for the second time in five seasons under Davie. They also missed the postseason in 1999 and were embarrassed in last season's Fiesta Bowl by Oregon State, 41-9.
Pat Perez leads Qualifying Tournament
WEST PALM BEACH, Fla., Nov. 30 (UPI) -- Pat Perez, who finished 32nd on the Buy.com Tour money list this year, made two eagles today and shot the low round of the week, a 9-under 63, that put him in the lead halfway through the six-round PGA Tour Qualifying Tournament.
Gary Nicklaus and former amateur star Luke Donald also made big moves Friday at the Bear Creek Country Club.
The low 35 players and ties from the 167-man field will earn playing privliges on the 2002 tour.
Perez put himself in excellent position to grab one of those spots by reaching 18-under 198 for 54 holes. He had a two-shot lead over tour veteran Tommy Armour III, who got to 200 by firing a 67.
Tied for third at 202 were Ben Crane, Kevin Durkin and second-round leader Hidemichi Tanaka, who shot a 70 Friday.
Nicklaus, who failed to earn enough money in 2001 to keep his tour card and was forced to re-enter the grueling qualifying event, moved into a tie for seventh at 204 by firing a 65. Nicklaus began the day tied for 33rd.
Former tour winners Blaine McCallister and Robert Gamez were among the large group tied for 12th at 205.
Donald, from England, turned pro this year after the Walker Cup matches and he opened the tournament with two rounds of 71. But he shot a 65 Friday that vaulted him from a tie for 73rd to a tie for 26th at 207.
Davis Cup Finals tied at 1-1
MELBOURNE, Nov. 30 (UPI) -- Cedric Pioline and Fabrice Santoro of France will take on Australia's Todd Woodbridge and Wayne Arthurs in Saturday's key doubles match that could wind up being the deciding factor in the Davis Cup Finals.
France and Australia split their singles matches today with Nicolas Escude pulling off an upset against world No. 1 Lleyton Hewitt and Patrick Rafter coming up with a critical victory over Sebastien Grosjean.
French captain Guy Forget said he might pull a switch in the doubles lineup before Saturday's match. Hewitt has said he will be available to play in the doubles if needed.
Hurricanes seek spot in title game
BLACKSBURG, Va., Nov. 30 (UPI) -- The top-ranked Miami Hurricanes can wrap up a spot in the national championship game Saturday if they can get past No. 13 Virginia Tech.
That game is one in a series of contests that could impact the NCAA title chase as teams battle for one of the top two spots in the Bowl Championship Series rankings. The top two teams in the BCS will play for the national crown on Jan. 3 in the Rose Bowl.
No. 2 Florida will host Tennessee while No. 3 Texas will meet Colorado in the championship game of the Big 12 Conference.
Miami will put its unbeaten season and a 20-game winning streak on the line against Virginia Tech.
Contraction court case slowed
ST. PAUL, Minn., Nov. 30 (UPI) -- The Minnesota Supreme Court refused today to hear an immediate appeal on a county court's decision that would force the Minnesota Twins to play its games in the Metrodome next season, but did urge the state's Court of Appeals to expedite the case.
Justices on the Supreme Court said attorneys for baseball, "have not demonstrated that this case requires the extraordinary procedure of immediate determination."
Hennepin Country District Judge Harry Crump issued a temporary injunction on Nov. 16, ordering the Twins to compete in 2002 and barring any person or organization from trying to stop them.
That order is one of the major obstacles that stands in the way of baseball reducing its number of teams, which commissioner Bud Selig has said it will do. Although Selig has not announced which teams will be disbanded, it has been widely reported that Minnesota and Montreal are the top candidates.
The normal span of time for the Court of Appeals to hear a case is about six to eight months. Baseball's spring training is less than three months away.
Dozen Air Force players suspended
COLORADO SPRINGS, Colo., Nov. 30 (UPI) -- Saturday's game against Utah may be Senior Day for Air Force, but for a dozen members of the football team, ceremonies are all that will take place.
Air Force coach Fisher DeBerry suspended 12 members of the team today for violating team rules when the squad was in Honolulu playing Hawaii last week. Among the 12 players punished were five seniors, who will be allowed to take part in pregame festivities but not in the game.
"We had some kids that violated our curfew policy and we've always had a rule in Falcon football that the team comes first," DeBerry said. "These young men put themselves first and we cannot and will not tolerate that."
Kostner wins second straight downhill
LAKE LOUISE, Alberta, Nov. 30 (UPI) -- Italy's Isolde Kostner continued her domination in the Canadian Rockies today, blitzing to victory in a World Cup downhill to open the season with back-to-back wins.
Kostner, who opened defense of her World Cup downhill crown by winning the first race of the doubleheader Thursday, charged to victory on the 2,741-meter Olympic course in 1 minute, 38.13 seconds.
In the last seven downhills staged at this Canadian resort, Kostner has finished no worse than second, winning for times.
Switzerland's Sylviane Berthod was second in 1:38.19 while downhill world champion Michaela Dorfmeister of Austria was third in 1:38.35.
After crashing out within sight of the finish line Thursday, Canada's Melanie Turgeon delighted the home supporters, taking fourth in 1:38.36. American Picabo Street was fifth in 1:38.64 after finishing sixth on Thursday.
Suspended game will not be made up
CHARLOTTESVILLE, Va., Nov. 30 (UPI) -- The basketball game between Virginia and Michigan State that was suspended Wednesday night because of a slippery court was cancelled today.
The game at Richmond Coliseum was stopped with 15:04 left after several players slipped on the neutral court, which was placed above an ice surface used by the Renegades of the East Coast Hockey League.
Part of the ACC/Big Ten Challenge, the contest will not be completed or replayed. Eighth-ranked Virginia was leading 17th-ranked Michigan State when the game was stopped, 31-28.
World Cup draw set for Saturday
PUSAN, South Korea, Nov. 30 (UPI) -- The draw for the 2002 World Cup will be held Saturday and on the eve of the much-anticipated ceremony, soccer's governing body made the surprise announcement that the defending champion will no longer be exempt from qualifying.
After more than 700 matches in a two-year qualifying process around the world, the last of the 32 teams that will compete for soccer's top prize was decided on Sunday when Uruguay bested Australia.
The 32 nations will be drawn into eight groups of four at the traditional ceremony Saturday with the eight top seeds having already been announced. They are defending champion France, co-hosts Japan and South Korea, Italy, Spain, Germany, Brazil and Argentina.
At the conclusion of the draw, each team will know its opposition and the time and place for each of its three preliminary matches. The top two from each of the eight groups will advance to the knockout phase of the competition.
The World Cup will begin May 31 in Seoul with the championship match taking place June 30 in Yokohama.