LeBron James reinstated
AKRON, Ohio, Feb. 5 (UPI) -- LeBron James, considered the best high school basketball player in the nation, will not have to sit out the balance of his senior campaign after all.
On Wednesday, a judge ordered the Ohio State Athletic Association to restore James' eligibility after he serves a two-game suspension. The OHSAA ruled last Friday that James had violated amateur bylaws when he accepted clothing with a value of about $850 as a gift from a store in the Cleveland area.
James appealed the decision on Tuesday, and Summit County Common Pleas Judge James Williams ruled that the suspension will include a game that James missed on Sunday.
His school, Saint Vincent-Saint Mary, has until Thursday to tell the judge what other game James will miss.
"LeBron admitted his mistake, but he did not commit a crime," said Fred Nance, James' attorney. "He did not hurt anyone."
Williams granted a temporary restraining order which allows James to play, and scheduled a hearing for Feb. 19 in which he will decide whether to grant a permanent injunction or go to trial.
OHSAA Commissioner Clair Muscaro issued his ruling because rules forbid athletes from receiving any kind of apparel worth more than $100.
According to various reports, the merchandise was a pair of "throwback" jerseys. One was of Chicago Bears Hall of Famer Gale Sayers, and the other was of former Washington Bullets center Wes Unseld.
St. Vincent-St. Mary has four regular season games remaining in its season, plus playoffs, and is slated to play in a game Saturday in Trenton, N.J.
James also is scheduled to play in the EA Sports Roundball Classic at the United Center in Chicago on March 31. That contest is run by well-known hoops guru Sonny Vaccaro, who also works for adidas, which is in a battle with fellow sneaker and apparel giant Nike for James' services. There have been reports that James would receive $25 million for his first deal with an apparel company.
The OHSAA ruled early last week James did not violate any state bylaws by accepting a Hummer H2 vehicle, which has a base retail price of $50,000, from his mother, which she said was a present for his 18th birthday.
James' mother, Gloria, said she obtained a bank loan to buy the SUV, even though she is unemployed, and provided financial information to the OHSAA for its investigation.
James already has said he is not going to college, and hoops analysts think he will be the No. 1 pick in this year's NBA draft.
Bobbitt quits Cincinnati hoops
CINCINNATI, Feb. 5 (UPI) -- After failing to appear at practices the last two days, guard Tony Bobbitt quit the men's basketball team at Cincinnati.
The school gave no reason for the departure, but said that Bobbitt remains enrolled in school.
"He quit," Coach Bob Huggins told the Cincinnati Post Tuesday evening. "He's told one person one thing; another person another thing; another person another thing."
Also, a source told the paper that Bobbitt, who sustained a sprained ankle Jan. 11 at TCU, was unhappy with his limited playing time.
"He's angry about something, and he's just not talking about it," his stepfather, John Albright, told the paper from Daytona Beach, Fla. "I don't know what happened. He's a little confused. I hope he gets his head together. I wish that he could get it worked out."
Bobbitt, a junior who transferred from the College of Southern Idaho this season, averaged 7.2 points and 1.8 rebounds, and appeared in all but one of the Bearcats' 18 games. He scored 29 points in a win over Oregon in December.
The Daytona Beach native earned junior college All-America honors last season, and was ranked second nationally in steals.
Cincinnati (13-5) visits No. 6 Louisville on Wednesday night, and Bobbitt did not make the trip.
Contract extension for Hasselbeck
SEATTLE, Feb. 5 (UPI) -- Veteran Seattle quarterback Matt Hasselbeck has gotten two more years with the team.
Late Tuesday, the Seahawks decided to exercise their two-year option on Hasselbeck, who stands to make $10.5 million in the deal.
Hasselbeck, 27, became the Seahawks' starting signal-caller late in the 2002 season when Trent Dilfer suffered a torn Achilles tendon in the game Oct. 27 at Dallas. Until that time, he was the No. 1 backup, having lost the starter's job because of his inconsistency in the preseason.
The Seattle Post-Intelligencer reported Wednesday that the club option was included in the five-year deal Hasselbeck signed before the start of the 2001 season, and erases the final three years of the original contract. The option payout was tied to where he ranked among NFL leaders in passer rating, completion percentage, or touchdown passes in 2002.
By finishing fifth in completion percentage (.637), the club's options were for a one-year, $4.5 million deal; the two-year, $10.5 contract; or a three-year, $18.5 million package that would have included a $5 million signing bonus.
"I'm excited for the opportunity to grow and improve with this young team," said Hasselbeck, who joined the Seahawks via trade in 2001.
The four-year veteran started just 10 games in 2002, but enjoyed one of the most efficient seasons in team history. Over the final six games, Hasselbeck posted a 92.4 passer rating averaging an NFL-best 343.7 passing yards over that span.
He set single-season franchise records by passing for at least 300 yards in a game four times, 400 yards twice, and broke single-game marks for passes attempted (55); completed (36); and passing yards in a game (449 at San Diego, 12/29).
For the season, he completed 267-of-419 passes for 3,075 yards, with 15 touchdowns and 10 interceptions. He led the NFC with a 63.7 completion percentage, and was second with an 87.8 passer rating.
USOC chief steps down
COLORADO SPRINGS, Colo., Feb. 5 (UPI) -- Marty Mankamyer resigned late Tuesday as president of the United States Olympic Committee in the wake of reports of new conflict of interest allegations.
Mankamyer stepped down after just six months on the job and was facing a no-confidence at a USOC board meeting scheduled for Saturday in Chicago.
The Denver Post reported Tuesday that she had demanded a commission on a piece of property sold through a real estate agent last year to Lloyd Ward, the committee's chief executive.
"Because there appeared to be no possibility for peace until I stepped aside, and with the thought that my actions could make positive difference for an organization to which I have devoted almost 20 years, I have decided to resign," said Mankamyer, who works as a real estate agent. "I wish the USOC the very best for the future."
Several members of the USOC executive committee previously claimed that Mankamyer inflated ethics charges against Ward in an attempt to oust him. The controversy stemmed from allegations that Ward directed USOC staff to try to steer business toward his brother's company.
The departure of the Mankamyer, 69, comes a week after USOC officials were asked to appear before a Senate Commerce Committee in Washington to discuss the future of the organization.
Mankamyer's predecessor, Sandy Baldwin, left her post in April after she admitted lying about her academic credentials.
Flyers send McAllister to Colorado
PHILADELPHIA, Feb. 5 (UPI) -- The Philadelphia Flyers Wednesday traded seldom-used defenseman Chris McAllister to the Colorado Avalanche for a sixth-round pick in the June draft.
They also acquired left wing Todd Warriner from the Vancouver Canucks for future considerations.
McAllister, 27, was scoreless with 21 penalty minutes in 19 games for the Flyers this season.
"McAllister was not playing for us," said Flyers General Manager Bob
Clarke. "With the development of Jim Vandermeer, Chris went from our sixth or seventh defenseman to our seventh or eighth defenseman. "To keep him sitting without playing wasn't any good for Chris and certainly wasn't any good for us. For the good of the team and for the good of Chris, we thought that we would send him somewhere where he can play."
McAllister also was scoreless with 12 penalty minutes in four games for the Philadelphia Phantoms, the Flyers' American Hockey League affiliate. He posted nine points and 258 penalty minutes in 121 regular season games for the Flyers over the last three seasons. He was acquired by the Flyers in a trade with Toronto on Sept. 26, 2000.
McAllister also has played for Vancouver, and has four goals, 15 assists, and 534 penalty minutes in 241 regular season games.
Warriner, 29, has four goals, six assists, and 22 penalty minutes in 30 games this season. He was a healthy scratch in Tuesday's 3-2 win at Pittsburgh.
Warriner has 63 goals and 85 assists in 434 career games with Toronto, Tampa Bay, and Vancouver.
The Flyers are trying to fortify themselves for a playoff push.
Despite being without left wing John LeClair since November, Philadelphia (28-14-8-2) is just five points behind New Jersey for the lead in the Atlanta Division. LeClair had surgery to repair a torn labrum and is expected to be out until April.