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Ministers head drive to get suspended sentence for Tyson

A group of Indianapolis ministers said Monday it has gathered 10,000 signatures in a petition drive seeking a suspended sentence for boxer Mike Tyson on his conviction of raping an 18-year-old beauty pageant contestant. The Missionary Baptist Ministers Alliance said it wants to gather 100,000 signatures to present to Marion Superior Court Judge Patricia Gifford before Tyson's sentencing. "Simply because the case is more celebrated does not mean that the only way the victim can get a remedy is for Mike Tyson to go to jail, and have us, the taxpayers, bear the expense of incarcerating him," said state Rep. William Crawford, D-Indianapolis. Prosecutor Greg Garrison said he was "deeply troubled" by the actions. "Are they saying rape is not rape because the champ does it?" he told WTHR-TV.

SAILING: Italy's Il Moro di Venezia staged an 11-second comeback victory over France's Ville de Paris in Round 2 of the America's Cup challenger trials off San Diego. Spirit of Australia overcame a 1:03 deficit to best Challenge Australia. New Zealand breezed by Spain's Espana '92 by 4:55 and Japan's Nippon sank Sweden's Tre Kronor by 2:21. New Zealand and Nippon are tied for first with 14 points each. In the defender series, Dennis Conner's Stars & Stripes downed Defiant by 47 seconds.

SOCCER: The head of the Florida High School Activities Association (FHSAA) has laid to rest published allegations that Countryside High soccer coaches recruited a player for their 1991-92 team. Ron Davis, executive secretary of the FHSAA, said freshman defender Tondrid Campbell followed the proper steps in becoming a resident of the Countryside school zone this past fall. A story in Saturday's Tampa Tribune said a report of Campbell's alleged recruitment had been made to the FHSAA.

PRO FOOTBALL: The Professional Spring Football League's New Jersey offices were closed on Presidents Day, keeping the league in limbo. Officials said last week the PSFL would fold if it couldn't meet its payroll by Monday. On Thursday, it suspended operations. "I think by closing down for a week, the league pre-empted its Monday deadline," said Terry Bledsoe, Tampa Bay Outlaws general manager.

BOXING: WBA junior middleweight champ Vinny Pazienza said he plans to defend his title by the end of the year, despite fracturing two vertebrae in a car accident. Pazienza, 29, said his doctors had given him a "glimmer of hope" that he might box again and "that's like giving me the sun."

ET CETERA: Sprinter Gwen Torrence, who finished second to Katrin Krabbe in the 100 and 200 meters at the world championships, said she was considering an appeal to have the suspended German's gold medals awarded to her. Dallas Cowboys running back Emmitt Smith of Pensacola and quarterback Casey Weldon of FSU were named as the pro and amateur athletes of the year in the state for 1991 by the Florida Sports Writers and Florida Sportscasters associations. Jeff Tarango defeated Paul Annacone 6-7 (4-7), 6-1, 6-3 in the opening round of the U.S. Pro Indoor tennis in Philadelphia. Top seeds Michael Stich (No. 1) and Pete Sampras (No. 2) had first-round byes. Nelson Piquet, a three-time Formula One champion, said he will drive in the Indianapolis 500. Florida defensive tackle William Gaines had reconstructive surgery on his left shoulder. Gaines is expected back in August, said team physician Pete Indelicato.

TENNIS:

Jeff Tarango defeated Paul Annacone 6-7 (4-7), 6-1, 6-3 in the opening round of the $1-million U.S. Pro Indoor in Philadelphia. Top seeds Michael Stich (No. 1) and Pete Sampras (No. 2) had first-round byes. Peanut Harper scored a 6-2, 6-2 victory against Wendy Prausa in the first round of the Virginia Slims of Oklahoma.

- Compiled by Pete Couture.

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