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Citrus Bowl expected to host Florida Classic

Florida Citrus Sports officials will convene a news conference Wednesday in Orlando to announce the location and date of the 1997 Florida Classic.

The association is expected to announce a one-year deal with Florida A&M and Bethune-Cookman to host the game.

The classic had been played in Tampa for 17 years, but after going through a lengthy bidding process with Tampa and Jacksonville, the schools rejected the offers of both March 4. It had hoped to get a $400,000 guarantee, but neither city offered that much.

Florida Citrus Sports needs to fulfill the third year of a three-year deal with Coors Light to stage a game between Florida A&M and another opponent. It had hoped to convince Hampton to move its game with FAMU to the Citrus Bowl, but that possibility fell through last month.

If the agreement is only for one year, the game could return to Tampa or go elsewhere in subsequent years.

AUTO RACING: If NASCAR truck series driver John Nemechek survives, it will be months before physicians know the extent of his inoperable head injuries, doctors said. Nemechek was on life support at Jackson Memorial Hospital in Miami after suffering a "severe brain hemorrhage" in a crash Sunday at the Florida Dodge Dealers 400 in Homestead. The brain injury is inoperable, said Dr. Phillip Villanueva, director of the hospital's neuro-trauma team. "The injury would be described as an 8{ on a scale of one to 10," he said. Villanueva said medication and brain cooling were being used to protect Nemechek from further brain damage. Nemechek was hurt when his truck hit the wall in Turn 1 on the 144th lap at the 1.57-mile track. Jay Sauter, who sustained a concussion in a wreck on the 157th lap, was in good condition. Former Ferrari driver Michele Alboreto said in court in Imola, Italy, that a mechanical failure caused Ayrton Senna's fatal crash during the 1994 San Marino Grand Prix. Alboreto, the second driver to testify in the trial of six top Formula One officials charged with manslaughter in the death of the three-time world champion, made his statement after studying the footage of the accident. Dragster driver Keith Stark was released from a Gainesville hospital eight days after being injured in a crash at the NHRA Mac Tools Gatornationals. Stark, 42, was released from Shands at the University of Florida, where he had surgery on his injured left hand and was treated for injuries to his right forearm. Top Fuel driver Marshall Topping, hurt in a separate accident, remained in good condition at Shands with multiple fractures. Funny Car driver Al Hofmann, also hurt in a crash at the Gatornationals, was released Wednesday.

MORE COLLEGE FOOTBALL: Florida State redshirt freshman Kwaesi Palmer reinjured his left knee during the Seminoles' first spring practice and is expected to miss the rest of spring drills. Trainer Randy Oravetz said the injury, to the knee Palmer had surgery on last season, involved ligaments and might be serious. A Virginia Tech track athlete testified that he was chased and beaten by a pack of football players and suffered a broken collarbone when a wide receiver hit him with a cane. But in the first trial of a football player in the case, Montgomery County Circuit Judge Ray Grubbs dismissed the attempted malicious wounding charge against receiver Angelo Harrison. Three football players testified that Harrison was not involved in the beating of sprinter Hilliard Sumner, and three prosecution witnesses said it was too dark to identify who took part in the Aug.

31 attack. Harrison's attorney, Marc Long, said Harrison will return to the team and play this fall.

COLLEGE BASEBALL: Jason Linkes and Matt Gifford each had two hits and two RBI to lead host Saint Leo to a 10-2 victory over Framingham (Mass.) State. Jason Liggins allowed seven hits and two runs while striking out four for the complete-game win. In an evening game, Army catcher Drew Hicks went 4-for-5 with an RBI as Saint Leo (21-4) fell 9-1. It was the first win for Army (1-4) and the first home loss for Saint Leo.

COLLEGE TENNIS: The No.

1-ranked Florida women (16-0, 6-0 SEC) extended their school-record streak to 47 victories, defeating No.

20 Tennessee (8-7, 4-2) 8-1 in Gainesville. Senior Divya Merchant won her 143rd singles match, moving within three wins of becoming Florida's all-time leader.

BOWLING: Gary Dickinson, a two-time PBA Senior Player of the Year, rode a 279 game into a 17-pin lead over Dale Eagle after the first round of the Showboat Vermont PBT Senior Classic at Yankee Lanes in Burlington. Dickinson, who has won eight times on the regular tour and six times on the senior tour, averaged 232.44 for the nine-game block.

PARIMUTUELS: Beginning tonight, Derby Lane in St. Petersburg will simulcast harness racing from the Meadowlands. Derby Lane will not simulcast thoroughbreds at night, but will continue to simulcast thoroughbreds during Thursday, Saturday and Sunday matinees.

_ ERNEST HOOPER, TIMES WIRES

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