ING Groep NV, the Netherlands' largest financial services company, will award $1-million in 2005 to the top marathon runner in its new world rankings. The company said men and women would be grouped together and will be rated on their best three performances in elite races over a two-year period starting with the Tokyo International Women's Marathon on Nov. 16 and ending with the 2005 New York City Marathon. Strength of competition and comparisons to world records and course records will be considered. Track and field's world governing body, the International Association of Athletics Federations, said it wasn't consulted about the ranking system and will stage its own qualifying for the Olympics and World Championships.
A television first
Nine NCAA championships will be broadcast live for the first time following an agreement between College Sports Television and CBS Sports, which owns TV rights to 67 NCAA championships. The sports are Division I women's ice hockey, Divisions II and III men's lacrosse, Divisions I, II and III women's lacrosse, Division I field hockey and men's and women's water polo. The agreement takes effect with the field hockey championships on Nov. 23.
BASKETBALL: The NCAA will not investigate claims by a former Arkansas player that boosters gave him $10,000 and that he didn't attend classes, university general counsel Scott Varady said. He said the NCAA believes the allegations fall outside the statute of limitations of four years.
VOLLEYBALL: Cassie McLaughlin was named Atlantic Coast Conference co-player of the week after leading FSU to three victories. Tampa's Ania Ruiz won the Sunshine State Conference honor by sparking two wins.
SOCCER: Saint Leo women's forward Casie Poyssick and men's goalie Matias Perez were named Sunshine State Conference players of the week.
Worldwide truce sought
The U.N. General Assembly is calling for a worldwide truce during next summer's Athens Games. Foreign Minister George Papandreou of Greece, which sponsored the Olympic Truce resolution, said the fact the 190 other nations in the world body signed as co-sponsors showed "unprecedented" support for peace _ not just during the 16 days of the Athens Games, but "hopefully beyond."
ARENA FOOTBALL: The Tampa Bay Storm signed free agent Ian Howfield, the most consistent of its six kickers last season. Howfield made 38 of 50 extra points and 7 of 11 field goals in seven games with Tampa Bay, including a winning 23-yarder in a 58-56 victory over Grand Rapids.
GOLF: Darren Clarke pulled out of this week's Seve Trophy in Europe to play instead at the season-ending Tour Championship in Houston. He qualified as one of the top 30 money earners on the PGA Tour. The Seve Trophy pits a team from the United Kingdom and Ireland against the rest of Europe in a Ryder Cup-style competition.
EPHEDRA BAN: New York became the third state to ban the over-the-counter herbal supplement linked to several deaths, including that of Baltimore Orioles pitcher Steve Bechler. The law includes a fine of up to $500 for each sale and takes effect immediately. Prescription sales are not affected. Illinois was the first to ban ephedra sales; a California ban begins in January.
VOLLEYBALL: The United States defeated Italy 25-22, 25-22, 25-19 to improve to 3-0 at the 12-team Women's World Cup in Tokyo. The top three teams qualify for next year's Athens Olympics.
HORSES: Former Breeders' Cup Juvenile Fillies champion Cash Run was sold for a record $7.1-million on the first day of Keeneland's November Breeding Stock Sale in Lexington, Ky.
_ FRANK PASTOR, TIMES WIRES