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Softball fight may cost USF

Published April 20, 2004

TAMPA - South Florida star softball pitcher Leigh Ann Ellis could be suspended for her involvement in a melee Sunday after the Bulls' home game against Alabama-Birmingham.

Ellis and UAB sophomore outfielder Chelsea McCall were involved, representatives of both schools said. UAB coach Marla Townsend said the teams were shaking hands after the game when Ellis struck McCall on the outside of her left eye.

McCall contacted the USF Police Department, which filed battery charges. USF police said the charges would be filed with the State Attorney's Office and Ellis also would be referred to Student Affairs.

USF senior associate athletic director Barbara Sparks-McGlinchy said Monday that the athletic department was reviewing the matter and could make an announcement as soon as today regarding Ellis' status.

"We think sportsmanship is very important, and we are investigating it internally and speaking to the appropriate people," Sparks-McGlinchy said.

According to multiple witnesses, two incidents in the game precipitated the disturbance, one of which when Ellis hit McCall with a pitch. (Though witnesses from both sides say she was not hit and the umpire made an incorrect call.) Words briefly were exchanged after both plays but Townsend characterized both incidents as normal, "situations you have in just about every game."

Townsend said Ellis admitted hitting McCall, who had a visible mark near her left eye but didn't require medical attention.


EX-GEORGIA WR KILLED: Former Georgia receiver Brice Hunter was shot and killed early Sunday after an argument with a neighbor in his Chicago apartment building. Hunter had a brief NFL career, playing two seasons for the Bucs and one for the Dolphins.


SCHOLARSHIP LIMITS: The NCAA Division I Management Council voted unanimously to repeal a rule on scholarship limits and replace it with one that rewards teams for academic performance. The current rule allows schools to offer five scholarships in one year or eight in two years, but does not allow them to replace scholarship players who become academically ineligible. The proposals must be approved by the board of directors before they can be put into effect.

ARKANSAS: It extended coach Stan Heath's contract an additional year. The five-year deal ends April 30, 2009.

USF: Jessica Dickson and Anedra Gilmore were named offensive and defensive player of the year, respectively, at the women's awards banquet. Dickson averaged 18.6 points and set a C-USA freshman scoring record. Gilmore, a junior, averaged 2.6 steals.


USF AD: The school received six more applications for its athletic director opening, including Gothard Lane, former AD at St. Bonaventure, and Kevin Sullivan, vice president for communications, NBC Sports. The job has drawn 31 applicants.

BASEBALL: Billy Wimberly's two-run single capped a four-run fifth to lead visiting Tampa (34-12, 12-6 SSC) to an 8-1 victory over Eckerd (17-26, 5-11).

SOFTBALL: Heather Gamlin gave up one hit in six innings to lead Saint Leo (33-18, 8-10 SSC) to a 3-0 win over Eckerd (11-32, 0-18).

GOLF: The USF women were tied for the lead after one round at the C-USA tournament in Fort Worth, Texas. USF and Tulane shot 30-over 318, seven shots better than host TCU. Daniella Ronderos (77) led USF; she was tied for third, four strokes behind UAB's Brooke Mangan. ... The TCU men led by 11 after one round at the C-USA men's tourney at Lake Jovita Golf & Country Club, with USF tied for seventh at 305, 19 strokes back. Brad Quiri (73, tied for fifth) led the Bulls.

- Information from Times wires contributed to this report.

[Last modified April 20, 2004, 01:20:37]


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