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Illinois athletics

   Taylor sparkles in loss. Sherry Taylor allowed three hits and struck out six, but Illinois lost 2-0 against No. 23 Minnesota in their Big Ten Conference opener Friday night in North Mankato, Minn.

   The game was moved 60 miles southwest of Minneapolis after the Gophers'' field remained unplayable because of icy conditions earlier in the week.

Tate: At Michigan, money talk fills volumes

   It is ridiculous to erase records of games. - But there it is, at the end of the Clem Haskins era, a black hole where Minnesota basketball records should be, 0-0 records and no scores for six seasons ending in 1999.

   This is the NCAA''s way of punishing the Gophers for a glaring academic scandal. Some of this is almost laughable. The 1997 Big Ten standings appear in the conference guide with the order unchanged, Minnesota on top with a 0-0 record. And the NCAA record book vacates Minnesota in the1997 brackets, meaning that SW Texas State, Temple, Clemson and UCLA were eliminated by a phantom opponent.

Bears won''t disrupt UI football schedule

   CHAMPAIGN  It might be a bit congested near Memorial Stadium on four Sundays in the fall. But Ron Turner said his team still plans to practice.

   Turner was pleased to find out the Chicago Bears have four Sunday home games during the Illinois season.

Bears, C-U primed for prime time

   CHAMPAIGN  John Madden. The Maddencruiser. Al Michaels. Monday Night Football.

   Coming to a stadium near you ... on Oct. 7.

Asmussen: Fans can´t get enough TV baseball

   Folks in Champaign-Urbana with cable television can watch 583 major league baseball games this summer. That''s an average of more than three games a day. So much for working on the yard.

   The two biggest contributors are Fox Sports Chicago (172 games) and ESPN (160).

Illinois golf

   Carroll paces Illini.

   Sophomore Michelle Carroll carded a 5-over-par 77 to lead Illinois in the first round of the Baylor-Tapatio Springs Shootout on Thursday in Boerne, Texas.

UI baseball and tennis

   Illini add game. Illinois and Western Michigan will play a doubleheader Tuesday, rather than a single game, to help offset a series of weather-related cancellations.

Self''s not ready to hit the road

   CHAMPAIGN  Bill Self was on the road to Springfield, a coaching friend on his cellphone, a reporter beeping in on the other line.

   It was that kind of Wednesday for the man who today still is the Illinois basketball coach (despite what you might have heard), a day when broadcast reports had him mulling an offer to become the new basketball coach at Arkansas.

Illini begin quarterback competition

   CHAMPAIGN  The cameras and tape recorders moved from red jersey to red jersey Wednesday. First, Jon Beutjer. Next, Dustin Ward. Then, Mark Kornfeld.

   It was the first day of the Illinois quarterback derby. The winner of the three-player race gets to take over the defending Big Ten champions and replace one of the best in school history, Kurt Kittner.

UI punter overcomes rare illness

   CHAMPAIGN  He is as big as ever. And stronger.

   Hard to believe it is the same Matt Minnes. The guy who almost lost his life to a rare illness last summer.