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Steinbrenner Denied Minnesota Racing License

George Steinbrenner was denied an owner’s license by Minnesota thoroughbred racing officials Friday because he made illegal political contributions to President Richard Nixon.

Dave Freeman, deputy racing commission director, said Steinbrenner’s request for an owner’s license at Canterbury Downs, Minnesota’s first pari-mutuel horse racing track, was turned down because state racing laws require a participant to sign a form saying he has never been convicted of a felony.

The New York Yankees owner was not able to sign the form because he was convicted of making illegal contributions during the Watergate era and was suspended by baseball Commissioner Bowie Kuhn for 15 months.

Freeman said: “Minnesota law is tougher than in other states and doesn’t differentiate what type of felony you were convicted of at one time. If you can’t sign the form, we can’t give you a license.”

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Steinbrenner’s wife, Joan, has an owner’s license, but Freeman said the commission has rules prohibiting a licensed owner from running another person’s horses.

Lee MacPhail, president of the Player Relations Committee, said after a negotiating session in New York that he expects the major league baseball negotiations to move forward now that the players’ union has said it has almost completed inspection of the owners’ financial records.

Faced with the possibility of either a strike or a boycott of the July 16 All-Star game at Minneapolis, the two sides agreed to meet again next Friday.

British Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher personally expressed to Italian Premier Bettino Craxi her “grief and concern” over rioting at a soccer game in Brussels last month. Thirty-eight persons were killed.

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Mrs. Thatcher also confirmed Britain’s plan to give a total of $325,000 to relatives of the 31 Italians who died at the European Cup final. As a first step, a check for more than $6,000 is to be distributed to each family that lost a member in the riot.

Rod Scurry, a pitcher for the Pittsburgh Pirates, was suspended for missing a game Sunday and failing to follow an after-care program for a drug abuse problem. Pirate General Manager Joe L. Brown said Scurry had been placed on a rehabilitation list and was expected to return “in the near future.”

Arvidas-Romas Sabonis, a 7-2 center from the Soviet Union, said he didn’t know anything about being selected by the Atlanta Hawks in the National Basketball Assn. draft.

Sabonis was speaking at a news conference before the opening of the Kirin World Basketball ’85 tournament in Tokyo.

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The Soviet team meets the Netherlands in the second game today. Japan’s national team takes on Indiana University, coached by Bob Knight, in the first game of the four-team tournament.

Mario Andretti averaged 98.543 m.p.h. in qualifying for the U.S. Grand Prix at the Meadowlands in East Rutherford, N. J. The pole position and the 24-car grid will not be set until after another 60 minutes of qualifying is completed today.

Baylor University’s basketball program is, apparently, under NCAA scrutiny. The Dallas Times Herald reported that the NCAA’s probe stems in part from Baylor’s in-house investigation that led to Coach Jim Haller’s resignation Feb. 22.

“It’s fair to say an investigation is under way,” Herbert Reynolds, Baylor president, said. Officials at the school said they hope the NCAA will complete its work before the tougher enforcement policy, adopted last week, goes into effect Sept. 1.

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Mark Olensky, identified as one of the early planners of a basketball point-shaving scheme at Tulane, pleaded guilty to two conspiracy counts in an agreement to testify for the prosecution. In return, prosecutors dropped 11 other conspiracy and sports bribery charges against Olensky, 21, of Fair Lawn, N. J.

Bill Morris, owner of the Las Vegas Americans indoor soccer team, said there is a “50-50 chance” the team will move or disband before next season because of financial problems.

The United States Football League, which said last week that the matchups for the second round of its playoffs would be based on attendance rather than records in order to maximize revenue, announced that top-seeded Oakland, if it wins its game Sunday, will go on the road no matter which team is the opponent. The Oakland Coliseum is being used next weekend by the Oakland A’s.

Continental Basketball Assn. owners voted to award an expansion team to Kansas City businessman Bernard Glannon. Glannon, who will call his team the Sizzlers, believes they will average about 4,000 fans a game, just 1,500 fewer than the average attendance of the Kansas City Kings of the National Basketball Assn. The Kings moved from Kansas City to Sacramento after last season.

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Names in the News

Keith Taylor, 20, a University of Illinois football player, remained hospitalized in fair condition after he was struck by a dump truck while working as a flagman on a construction job.

Bernard Toone, former Marquette University basketball star, was sentenced to three years probation and 100 hours community service for unauthorized use of a motor vehicle.

General Manager Bob Pulford, who filled two jobs last season after taking over coaching duties of the Chicago Black Hawks, said that he would be a “co-coach” next season, sharing the job with Roger Neilson, who was elevated from an assistant’s job last season.

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