Sports In Brief - July 12, 2007

RALEIGH, N.C. -- Former Duke lacrosse player Collin Finnerty, cleared of false rape charges after being sidelined from the sport for more than a year, will transfer to Loyola of Maryland and play for the Greyhounds next season.

"I am excited to be returning to school and look forward to finishing my college career at Loyola," Finnerty said in a statement.

Finnerty and fellow players Reade Seligmann and Dave Evans were indicted last spring on charges of rape, kidnapping and sexual offense after a woman told police she was attacked by three men at a March 2006 team party where she was hired to perform as a stripper.

But the case steadily unraveled over the next year, and the state prosecutors who eventually took over the case from the local district attorney dropped all charges. In doing so, North Carolina Attorney General Roy Cooper declared the trio innocent victims of a "tragic rush to accuse."

• Florida State athletic director David Hart Jr. won't have his contract renewed when it expires in 18 months.

The Seminoles' AD since 1995, Hart was informed of the decision in a two-paragraph letter from school president T.K. Wetherell. The two met Wednesday for the first time on the issue.

• MLB -- Major League Baseball's union is fighting to keep secret up to 23 players named as customers by an admitted steroids dealer, according to recent court filings.

A federal judge in Long Island ruled that the MLB Players Association can formally join with the U.S. Department of Justice in opposing two newspapers' demands that the players' names be made public. The names appeared in a search warrant used by federal investigators to raid Kirk Radomski's house in 2005.

Radomski, a former New York Mets clubhouse worker, pleaded guilty in April to two felony steroids distribution charges.

• PRO TENNIS -- The men's and women's singles champions will get a record $1.4 million apiece at this year's U.S. Open and the total prize money will top $19 million for the first time.

The overall payout of $19.6 million is $1 million more than in 2006, the largest single-year jump in U.S. Open history, the U.S. Tennis Association announced .

The paycheck for last year's singles champions was $1.2 million.

The total prize money could eventually top $22 million, because the top three men and women in the summer circuit U.S. Open Series will receive bonuses: $1 million for first place in the series, up to $500,000 for second and up to $250,000 for third.

So the No. 1 performers in the US Open Series will earn $2.4 million if they win the Aug. 27-Sept. 9 hard-court Grand Slam tournament.

• Serena Williams is pulling out of the United States' Fed Cup semifinal against Russia at Stowe, Vt., this weekend because she injured herself during Wimbledon.

The eight-time Grand Slam singles champion will be replaced on the U.S. roster by Meilen Tu, who flew to Vermontto join the rest of the squad, a person at the U.S. Tennis Association told the AP.

The person spoke on condition of anonymity because Williams' withdrawal and replacement by Tu were not going to be announced formally until today. The draw for the best-of-five semifinal is Friday, with matches Saturday and Sunday.

The matchup already lost some luster when two-time major champion Maria Sharapova, who is No. 2 in the rankings, withdrew from Russia's roster because of a right shoulder injury that's bothered her for months. Russian media reported that 2004 U.S. Open champion Svetlana Kuznetsova would pull out, too.

• NASCAR -- Craftsman Truck Series driver Aaron Fike and his fiancee, Cassandra Davidson, a crew member, were suspended indefinitely Wednesday from NASCAR competition after being arrested over the weekend on drug charges.

NASCAR issued the suspensions under the rule prohibiting actions detrimental to stock car racing.

The two were arrested Saturday in the parking lot of Kings Island amusement park north of Cincinnati after security officers observed suspicious activity in Fike's sport utility vehicle and found syringes and a brown substance believed to be heroin, police said.

Both were charged with drug abuse, a felony, and possession of drug paraphernalia, a misdemeanor.

Fike drove the No. 1 Toyota Tundra for Red Horse Racing and was eighth in the point standings.