USC stadium won't be ready until 2009

COLUMBIA -- South Carolina's new baseball stadium grew much more expensive -- more than triple its original expected cost -- and had its debut pushed back until 2009 on Friday.

A panel of the university's board of trustees approved increasing the project's budget to $35.6 million -- more than three times the original cost. The panel also was told the stadium would not open for two more seasons, sending the baseball team back to crumbling Sarge Frye Field for one more year.

The university's vice president and chief financial officer, Rick Kelly, said several setbacks and a drastic rise in construction costs the past three years caused the increase.

When the university first announced its plans three years ago, the new field was to build next to the Colonial Center, where school's basketball teams play, at a cost of $10 million. In late 2005, university trustees approved plans for a 6,800-seat stadium nearer the Congaree River with a $20 million price tag.

• TRACK AND FIELD -- Meseret Defar set a world record in the women's 2-mile at the Van Damme Memorial meet, smashing her own mark by almost 12 seconds.

The Ethiopian finished in 8 minutes, 58.58 seconds, shaving 11.89 seconds off the 9:10.47 mark she set in May at Carson, Calif.

Defar already has set two world records -- in the 5,000 outdoor and the 3,000 indoor -- early in the season. And last month she won the 5,000 at the world championships in Osaka, Japan.

• CYCLING -- Arbitrators in the Floyd Landis doping hearing met for the final time this week and declared the hearing officially closed, meaning a decision on the 2006 Tour de France winner's fate must come in by Sept. 22.

Landis testified in May as part of a two-week public arbitration hearing to determine whether his positive doping test from last year's Tour should be upheld. He tested positive for synthetic testosterone after Stage 17 of the race.

Over the past three months, arbitrators have been sorting through the evidence and collecting additional information from the parties. They met Wednesday and are writing their final decision.

• PRO BASEBALL -- Mets vice president Tony Bernazard has emerged as a candidate for the Pittsburgh Pirates' general manager job.

The Pirates have received permission from New York to speak with Bernazard about the position, but the former major league infielder wouldn't say whether he already had interviewed.

Bernazard, a former players' association executive, joined the Mets in December 2004 as a special assistant to general manager Omar Minaya and is currently the VP for player development.