Gophers athletes honored by Midwest Sports Channel

by Matthew Cross

Three Gophers athletes received awards from the Midwest Sports Channel on Thursday night at the Target Center.
Minnesota soccer player Jennifer McElmury, wrestler Tim Hartung and football player Ryan Iverson earned Sports Salute Awards, which recognize athletes who give significant contributions to their teams and their communities.
McElmury, from White Bear Lake, won the NCAA Division I women’s category.
She was team captain last season and a four-year starter for the Gophers. She was also the first Minnesota soccer player to be named first-team All-American.
McElmury ranks among the top five career scorers in the Big Ten and was twice named Big Ten Player of the Year.
Hartung, a two-time Big Ten champion and two-time All-American, won the NCAA D-I men’s award.
The Durand, Wis., native won the NCAA title at 190 pounds earlier this spring and led the Gophers to a runner-up finish at nationals, their best performance in school history.
He was 94-21 during his career.
Iverson, an incoming freshman for the Gophers football team, won the high school boys division.
He excelled in both basketball and football at Eden Prairie High School.
During his junior and senior years as a receiver, he caught the winning touchdowns in the Prep Bowl at the Metrodome. He led Eden Prairie to two state titles and a 27-0 record in those years.
In basketball, Iverson was a finalist for the Mr. Basketball Award, given to the best player in the state. He holds career scoring records for his school and the Lake Conference (1,740 points).
MSC also gave Gophers baseball assistant coach Herb Isakson the Lifetime Achievement Award. “Ike” has performed several duties with the baseball program for 30 years.
Purdue football player reinstated
WEST LAFAYETTE, Ind. (AP) — Linebacker Chike Okeafor, suspended more than a year ago for conduct detrimental to the Purdue football team, was reinstated today, with one condition: He must stay out of trouble the rest of the summer.
Coach Joe Tiller and Purdue officials never said what conduct prompted the suspension in April 1997, citing Okeafor’s right to privacy, but it wasn’t the first time the 6-foot-5 linebacker had been kicked off the team.
Former coach Jim Colletto suspended Okeafor in 1996 after he was charged with possession of marijuana, resisting law enforcement and visiting a common nuisance. He had to pay a $100 fine, complete a substance abuse program and work on a road crew for 10 days.
Okeafor, who played at West Lafayette High School, was an honorable-mention All-Big Ten pick in 1995 and 1996. He has started 30 games for the Boilermakers, with 170 solo tackles among his 253 stops. The 1998 season will be his final year of eligibility.
Rose Bowl gets a sponsor
LOS ANGELES (AP) — Granddaddy has a new listing.
The Rose Bowl, the last holdout in college football’s sponsorship game, changed its name Thursday to the “Rose Bowl presented by AT&T.”
The four-year deal was arranged by ABC-TV, which is paying $19 million for the rights to televise the Jan. 1, 1999 game. Financial terms of the AT&T package were not immediately available.
“We have Ma Bell joining the granddaddy of them all,” Harriman Cronk, Tournament of Roses chairman of game management, said during a conference call.
The Rose Bowl matches the Big Ten and Pac-10 champions, but with the game joining the Bowl Championship Series this season, the conference winners would play elsewhere if they are rated either No. 1 or No. 2.
The tournament, which fought for years against allowing a sponsor’s name to be attached to the sport’s oldest bowl game, insisted that ABC take on a corporate partner willing to take second billing. The feeling was the Rose Bowl name would be preserved.
Other top bowl games are now known as the FedEx Orange Bowl, Nokia Sugar Bowl and Tostitos Fiesta Bowl. Recently, the Holiday Bowl became the Culligan Holiday Bowl.
“We violently were, and still are, against a title sponsor,” Cronk said.
Corporate sponsorship is the way to go these days. There’s 3Com Park in San Francisco, RCA Dome in Indianapolis, Cinergy Field in Cincinnati and Qualcomm Stadium in San Diego.
As for AT&T at the Rose Bowl, Cronk said, “I don’t feel that they are out of step with what we want. We asked that it be like The Masters brought to you by Cadillac, something like that. I feel it will be done that way.”
Asked about signage at the Rose Bowl in Pasadena, Cronk said, “It’s not going to be AT&T all over the field, AT&T in every nook and cranny.”
AT&T logos won’t be sewn onto player uniforms and the neon rose of the Rose Bowl entrance won’t be tinkered with, either.
And with the new deal, of course, came a ticket increase, from $75 to $110 per ticket.
“We still won’t have enough seats for everyone who wants to come,” Cronk said.