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STEVENS RETIRES: New Jersey Devils defenseman Scott Stevens announced his retirement after more than two decades in the NHL on Tuesday, saying a year off showed him that he could live without hockey.

"I think the game is more mental than physical. You have to be in tremendous shape, but you have to want to do it in your head," the 41-year-old player said. "At this point in my career I didn't think I could put the mental parts there every day, and that's a big part of playing this game."

General manager Lou Lamoriello said Stevens, a 13-time All-Star who won three Stanley Cups with the Devils and played more NHL games than any other defenseman during his 22 seasons, has "been an integral part of all the success we've had."

He added that Stevens, the Conn Smythe Trophy winner in 2000 as the most valuable player in the Stanley Cup playoffs, will stay with the organization in some capacity. Stevens said he would consider helping out new Devils coach Larry Robinson if asked.

College athletics

5 SCHOOLS WELCOME TULANE: Tulane athletic teams displaced from their New Orleans campus by Hurricane Katrina will be based this fall at five different universities. The Green Wave student-athletes will live and attend classes at schools in Texas and Louisiana. The teams will stay together and play under the Tulane banner.

Tulane's football team, which has been working out at SMU in Dallas, is moving later this week to Louisiana Tech in Ruston, about 230 miles north of New Orleans. The players will enroll in classes there that begin next week.

The men's basketball team, along with the volleyball, swimming and diving and women's soccer teams, will be at Texas A&M. The women's basketball team and the baseball team will go to Texas Tech. Rice will host the tennis teams, and SMU will be the temporary home for the golf teams.


YOUNG PLAYERS GET CHANCE: With a berth in next summer's World Cup already clinched, Chad Marshall and Santino Quaranta are part of a U.S. soccer youth movement vying for coach Bruce Arena's attention in tonight's qualifier at Guatemala's national stadium.

The Americans earned their country's fifth straight spot in the World Cup with a 2-0 blanking of Mexico in Columbus, Ohio, last weekend. Just four starters from that match made the trip here, joining six teammates under 25.

Arena, who insists his squad still has a long way to go before it can hope to be a factor in 2006 in Germany, said Tuesday it was still too early to determine how much those playing against Guatemala will have to do to make the World Cup roster.

Auto racing

NO NEW RACES IN '06: NASCAR released the 2006 Nextel Cup Series schedule Tuesday, a 36-race slate that is virtually identical to this season.

The only changes are a pair of race date swaps.

Richmond International Raceway's spring race will move up to May 6 and Darlington Raceway's race will follow on May 13, again the night before Mother's Day. Also, Kansas Speedway's 2006 event will switch weekends with Talladega Superspeedway. The Kansas race will be Oct. 1, while Talladega will be run Oct. 8.


U.S. WINS: At Amsterdam, Netherlands, Lastings Milledge hit two home runs and Brant Ust drove in four runs with a homer and a two-run single Tuesday in the United States' 11-1 victory over Spain in baseball's World Cup.

The United States (3-0) leads Group B, just ahead of Nicaragua (2-0), which beat the Czech Republic 1-0 on Anibal Vega's solo homer.

In Group A, Yuliesky Gourriel hit a two-run homer in the first and a leadoff shot in the fifth to pace Cuba to its fourth victory, 15-0 over Sweden. The Netherlands also improved to 4-0 with a 7-0 victory over Brazil.

The top four teams in each group will advance to the Sept. 14 quarterfinals.