Ohio State coach

Jim Tressel

said yesterday he has encouraged 13 of his underclassmen to fill out the paperwork to gauge where they might go in the NFL draft next spring.

The disclosure came during Ohio State's bowl media day. The top-ranked Buckeyes (11-1) play No. 2 LSU (11-2) in the Bowl Championship Series national title game at the Louisiana Superdome on Jan. 7.

Tressel twice declined to identify the players. Linebackers James Laurinaitis and Marcus Freeman, quarterback Todd Boeckman, defensive lineman Vernon Gholston, cornerback Malcolm Jenkins and wide receivers Brian Robiskie and Brian Hartline later confirmed they had sent information to the NFL.

"I'm sure you could guess," Tressel said of the names on the list.

NFL rules specify that players cannot be drafted until they have been out of high school 3 years.

College players can complete forms that are submitted to an NFL advisory committee, which estimates where - or in some cases, if - a player could be taken in the draft. The player can then elect to remain in college or make himself available for the draft.

In other college football news:

* Louisville running back Anthony Allen has been granted a release from the program and will transfer. Allen set the school's single-game rushing record with 275 yards against Middle Tennessee on Sept. 6.

* Clemson linebacker Cortney Vincent is expected to start in the Chick-fil-A Bowl even though he was arrested on a drunken-driving charge last weekend. The 22-year-old Vincent was pulled over early Sunday by the South Carolina Highway Patrol and booked at the Pickens County jail, officials said.

* Oklahoma assistant coach Kevin Sumlin will be hired as Houston's coach, the Houston Chronicle reported.

* Former Southern Illinois coach Jerry Kill was introduced as the new coach at Northern Illinois.

Baseball

* The Cubs have declined to make an offer to righthander Mark Prior, making him a free agent.

* Alex Rodriguez finalized his $275 million, 10-year agreement with the Yankees.

* The Mets declined to make an offer for catcher Johnny Estrada, acquired in a trade with Milwaukee last month.

* Shortstop David Eckstein agreed to terms with the Blue Jays on a 1-year, $4.5 million contract.

Sport Stops

* The McLaren team has apologized for its role in the Formula One spy scandal. In a letter to FIA's World Motorsport Council, McLaren chief operating officer Martin Whitmarsh expressed his embarrassment that secret Ferrari documents were widely spread through his team.

* Fabio Capello has been named England's new soccer coach.

* The United States will play Germany in the Fed Cup quarterfinals Feb. 2-3 at La Jolla, Calif. *