The Arena Football League yesterday voted not to suspend play in 2009, ended a week of speculation about the league's imminent demise.

The league's board of directors met via a conference call yesterday.

The AFL has not released the 2009 schedule, and it's still possible there could be big changes to the indoor league, which began play in 1987.

On Monday the league delayed the start of free agency and a dispersal draft to allocate players from the defunct New Orleans VooDoo.

"The board will continue to meet regularly to examine any and all long-term structural improvement options for the AFL," the league said in a statement.

Colleges

Rutgers athletic director

Robert E. Mulcahy

will step down at the end of the month, the university said.

The announcement came less than a month after an independent committee appointed to review the school's athletic program criticized Mulcahy and other officials for failing to exercise proper oversight.

Late last night, however, Mulcahy issued a statement saying, "I was asked to resign. I have not offered my resignation."

Texas defensive end

Brian Orakpo

won the Rotary Lombardi Award as the nation's top defensive lineman or linebacker. The 6-foot-4, 260-pound Orakpo was the Big Twelve's defensive player of the year.

A Syracuse University judicial hearing board has ruled that starting guard

Eric Devendorf

violated the student code of conduct after allegedly hitting a female student in the face.

The board recommended that Devendorf, a 6-foot-4 junior, be suspended for the remainder of the academic year. He is expected to appeal the decision.

Devendorf, 21, is the third-leading scorer for the 13 Orange, averaging 14.1 points.

Elsewhere:

Connecticut tailback

Donald Brown

was named the Big East offensive player of the year after rushing for 1,822 yards and 17 touchdowns. . . .Buffalo athletic director

Warde Manuel

said he has given Syracuse and Auburn permission to speak with football coach

Turner Gill

. . . . Florida offensive coordinator

Dan Mullen

was named the new football coach at Mississippi State.

Baseball

The New York Mets obtained

J.J. Putz

from Seattle as part of a three-team, 12-player trade that gives them a setup man for new closer

Francisco Rodriguez.

New York dealt seven players - six to Seattle and one to Cleveland - to get three back.

The Mets shipped reliever

Aaron Heilman,

outfielder

Endy Chavez,

lefty

Jason Vargas

and three minor-leaguers to the Mariners for Putz, centerfielder

Jeremy Reed

and reliever

Sean Green.

Promising outfielder

Franklin Gutierrez

was sent from the Indians to Seattle. Cleveland gets reliever

Joe Smith

from the Mets and 23-year-old second baseman

Luis Valbuena

from Seattle.

Elsewhere:

The Tigers acquired righthander

Edwin Jackson

from the Tampa Bay Rays for outfielder

Matt Joyce

.

Noteworthy

Corey Pavin

has been selected as the next U.S. captain in the Ryder Cup, leading the team 15 years after last competing in the matches, the Associated Press reported. . . .

Sigi Schmid

declined a contract offer would have made him one of the highest-paid coaches in the MLS, Columbus Crew general manager

Mark McCullers

said. . . .

Manny Pacquiao's

domination of

Oscar De La Hoya

on Saturday night generated about 1.25 million pay-per-view buys, according to HBO.