PENSACOLA, Fla. (AP) _ Lateef Travis, one of the nation's most sought-after college football recruits, has been placed on probation for 18 months after pleading no contest to selling crack cocaine.

Travis, a 6-foot-2, 225-pound linebacker from Pensacola Pine Forest High School, was considered one of the University of Florida's top recruits when he signed a letter of intent in February, but he failed to meet entrance requirements.

Circuit Judge John Kuder's decision Tuesday against sending Travis, 19, to prison will allow him to play this fall at Pearl River Junior College in Poplarville, Miss., where he signed after losing his scholarship at Florida.

''The fact he plays football is not an issue,'' said Assistant Public Defender Mike Van Cavage, who represented Travis. ''I think he got a reasonable disposition because of his age and prior record.''

Travis had no prior arrests. He said he never used drugs and sold crack to help his unemployed mother, Otha Travis, pay her bills. She said the arrest was like a ''wake-up call'' for her son.

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EAST RUTHERFORD, N.J. (AP) - The New Jersey Nets are probably not going to stand in the way of Charles Shackleford's desire to play in the Italian League, his agent says.

Shackleford signed to play with Phonola Caserta of the Italian League, and the agreement with the Nets to release the former North Carolina State star is almost complete, agent Sal DiFazio said Wednesday.

DiFazio said Shackleford would earn more than $1 million a year with Caserta, with benefits that include an apartment, a car, disability insurance and spending money.

Shackleford averaged 8.2 points and 6.8 rebounds last season. He had a career-high 24 rebounds against the world champion Detroit Pistons on March 24.

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IRVINE, Calif. (AP) - Pro Bowl tackle Jackie Slater, a 15-year veteran with the Los Angeles Rams, is attempting to renegotiate his contract and was among eight veterans not in camp at the reporting deadline.

Another veteran under contract, Pro Bowl guard Tom Newberry, was excused for personal reasons from reporting to camp by Wednesday's deadline.

Coach John Robinson confirmed that Slater, a six-time Pro Bowl tackle, was attempting to get the Rams to renegotiate the final year of his contract. He said Slater and Rams vice president John Shaw talked Wednesday and would meet again today.

The number of veterans not under contract was cut to six shortly before the deadline when 10-year tight end Pete Holohan reached agreement on a contract. Terms were not disclosed.

That left linebackers Kevin Greene and Brett Faryniarz, defensive linemen Doug Reed and Alvin Wright, safety Michael Stewart and tight end Damone Johnson unsigned.

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WEATHERFORD, Texas (AP) - A four-year-old girl was killed when the horse she was to ride in the opening ceremonies of a rodeo reared and fell on her.

The victim was identified as Tana Danley, according to Rick Mettitt, co- chairman of security for the Parker County Frontier Days Rodeo.

Merritt said the horse and child were on an unpaved road adjacent to the arena Wednesday when the horse balked and fell on the child. The saddle horn struck her in the chest, he said.

The child was flown by helicopter ambulance to Cook-Fort Worth Children Medical Center and was pronounced dead 9:24 p.m., said Robin Worthington, a spokeswoman for the hospital.