NEW YORK (AP) – Major League Baseball and the NBA have each pledged $2 million to help the victims of Hurricane Katrina, and the Southeastern Conference is donating $1 million to disaster relief.

MLB and its players’ association and the NBA and its teams will give $1 million to the American Red Cross. In addition, the National Basketball Players Association has said it will raise $1 million to aid the relief effort.

“Major League Baseball wants to do its share to help those who are suffering from the devastating wreckage caused by Hurricane Katrina,” commissioner Bud Selig said in a statement Thursday.

In addition to the SEC’s donation, the league announced that each of its 12 universities will coordinate fund-raising efforts at home football games during the next several weeks.

Baseball will pass collection plates at all 15 games on Sept. 7 – Roberto Clemente Day – and has offered to match up to $1 million in proceeds.

Players will wear Red Cross patches and bases will include the logo and a telephone number to call to contribute to the relief effort. The 15 visiting teams will host individual relief efforts on future dates.

Clemente, a Hall of Fame outfielder for the Pittsburgh Pirates, died on Dec. 31, 1972, during a relief effort in Nicaragua. He was delivering goods to earthquake victims when his plane crashed.

Major League Baseball also announced a $1 donation for every item purchased at MLB.com.

The Atlanta Braves will donate $1 for every new ticket sold in the month of September to the Mississippi American Red Cross and hurricane relief efforts. The Braves and the Braves Foundation will donate a minimum of $100,000.

Several other organizations announced relief efforts on Thursday.

The U.S Tennis Association will donate $500,000 from U.S. Open proceeds to the American Red Cross for affected communities. Commercials devoted to the relief effort will be aired during Open broadcasts, and public service announcements will be made on the grounds of the National Tennis Center. Fans attending the Open can make donations beginning Friday.

The two players associations – the Sony Ericsson WTA Tour and ATP – said their members are donating autographed tennis equipment, apparel and memorabilia for an auction to aid victims of the disaster. Players who already have committed to supporting the relief efforts include Andy Roddick, Maria Sharapova, Andre Agassi, Lindsay Davenport, Robby Ginepri, Justine Henin-Hardenne, Donald Young, Amelie Mauresmo, and Bob and Mike Bryan.

“It’s a tragedy, it’s terrible,” Agassi said. “I hope there’s something I can do. I’ll be a part of anything that might make a difference.”

Many other players, including Serena Williams, are making individual donations and filming public service announcements.

The Atlanta Falcons hope to raise hundreds of thousands of dollars for victims of the hurricane, and began fund-raising efforts at a kickoff luncheon Wednesday, raising more than $60,000 through a silent auction and by collecting donations as fans left the Georgia Dome. Team owner Arthur Blank wants to collect $300,000 from players, coaches and employees of his various businesses and foundations, and all donations would be matched on a 2-to-1 basis by management. He challenged Falcons fans to raise another $300,000 at the Sept. 12 season opener against Philadelphia.

Major League Soccer, as well as members of the U.S. national team and Mexican national team, are contributing autographed game-worn jerseys to be auctioned. Players competing in the World Cup qualifier in Columbus, Ohio, on Saturday, and all MLS games this weekend will sign jerseys, which will be auctioned online at www.MLSnet.com

The MetroStars will hold a silent auction during Saturday’s game at Giants Stadium to benefit AmeriCares and the Red Cross, while Tennessee Titans quarterback Steve McNair announced through his foundation that he’ll send six tractor-trailers with supplies for Katrina victims in his home state of Mississippi. A 12-hour relief drive will be held Tuesday in the parking lot at The Coliseum in Nashville.

The WNBA’s Connecticut Sun will donate the proceeds from box office sales for Friday night’s playoff game against Detroit to the Red Cross. The team said the donation is expected to total more than $50,000.

AP-ES-09-01-05 2127EDT


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