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News Nuggets, 07.19.03

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Compiled from staff reports and electronic dispatches

C-USA formally shifts into football mode


07.18.03:  East Carolina names new ticket operations boss... .. Dollar draws NCAA wrath... .. Athletes' rights crusader gains steam... .. Banished football program seeks new life... .. Blood clot stymies Buckeye lineman again...  More...

The official Conference USA Football Kickoff will be held Monday and Tuesday, July 21-22, in Memphis. Each of the league's head coaches and two players from each team will be on hand for the annual media event. East Carolina head coach John Thompson and a pair of Pirate players won't be the only ones from Down East in attendance. Staff writer and columnist Denny O'Brien will be in the City of Elvis covering the proceedings from start to finish for

Get up close and personal with J.T.

GREENVILLE — East Carolina's new head football coach may soon be coming to a neighborhood near you. The 2003 ECU Football John Thompson Tour, which kicks of Wednesday, July 23 in New Bern, is intended to enable fans across the Eastern North Carolina region to meet the Pirates' first-year skipper in person. The four-stop tour also has Thompson visiting locations in Jacksonville, Morehead City, and Greenville over the coming two weeks. For information about the events, call the ECU marketing office at 252-328-4530.

Key U of L football players banished

Louisville cornerback Laroni Gallishaw, a two-year starter, has been dismissed from the team, the Louisville Courier-Journal has reported. The paper also noted that the name of wide receiver Dontay Spillman, the Cardinals' receptions leader until his suspension during the 2002 season, is no longer listed on the U of L roster. Rocco Gasparro, the school's sports information director, said that both players had failed to meet guidelines set down for remaining with the team, according to the report.

Gators get head start in rejecting ACC

JACKSONVILLE, FL — Though nothing resembling an invitation has even been issued, the Florida Gators have already said Nyet. Florida, which joined th SEC as a charter member in 1933, has no plans to entertain any approach to become the Atlantic Coast Conference's 12th team. "All I know is that from the University of Florida's perspective, we're proud to be a member of the Southeastern Conference,'' Foley said. ``I see us being in the conference for many, many years." After the ACC plundered Miami and Virginia Tech from the Big East to expand to 11 teams, Arkansas athletic director Frank Broyles suggested SEC schools South Carolina, Kentucky and Florida could be possible ACC targets. Earlier this week, the ACC filed papers with the NCAA, asking for a change in the bylaw that states a conference must have 12 teams to hold a championship game. If the NCAA changes the rule, the need to add another team would be diminished. Speaking to a booster club in Jacksonville on Thursday night, Foley said Florida wouldn't consider a move under either circumstance.

Physician admits torching Wheeler medical data

CHICAGO — A Northwestern University doctor acknowledged burning records of a physical he gave Rashidi Wheeler three weeks before the football player died during a 2001 training drill. Dr. Mark Gardner testified Thursday in a lawsuit Wheeler's parents filed against the university. Only lawyers for Wheeler's family got to question Gardner before the deposition ended for the day. He is expected to continue testifying at a later date. His attorney, Richard Donohue, said Gardner destroyed the records days after Wheeler's death and then checked himself into a hospital.

Tigers' Saban lives to tell about aquatic knockout plunge

LSU football coach Nick Saban survived an unplanned submersion in a lake near his vacation home in Georgia about two weeks ago, The New Orleans Times Picayune reported Friday. Saban told WWL radio reporter Kaare Johnson that he momentarily was knocked unconscious when he fell from the ski deck of his boat and hit his head against the dock, according to the newspaper. Saban said he awoke underwater and paddled toward the surface, where one of the two friends he was with pulled him out. The coach suffered cuts in his ear and on his head that required 25 stitches, which have since been removed.

Pistol discovery adds new element in Dennehy case

WACO, TX — A handgun was found at an apartment complex where a Baylor basketball player lived, and police are investigating whether it is related to the disappearance of a teammate, authorities said Friday. Waco police Sgt. Ryan Holt said a maintenance worker at the apartment complex found the gun Thursday and turned it in to police. Holt said detectives are tracking the serial number to see if the gun was one of the weapons purchased by Patrick Dennehy or any of his friends. The gun was found at apartment complex where Harvey Thomas, who recently transferred from Fredericksburg, Va., to play basketball for Baylor, lived. A teammate of Thomas, Dennehy, has been missing since mid-June. According to an affidavit, Dennehy's girlfriend told police that he had been threatened by a man named Harvey.

Academic practices of BCS champions under the microscope

COLUMBUS, OH — Ohio State formed a special committee Friday to investigate allegations of academic misconduct in the football program and whether players have gotten preferential treatment in classes. The university's actions follow a New York Times story last Sunday that reported that star running back Maurice Clarett received assistance from a professor who allowed him to take two oral exams to pass a class. The Buckeyes defeated Miami in the Fiesta Bowl last January to win what the Bowl Championship Series bills as the national championship.

NCAA hoops pioneer nabbed for alleged drunken driving

EL PASO, TX — Hall of Fame basketball coach Don Haskins is charged with driving while intoxicated. The 73-year-old coach, whose Texas Western team upset Kentucky to win the NCAA championship in 1966, was pulled over by police Wednesday night. They saw him swerve out of his lane three times, police spokesman Javier Sambrano said. Haskins was given sobriety tests both at the scene and at the police station, Sambrano said. Haskins spent about an hour in jail Thursday morning but was released after posting a $600 bond. Haskins fielded an all-black starting five against an all-white Kentucky team in the 1966 NCAA final, and Texas Western, now Texas-El Paso, won 72-65. The victory was credited with opening the doors of universities across the nation to black athletes.

News Nuggets are compiled periodically from staff, Associated Press, ECU, Conference USA and other reports. Copyright 2003 and other publishers. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.


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