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News Nuggets, 01.23.04

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Compiled from staff reports and electronic dispatches

Rimpf, C-USA Senior Bowl mates on display for NFL scouts


01.22.04: 2003 was good year at ticket office for C-USA football... .. UNC-CH brings in former Nebraska assistant... .. Diener on rebound after neck injury... .. Cards make Cincy's first loss a doozie... .. More...
01.21.04: Lawhorn named league's best, ECU picked for upper division... .. Diener goes down in Marquette loss to 49ers... .. Pitino assistant pleads guilty to DUI... .. Foes feasting on depleted South Florida... .. More...
01.20.04: Tigers' 2004 football slate includes journey to Greenville... .. Even Hawaii's mascot draws fire for loutish antics... .. Five C-USA, Carolinas juggernauts gang up in AP Top 10... .. More...
01.19.04: Ref dies during Wesleyan-Shenandoah game... .. Louisville assistant nabbed for DUI... .. Memphis adds three years to Calipari pact... .. C-USA basketball standings & scoreboard... .. More...
01.18.04: Auburn CEO resigns over secretive plot to change coaches... .. Nutt demands on-air apology from 'goofball' Alberts... .. Drunken fan cuffed after beheading mascot... .. More...
01.17.04: Pitino absent as Louisville makes quick turnaround... .. Southern Miss staggers No. 21 Marquette in Green Bay... .. Kentucky fan gets 27-year exile for web recruiting operation... .. More...
01.16.04: Houston, Hawaii kiss and make up... .. Southern Miss in danger at 'home' in Green Bay... .. Basketball rules changes delayed... .. More...
01.15.04: Punishment in the works for Hawaii Bowl brawlers... .. ECU-U of L tickets: Get 'em while you can... .. Bearcats dispel doubts, rip non-cream puff... .. More...
01.14.04: 'Meet the Baseball Pirates' feast on deck... .. Coach with ECU ties takes over at Citadel... .. USF AD Selmon sidelined by health issue... .. NCAA reverses field on Argentine transfer... .. More...
01.13.04: Charlotte guard honored for 'Demonizing' ECU, DePaul... .. Brindise, McFarland hirings become official... .. Minter hooks up with old boss Holtz... .. AP basketball poll... .. More...

One of the most outstanding offensive linemen to come through the East Carolina program will be part of a contingent of seven Conference USA players in a prestigious all-star game on Saturday involving invited National Football League prospects.

Brian Rimpf, who followed up All-Freshman honors in 2000 with three consecutive appearances on the All-Conference team, will be joined in the Senior Bowl by linebacker Rod Davis, corner back Greg Brooks and defensive back Etric Pruitt of Southern Mississippi, quarterback J.P. Losman and running back Mewelde Moore of Tulane, and tight end Ronnie Ghent of Louisville.

Rimpf traveled to New Orleans more than a month ago to work out with a trainer in preparation for the Senior Bowl and the subsequent NFL draft combine in Indianapolis in late February.

The game, scheduled for a 5 p.m. ET kickoff in Mobile, AL, will be televised by ESPN.

More than 700 representatives of NFL teams have been on hand during practices leading up to the game or will attend the Senior Bowl itself to evaluate draft prospects.

Rimpf, a 6-6, 324-pound Raleigh native, will play for the North team, which will be coached by Cincinnati Bengals coach Marvin Lewis and his staff. San Diego Chargers coach Marty Schottenheimer and his assistants will direct the South squad.

ECU seniors Vonta Leach (FB), Damane Duckett (DT) and Terrance Copper (WR) played in an earlier 2003 postseason all-star game, the Blue-Gray All-Star Classic on Christmas Day.

Suit claims Petrino reneged on scholarship

LOUISVILLE — A former non-scholarship player on the Louisville football team has filed a lawsuit against coach Bobby Petrino and the school's athletics department, alleging Petrino reneged on a scholarship offer.

The lawsuit was filed this week in Jefferson County Circuit Court on behalf of Ryan Holifield, an offensive lineman. It accuses Petrino of "breach of contract and broken promises."

Athletics director Tom Jurich said Louisville would "vehemently" fight the lawsuit. "We'll deal with that," Jurich said. "The more high-profile we get, the more we'll face these things."

Holifield lives in Jackson, Tenn., but graduated from Fork Union Military Academy in Virginia. The lawsuit said he was a non-scholarship member of the Louisville football team from August 2003 to Dec. 16, 2003.

Holifield first met Petrino at Auburn, the lawsuit said. Petrino was the offensive coordinator there in 2002. Holifield attended football camps at Auburn, Georgia, Maryland and Louisville, the lawsuit said.

Louisville began recruiting Holifield in 2001, when John L. Smith was the coach, the suit said. In the fall of 2002, the Holifields told Louisville that Ryan wanted to play football elsewhere because "neither Ryan nor his family felt comfortable with Coach Smith."

Smith left for Michigan State in December 2002 and was replaced by Petrino. Holifield had stayed in touch with Petrino, and his hiring renewed Holifield's interest in playing for the Cardinals, the lawsuit said.

Holifield made an official visit to Louisville in late January 2003, the lawsuit said. On the 26th, Petrino called Ryan on his father's cell phone to offer him a full scholarship that would begin in January 2004, the lawsuit said, noting that Petrino said Ryan could join the team as a walk-on until his scholarship took effect.

Holifield accepted the offer and joined the team. But on Dec. 15 — four days before the Cardinals played in the GMAC Bowl in Mobile, AL — offensive line coach Mike Summers met with Holifield and told him Louisville "would not be able to honor its scholarship commitment," the lawsuit said.

According to Holifield, Summers said the school was going in a new recruiting direction, as a result of its entry into the Big East Conference. Summers also called Holifield's father, Dr. Mark Holifield, a Louisville alumnus, to inform him of the school's decision.

The lawsuit alleges that Petrino refused to meet with the Holifields. Holifield decided to transfer, but the lawsuit also says Petrino has refused to provide practice tape of Holifield for other schools to view.

The lawsuit asks for compensatory damages totaling $12,000.

Majerus gets a pass on discrimination charge

SALT LAKE CITY — Utah basketball coach Rick Majerus was cleared in an investigation into a complaint by a former player who claimed the coach berated him about his partial hearing loss, university officials said.

Athletic director Chris Hill confirmed there was a university investigation, launched after a complaint from former Utes center Lance Allred after the 2001-2002 season. "They determined after a full examination that he did not discriminate against Lance," Hill said Thursday.

Hill said he was prevented by school policy from discussing details of the investigation, but Allred told The Salt Lake Tribune that Majerus used offensive, vulgar language two years ago when berating him and mentioned Allred's partial deafness. The 6-foot-11 center transferred to Weber State, citing constant abuse.

"He told me, 'Lance, you've weaseled yourself through life using your hearing as an excuse. You're a disgrace to cripples. If I was a cripple in a wheelchair and saw (the way) you play basketball, I'd shoot myself," Allred told The Tribune.

Majerus denied he made the statements, which he called "extremely insensitive."

"I like Lance very much and only wish the best for him," Majerus said. "However ... when he left this program, he was not very happy. My experience with disgruntled players has been that there is sometimes a revision of history."

Two former players interviewed by the Tribune confirmed some of Allred's reports. However, two coaches said they never heard Majerus say those things.

Interim university president Lorris Betz told the Tribune he was "confident in the process" also, noting that he couldn't elaborate because of confidentiality concerns.

"There are some things we as an institution need to ask ourselves," he said. "If the allegations were accurate, we would not tolerate that in the classroom. Should it be tolerated in athletics?"

Betz declined, through a spokesman, to elaborate on that comment to The Associated Press.

News Nuggets are compiled periodically from staff, ECU, Conference USA and its member schools, and from Associated Press and other reports. Copyright 2004 and other publishers. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.

Page Updated: 02/23/2007

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