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News Nuggets, 07.23.04

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Compiled from staff reports and electronic dispatches

Rattlers' I-A vision buried under avalanche of penalties


07.22.04: NCAA panel endorses major recruiting reforms ... Clemens honor gives Weaver sweep of baseball awards ... More...
No Nuggets 05.20.04 - 05.21.04 because of technical problems.
07.19.04: Former ECU assistant VanDerHeyden retires from UAB staff ... Bearcats land junior college punter ... More...
07.18.04: ECU touts corporate football packages ... SLU marketing themes earn national awards ... More...
07.17.04: Laurinburg Institute star inks with DePaul ... Long Beach State ace captures Golden Spikes ... More...
07.16.04: Stats ditched, computers downgraded in new BCS equation ... Huggins exile to end next month ... More...
07.15.04: BCS to roll out new title scheme ... Catamounts AD rejoins old boss Todd Turner ... ECU's Walker Center awarded outreach grant ... More...
07.14.04: Diamond success spurs bigger bucks for Mazey ... Five C-USA quarterbacks on O'Brien watch list ... More...
07.13.04: UAB, USF swap Saturday date for Wednesday TV game ... Divided school ditches Indian nicknames ... More...
07.12.04: School 'volunteers' to get out of retail business ... Former UCF defensive boss joins Tulane staff ... More...
07.11.04: Former Marquette star Wade named to U.S. Olympic team ... Houston, Charlotte cop NCAA Regionals in 2008 ... More...
07.10.04: ECU sprint guru tutoring Team USA ... Texas coach contrite over snubbing CWS awards ... More...
07.09.04: Ole Miss, ECU top Memphis road game prices ... Brand throws weight behind drastic changes ... More...
07.08.04: Coaches propose radical recruiting, eligibility changes ... Tulsa set for TV hoops clash with Sooners ... More...
07.07.04: Football tickets becoming hot commodity at Marshall ... Student's message tugged at coach's heart ... Trouble escalates for VPI QB with famous last name ... .. More...


TALLAHASSEE — The Mid-Eastern Athletic Conference followed through with its proposed punishment against Florida A&M for 196 NCAA rule violations, and stripped the Rattlers of 11 conference titles, including two in football.

But that football program — no longer the 2000 and 2001 champions — has been allowed back into the MEAC in 2005, the last chapter in FAMU's aborted jump to Division I-A last season. FAMU will compete as a I-AA independent this season.

Florida A&M will also forfeit regular season conference titles in men's tennis (2000), men's indoor track (2002), women's indoor track (1998-2000), women's outdoor track (1998-2000) and volleyball (1999).

In addition, FAMU must return the $175,000 it had received for winning four women's and three men's conference all-sports titles. The MEAC presents $25,000 checks for each all-sports championship.

MEAC commissioner Dennis Thomas informed the school of the penalties in a letter last month.

Joseph Ramsey II, the special assistant for athletics to school president Fred Gainous, said Gainous will decide no later than Friday whether to appeal.

"Based on what I'm hearing and what I've read, there are 196 infractions," said Rev. R.B. Holmes Jr. of Tallahassee, a member of the board of trustees. "What are you going to appeal? The great number of infractions tells me we don't need to spin this. We need to fix this."

FAMU earlier had confessed to the violations committed between 1998 and 2003, most dealing with the academic eligibility of student-athletes.

In the school's report, FAMU listed self-imposed sanctions that included three years' probation for the school; the loss of four partial and two full scholarships in football and one each in baseball, women's basketball and women's track in each of the next three academic years.

FAMU also said it would cut four official visits in football in each of the next three years.

The NCAA is conducting its own investigation, which could result in sanctions beyond those proposed by the school.

Future Pirate sprints to glory at World meet

INDIANAPOLIS — LaShawn Merritt has been named USA Track & Field's Athlete of the Week after winning three gold medals at the 2004 IAAF World Junior Championships held last week in Grosseto, Italy.

Last Thursday, the East Carolina-bound Merritt won the men's 400 meters in 45.25 seconds. He then came back on Sunday to run the anchor leg on Team USA's gold medal-winning 4x100 relay squad and the second leg of the victorious 4x400 relay.

ECU track coach Bill Carson, a renowned developer of world-class athletes, served as Team USA's sprint coach at the Grosseto event.

In the 4x100 relay, the winning time of 38.66 seconds set a world junior record to better the time of 38.92 set in 2002 by Team USA. In the 4x400 relay, the winning time of 3:01.09 set a world junior record to better the time of 3:01.90 set in 1990 by Team USA.

Last month the 17-year-old Merritt won both the 200 meter (20.72) and 400 meter (46.80) national titles at the 2004 USA Junior Outdoor Track & Field Championships, in College Station, Texas, where he was named the Verizon Male Athlete of the Meet.

Legendary 'Big O' subs for sidelined Huggins

CINCINNATI — Oscar Robertson, Cincinnati's greatest player, will serve as the Bearcats' interim head coach until Bob Huggins returns from suspension on Aug. 27.

The Hall of Famer replaces Dan Peters, who left Cincinnati on Tuesday to become an assistant coach at Ohio State.

"I appreciate Oscar's willingness to step up for his university and its basketball program," athletic director Bob Goin said in a statement. "He provides a wonderful opportunity for our young men to learn from a great basketball player and a leader in the business and the community."

Goin said Robertson has agreed to provide oversight and meet with players on a regular basis, as well as provide counseling on their academic responsibilities. Robertson will not have any off-campus recruiting duties, but will be allowed to participate in on-campus recruiting as permitted under NCAA rules, Goin said.

Robertson said in the statement released by the school that he considers it a great honor and opportunity to work for the school he played for from 1957-60.

"I will do whatever I can to help develop these young men for their futures on and off the court," he said.

Robertson could not be reached for comment Tuesday night. His home telephone number in Cincinnati is unlisted.

Robertson was the Associated Press' national player of the year in 1959 and '60, and he still holds Cincinnati's record for points and rebounds.

Robertson played 14 seasons in the NBA for the Cincinnati Royals and Milwaukee Bucks. He made the All-Star team 12 times.

Huggins has been suspended for a drunken driving conviction. Huggins, who began a new three-year contract on July 1, was placed on paid, indefinite suspension June 12, following his arrest for driving under the influence.

The 50-year-old pleaded no contest, was fined $350 and given a suspended six-month jail sentence that required him to attend a three-day education course.

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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