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September 4, 2003 Conference Notes No Comments



The Morning Dish – Thursday, September 4th

Serving Notice: Auburn was officially notified by the NCAA that the school was under investigation for possible major recruiting infractions in the men’s basketball program. The investigation is centering around the tactics of one former and one present assistant coach in their recruitment of Jackie Butler of McComb, Mississippi. Other characters in the play include Mike Walker, a sports agent, and Butler’s AAU coach Mark Komara. Allegedly, Butler received improper benefits from Komara and from Auburn. Current Tiger players Brandon Robinson, Marco Killingworth, and Cincinnati player Chadd Moore were interviewed a year ago during the preliminary investigation.

Feeney Remembered: University of New Mexico Billy Feeney was honored yesterday in his native Boulder, Colorado. Feeny, a forward on the Lobos squad, committed suicide last week in downtown Albuquerque. Over 600 people filled the Sacred Heart of Mary Catholic Church for the two hour service, including New Mexico head coach Ritchie McKay, who said Feeney had the “ability to make us all laugh, but never at the sake of another’s feelings. He had a way of making you feel important.” Feeney’s Lobo teammates served as pallbearers.

Go Blue for Free?: Michigan head coach Tommy Amaker has announced that the men’s basketball program has received a large donation from an anonymous source, and has decided to allow student season ticket holders to renew their tickets at no charge. Approximately 475 returning ticketholders will receive their $115 ticket package for free. In his three seasons at Michigan, Amaker has tried to integrate the student body into the Michigan basketball experience, first by moving a student section to the lower bowl area, and then forming the “Maize Rage”, taking a cue from Amaker’s days with the Cameron Crazies at Duke. The donor, as well as the amount given, have not been released.

Warrant Signed: Texas Governor Rick Perry yesterday signed a warrant seeking the extradition of former Baylor player Carlton Dotson, who is accused of murdering teammate Patrick Dennehy. Dotson, who was indicted by a McLennan County grand jury, is being held in the Kent County (Maryland) Detention Center without bond. When Maryland’s extradition coordinator Rick Morris receives the Texas paperwork, Dotson will be provided a chance to plead his case to a review board hearing. If convicted of Dennehy’s murder, Dotson faces up to life in prison.

Aztec Cleared: San Diego State recruit Brandon Heath has been approved by the NCAA Clearinghouse and can enroll in classes immediately. Heath, who played in Los Angeles for Westminster High School, had academic problems last season and was ineligible to play. Heath was a first-team All-City selection in Los Angeles for the 2001-02 season, and the other first-team guard was Evan Burns, last season’s Mountain West Freshman of the Year who was dismissed from the Aztecs last month due to poor grades. San Diego State also lost the services of recruit Jabbar Young two weeks ago, when he failed to get through the NCAA Clearinghouse.

Gopher Problem: Minnesota recruit Wesley Washington, and head coach Don Monson, are holding their collective breaths, as Washington, on the first day of classes, had not been formally admitted. Washington signed a letter of intent in December, and has been approved by the NCAA Clearinghouse. If Washington is not admitted, the letter of intent will be voided and he will have instant eligibility at another school that has an available scholarship. Washington, the California Division II player of the year last season at Santa Ana Mater Dei, averaged 15 points per game for the Top 25 program.

2-in-4 Swap: The Great Alaska Shootout has announced that Canisius will replace Houston in the men’s draw during this season. Houston, who had originally been scheduled, had to pull out due to the NCAA 2-in-4 rule, which was been upheld in an Ohio appeals court three weeks ago. Canisius, 10-18 last season, will be making their first appearance in the tournament, which runs November 25th through 29th.

Sprucing Up: Kansas has announced several improvements to Allen Fieldhouse, including a new player lounge, cleanup of the exterior limestone, and restroom improvements. When new head coach Bill Self arrived in Lawrence, he was surprised to find only locker rooms, without a place to relax, study, or watch game film effectively. A new player lounge will be completed in early October, and will be in an old training room, with big-screen TVs, computers, sofas, and will also serve as the video room. Shelved were plans for a video monitor adjacent to the scoreboard, as there was insufficient funding for this season.

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