Miami University of Ohio fired its men's basketball coach today for giving one of his players a false grade in a class.
Miami President Paul Pearson said the university, based in nearby Oxford, Ohio, dismissed Coach Jerry Peirson for giving a former Miami player an A in Peirson's "Basketball Theory" course, even though the player never attended class or did any course work.
Pearson said Miami Athletic Director R. C. Johnson had recommended that Peirson be suspended without pay for four months, removed from further teaching duties and placed on permanent probation.
But Pearson said he decided to terminate the coach because the reputations of Miami University's athletic and academic programs require him to "maintain a broader view and to consider Coach Peirson's action . . . as it reflects upon the university as a whole."
Peirson, 46, acknowledged at a news conference in June that he admitted senior Karlton Clayborne to his course halfway through the fall, 1988, semester, then gave Clayborne an A, even though he attended no classes and did no classwork.
The National Collegiate Athletic Assn. sent a May 15 letter to the university outlining the investigation and allegations. Clayborne did not graduate and is no longer a student at Miami, university officials said.
Pearson said Miami would honor the coach's contract through December and waive undergraduate tuition for Peirson's children if they attend Miami, a privilege universities commonly grant their personnel.
A search for a new coach will begin Monday, the university president said.