Titan Football Players Say They Won't Boycott Game : Fullerton: They'll play against Southwestern Louisiana but still want their questions answered.

TIMES STAFF WRITER

Cal State Fullerton football players have backed down from their threat of boycotting the Oct. 17 game at Southwestern Louisiana, team representatives said Thursday.

"We all want to play, and we can't fight fire with fire," said senior linebacker John Haynes, who acted as a team spokesman along with senior tight end Robert Bedford. "After Saturday's game (at San Jose State) we'll be preparing for Southwestern Louisiana. We won't boycott the game."

Several team members are still planning to meet with university president Milton A. Gordon Monday to discuss their concerns about the future of the football program. Many players are worried their scholarships won't be honored if the school drops football or downgrades it to Division I-AA.

NCAA rules state that financial aid shall not be awarded in excess of one academic year, but virtually all recruits are promised that they'll be on scholarship until their eligibility runs out as long as they remain in good athletic and academic standing.

"It's a matter of morals, ethics and a man's good word," Titan Coach Gene Murphy said. "You go to any school, and they tell kids they'll be on scholarship for four or five years. What else are you going to tell them?

"Dr. Gordon is our salvation. If it wasn't for him, we wouldn't have football. He made a very courageous decision (to keep football in January, 1991), and our people know that. But they need to talk to him about some definite concerns."

Gordon said through a university spokesperson that he "wants to hear directly from the players Monday before commenting on their concerns. Once I meet personally with them, I'll decide whether a comment is in order."

Fullerton Athletic Director Bill Shumard was relieved when told of the team's decision. "I think that's wise," he said. "I don't think it would be wise to back the president into a corner on the timing of a difficult decision. I respect the fact the players are going to honor their commitments."

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