Academic Standing of Arizona's Simon Examined in Probe

From Staff and Wire Reports

University of Arizona officials denied Friday a published report indicating Arizona basketball star Miles Simon received special treatment from the university.

The Kansas City Star suggested the university took advantage of loopholes in school and NCAA rules to keep Simon on the basketball team despite an abysmal academic record.

University officials said Simon took advantage of exceptions available to all students. The university investigated the allegations and found no evidence of wrongdoing, university lawyer Michael Proctor said.

"There is nothing that has been done wrong to my knowledge," Athletic Director Jim Livengood said. "Everyone has looked at it, and nothing has been done wrong."

The newspaper used Simon's case to illustrate its contention that many schools make eligibility rather than education the main goal for athletes.

Simon, named most valuable player in the Wildcats' national championship game last season, has been on academic probation most of his playing career, the Star reported.

Dave Knight, chairman of the NCAA cabinet on academics, eligibility and compliance, said he found it "very disturbing" any student could play basketball despite being on probation three years.

John H. McElroy, an English professor who has not had Simon in his classes, said Simon's case apparently constitutes "a level of corruption I hadn't heard before."

Tennis

Top-ranked Martina Hingis beat Manuela Maleeva in straight sets and reached the semifinals of the Porsche Cup at Filderstadt, Germany, where she will have the opportunity to avenge a defeat by Amanda Coetzer.

Coetzer beat the Swiss teen last week in Leipzig, handing her only her third defeat of the year.

"I am really motivated for this match, I'd be really upset to lose twice in a row to the same player," said Hingis.

Jim Courier, seeded third, pulled a muscle in his left thigh in the second set of his match against Swede Thomas Johansson at the Heineken Open at Singapore and lost to fifth-seeded Johansson, 3-6, 6-3, 6-2.

Swedes Magnus Gustaffson and Mikael Tillstrom, along with Germany's Nicolas Kiefer, also advanced.

Boxing

Heavyweight Andrew Golota, hospitalized after being stopped in the first-round by World Boxing Council heavyweight champion Lennox Lewis last Saturday, has agreed to undergo a neurological exam.

The fighter, who collapsed in his dressing room after being knocked down twice and stopped in 95 seconds, already has begun a series of diagnostic exams, according to promoter Dino Duva.

Both sides rested in boxer Mitch Green's New York assault lawsuit against Mike Tyson after a witness testified Green had provoked the beating he got in a 1988 street fight.

Winter Olympics

The $48 million Olympic organizers will spend to get Utah's Winter Sports Park ready for the 2002 Winter Games is more than twice the cost originally expected.

Engineering and design work on the massive project is scheduled to begin soon, with construction scheduled to start in July, 1998.

The Salt Lake Organizing Committee's trustees will spend $633,000 more than recommended to put plastic on what will be the park's two highest ski jumps, so both can be used for training all year.

"The plastic is needed if athletes are to train year round," said Randy Dryer, chairman of the Utah Sports Authority and an SLOC trustee.

Jurisprudence

Former Heisman Trophy winner Billy Sims pleaded guilty in Tulsa to a misdemeanor charge of non-payment of child support, the U.S. Attorney's Office said. Sims owes $32,900 in back support for a child who is now 19.

Former Boston Red Sox outfielder Wilfredo Cordero suffered a setback in court when a judge ruled his wife's statements on the night he was arrested can be used during his trial on spousal abuse charges.

Auto Racing

There was more than a touch of nostalgia when Ernie Irvan took the pole for the DieHard 500 at Talladega, Ala., in a car bearing the number and colors of the late Davey Allison.

Allison, from nearby Hueytown, Ala., died in 1993 in a helicopter crash at the Talladega track. Irvan was the driver tapped by team owner Robert Yates to take the place of the budding superstar.

Irvan turned a lap of 193.271 mph, pushing John Andretti to the outside of the front row. Andretti was briefly on the top with a 193.166.

Miscellany

Disgraced sportscaster Marv Albert has received several potential job offers, but the fired network announcer will not return to the microphone until his troubled personal life is straightened out. "He needs time, and he has to consider how to bring back his wonderful reputation," his publicist, Howard Rubenstein, said in response to a report Albert was negotiating to join New York all-sports radio station WFAN-AM.

South Alabama decided not to seek $100,000 from Bill Musselman under a payback clause in his contract because Musselman, who quit as the university's basketball coach, had threatened to sue for harassment.

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