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Fulmer helped implicate Alabama

Times Staff and Wire Reports
Published January 17, 2004

MONTGOMERY, Ala. - A lawyer for two former Alabama coaches suing the NCAA said newly released court documents show Tennessee coach Phillip Fulmer provided damaging information about the Crimson Tide to the NCAA.

The documents show Fulmer twice called NCAA staffer Rich Johanningmeier, who was probing alleged wrongdoing at Alabama in 2000, and gave him information implicating the Tide in rules violations, according to attorney Tommy Gallion.

Gallion, a Montgomery lawyer who represents Ronnie Cottrell and Ivy Williams, contends the NCAA ignored violations at Tennessee in exchange for Fulmer's help in the case against Alabama.

"They buried everything at Tennessee and they went after Alabama based on what Phillip Fulmer said," Gallion said.

The documents surfaced in federal court in Memphis, where former Tide booster Logan Young is awaiting trial in the recruiting scandal. A motion filed by Young's attorney cleared the way for the release of the records Monday, including notes by the NCAA investigator who asked that Fulmer's name be kept secret.

Fulmer declined comment, citing the ongoing investigation.

AUBURN: President William Walker resigned after weeks of rancor over the school's academic standing and his clandestine search for a coach.

Walker's resignation came two days after he met with Gov. Bob Riley to discuss problems facing Auburn, including its being placed on 12-month probation by the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools, an independent accrediting agency.

The 66-year-old Walker, who had been president for 19 months, said he hoped his resignation would "mark the beginning of a new day at Auburn."

Walker, athletic director David Housel and two trustees flew to meet with Louisville's coach two days before the Tigers game against Alabama. Neither Auburn coach Tommy Tuberville nor Louisville officials knew of the trip, and criticism erupted when it became public. In the end, Tuberville stayed on as coach.

The faculty Senate gave Walker a vote of "no confidence" after a testy exchange between him and the audience of faculty, students and staff about the covert trip.

FLORIDA STATE: Former receiver Talman Gardner remained jailed in Tallahassee, charged with violating probation from an earlier drug charge. Police spokesman Stewart Clendinen said officers did a routine check on Gardner's license after a traffic accident last week and found two warrants for probation violations. They arrested Gardner and took him to the Leon County Jail.

NEBRASKA: Wisconsin assistant Kevin Cosgrove was hired as defensive coordinator and linebackers coach.

OHIO STATE: Suspended tailback Maurice Clarett wants to play for the Buckeyes next season, even if he wins a lawsuit that would make him eligible for the NFL draft.

Percy Squire, Clarett's attorney, said his client always has wanted to return to the Buckeyes but filed the lawsuit because he did not know whether he would be allowed to play for them again.

The school suspended Clarett from the team for the season, but not from school, for accepting improper benefits from a family friend and lying about it to investigators.

Clarett will be allowed to join the team for winter conditioning workouts next week. But the university does not expect to contact the NCAA about possibly reinstating Clarett until after the spring quarter starts in late March, athletic department spokesman Steve Snapp said. The decision to let Clarett work out does not change his suspended status, Snapp said.

USF: Lake City Columbia running back Andre Copeland orally committed, rivals.com reported. Copeland (5 feet 9, 190 pounds), is rated the No.41 running back in the nation. He joins former high school teammates Eric Thomas and Allan Cray.

- Times staff writer Pete Young contributed to this report.

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