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St. John's dismisses any thought of dropping team

Wire services
Published February 13, 2004

NEW YORK - The president of St. John's told a newspaper he might recommend suspending the program if it can't remain scandal-free.

The school's chief spokesman, however, said Thursday there hasn't been any consideration of dropping the team.

"In no way, shape or form are we thinking of disbanding the program," spokesman Jody Fisher said.

The Rev. Donald Harrington told the Daily News for Thursday editions, "I would go to the board (of trustees) and say, "It's now my conviction we can't do it,"' if the program's troubles persist.

"The university's values and mission are too important," Harrington said. "If the question is, "Would you sacrifice your principles rather than face fact?' The answer is no. We will not sacrifice our principles or our mission. Ultimately, that would be the decision of our trustees, but that would be my recommendation."

Wednesday, guard Elijah Ingram withdrew from the university one week after he and five teammates broke curfew to go to a strip club. Ingram, a sophomore who led the team in scoring, left on the day the St. John's judicial board suspended teammate Abe Keita from school for one year, the university announced.

Ingram's attorney said the player was the victim of a "rush to judgment" by a red-faced administration. Peter Till told the Daily News that Ingram knew of no curfews, bed checks or standards expected of the school's athletes.

Till confirmed that Ingram went to the Pittsburgh strip club but said it was wrong for the university to group him among three players it wanted expelled.

CHARLOTTE: Guard Demon Brown was suspended for the game against Louisville because of his arrest Monday, when three people claimed he flashed a gun at them at a university-area apartment.

MISSOURI: Forward Linus Kleiza plans to have right shoulder surgery within two weeks and miss the rest of the season.

SYRACUSE: Troubled point guard Billy Edelin did not practice and will be out indefinitely, coach Jim Boeheim said. Edelin sat out games against Virginia Tech and Connecticut before returning Saturday and playing 23 minutes in a loss at Providence. He then missed Tuesday's game against Rutgers.

WISCONSIN: Guard Maurice "Boo" Wade pleaded innocent in Madison to a charge of choking a woman at her apartment.

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