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Lawsuit to protect coaches moves ahead

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Published October 15, 2004

KNOXVILLE, Tenn. - A former Tennessee player and his mother have decided to allow a lawsuit against them to proceed in a fight to try to protect coaches who cooperate with NCAA investigators.

The American Football Coaches Association and the NCAA filed a lawsuit in March against the two after they threatened to sue Volunteers coach Phillip Fulmer over statements he made to NCAA investigators about them.

Attorneys for Kenny Smith and Vicki Smith Dagnan withdrew their request to dismiss the lawsuit in Knox County Chancery Court, according to documents obtained by the Associated Press. A hearing had been set for today.

"We have decided we are going to go forward with the case and we are going to file an answer to the lawsuit," Memphis attorney Philip Shanks said.

According to NCAA documents leaked from a federal criminal case involving a former Alabama booster, Fulmer told an NCAA investigator in 2000 that there were rumors Smith Dagnan was involved with an Alabama assistant.

The Smiths filed a defamation suit against Fulmer in an Alabama court. It was dismissed this summer for lack of jurisdiction.

The coaches' lawsuit was filed in Knoxville, and Fulmer was later added as a plaintiff.

GEORGIA TECH: The team will honor former Yellow Jacket quarterback and longtime radio announcer Kim King by wearing a helmet sticker with King's No.18 for the remainder of the season. Mr. King, who played 1965-67, died Tuesday after a battle with leukemia. He was 59.

NORTH CAROLINA: The school mistakenly failed to omit the name of a student-athlete when it gave a newspaper a copy of a letter informing the student of a positive drug test, athletics director Dick Baddour said. Baddour's statement came Wednesday after the Herald-Sun of Durham reported the school had given it a copy of a June 28 letter from Baddour to "Adarius," in which the athletics director informed the athlete that a random drug test had detected the presence of marijuana. Receiver Adarius Bowman was one of three Tar Heel players suspended this week after being cited for marijuana possession. Bowman is the only person with the name Adarius listed in the school's online student directory.

EX-PLAYER CONVICTED: Fabian Desmond Smart was convicted in Pennsylvania of murder in the beating death of the brother of Olympic wrestler Sara McMann. Smart, who played free safety at Lock Haven, was convicted of first-degree murder, kidnapping and two counts of conspiracy in the death of 21-year-old Jason McMann in 1999. Smart faces life in prison without parole or a death sentence. Jurors reached a verdict more than nine hours after deliberations began Wednesday night.

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