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Compiled from Times wires

© St. Petersburg Times, published February 23, 2001

Alabama informed of probe by NCAA

The University of Alabama was formally notified Thursday that the NCAA is investigating allegations of recruiting violations in its football program.

The NCAA's preliminary letter of inquiry said it is investigating whether university representatives offered inducements to prospective players and provided extra benefits to those enrolled from 1997 to 2000, as well as "potential academic impropriety."

"The University of Alabama fully intends to continue its aggressive investigation of any issues involving rules compliance, working closely with NCAA officials," Andrew Sorensen, university president, said in a statement. "Our goal is to get to the bottom of these matters as quickly as possible."

The letter, sent to Sorensen by NCAA enforcement chief David Price, forbade Alabama officials from discussing specifics of the investigation, which doesn't include any of the current coaches.

The period in question covers the four seasons when Mike DuBose was coach. He was forced to resign at the end of last season, when Alabama finished 3-8.

The NCAA and Alabama officials have been investigating claims that a Memphis high school coach received $200,000 from Alabama boosters when defensive lineman Albert Means enrolled last year.

MORE COLLEGE FOOTBALL: Former Wisconsin running back Michael Bennett was charged with criminal damage to property and unlawful use of a telephone, both misdemeanors. Madison, Wis., police said Bennett was arrested last week for allegedly making harassing phone calls to a woman in his apartment building, then kicking in her door causing more than $200 damage. If convicted of both charges, Bennett could face up to a year in jail and fines up to $10,000. ... Darin Hinshaw resigned as quarterbacks coach at UCF to become wide receivers coach at Middle Tennessee.

TENNIS: Whitney Laiho beat South Florida's Tina Harrison 6-2, 6-0 in No. 1 singles as the Florida women won 7-0 in Tampa. ... Chris Woodruff beat Goran Ivanisevic 6-3, 7-6 (7-3) in the Kroger St. Jude tournament in Memphis, Tenn. ... Second-seeded Yevgeny Kafelnikov lost to unseeded Nicolas Kiefer 6-4, 6-2 in the ABN AMRO indoor tournament in Rotterdam, Netherlands. ... Qualifier Rachel McQuillan upset second-seeded Mary Pierce 6-3, 6-1 to reach the semifinals of the Dubai Open in United Arab Emirates. ... Gustavo Kuerten cruised into the quarterfinals of the inaugural AT&T Cup in Buenos Aires by overpowering Jiri Vanek 6-2, 6-4. He faces Gustavo Canas. Canas defeated Hernan Gumy 7-5, 7-6 (7-3). ... Daniela Hantuchova used a big serve to upset third-seeded Amanda Coetzer 7-6 (7-0), 3-6, 6-0 at the IGA U.S. Indoor Championships in Oklahoma City.

SOCCER: The U.S. women's team was drawn into a group with Canada, Portugal and Sweden for the first round of next month's Algarve Cup in Portugal. ... New York/New Jersey of the MLS reacquired goalkeeper Paul Grafer from San Jose in exchange for the rights to free-agent defender Ramiro Corrales. ... Diego Maradona was fined $15,300 in Buenos Aires for shooting an air rifle at a photographer in 1994.

BOWLING: Jason Coach had high games of 268 and 266 to take a 129-pin lead on Tommy Jones after the third round in the PBA Tour's The Villages Open.

SKIING: Mika Myllyla anchored Finland to a 27-second win against Norway in the men's 4x10-kilometer mixed-style cross-country relay at the World Nordic Championships in Lahti, Finland.

TRACK AND FIELD: Falk Balzer, German indoor 60-meter hurdles record-holder and bronze medalists at the 1999 World Indoor Championships, has been suspended after testing positive for the anabolic steroid nandrolone.

BOXING: Federal officials have recommended that former heavyweight champion Riddick Bowe, charged with assaulting his wife, be sent to prison for violating probation on an earlier domestic violence conviction. Authorities say Bowe, being held in the Mecklenburg County (N.C.) jail, broke the terms of probation set last year after he pleaded guilty to abducting his wife in February 1998.

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