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Tulane Basketball Goes Into Court, Not On One

November 17, 1985|United Press International

NEW ORLEANS — A hot item on the Tulane campus this fall is a T-shirt featuring the school's Green Wave emblem covered with shaving cream, spinning a basketball on its right hand and brandishing a razor in its left hand.

On the back of the shirt, a fake "1985-1986 Tulane basketball schedule" is listed, including games against Central Lock-Up, Sing-Sing, Leavenworth and a Christmas "Bribery Tournament."

Tulane won't be playing men's basketball this season and may never again field a team. The only court some of the former Green Wave players will be performing in this year will be that of an Orleans Parish criminal judge.

In November 1984, Tulane boosters were looking forward to the senior season of All-America candidate John (Hot Rod) Williams and the controlled offense of Coach Ned Fowler.

A year later, Williams faces trial for sports bribery, Fowler is unemployed, Tulane has been kicked out of the Metro Conference and the Green Wave basketball program is history.

A point-shaving scandal that led to charges against nine men--including four Tulane students and three players--has forced aerobics classes to replace men's basketball at the school's gym.

Tulane President Eamon Kelly, who led a drive to eliminate the school's basketball program, says he does not foresee a rebirth of the Green Wave team.

"I would not be able to recommend a return to Division 1-A basketball unless there is a change in the national environment," he said. "I would like to see an environment in intercollegiate athletics in which there is an elimination of the commercialism and a return to amateur status."

Williams, guard-forward David Dominique and reserve guard Bobby Thompson were accused--along with forwards Clyde Eads and Jon Johnson, who received immunity in return for their testimony--of accepting cocaine and nearly $20,000 in bribes to shave points in two Metro Conference games in February.

Fowler and two of his assistant coaches were fired after they admitted paying Williams to play during his senior season.

Thompson and three Tulane students already have pleaded guilty to sports bribery charges. Dominique, a fourth student and two suspected bookies face trial.

Charges against Williams were dismissed following an August mistrial in his case, but the charges have been reinstated and the 6-10 star center again faces trial. Prosecutors say they hope to have him back in court by the end of the year.

Williams, a second-round draft choice of the Cleveland Cavaliers, has not been able to play because the NBA will not approve his professional contract until his legal problems are resolved.

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