BATON ROUGE, La. — Allegations by the National Collegiate Athletic Assn. that friends of the Louisiana State University basketball program granted special favors to student athletes ranging from free cars, free rent and cash to offers of jobs for family members and a girlfriend of one prospect were denied Wednesday by Chancellor James Wharton.
Another allegation said a local physician performed tumor surgery on the mother of former player Steffond Johnson at no cost.
LSU Basketball Coach Dale Brown said the former student athletes who supplied information alleging wrongdoing on his part were liars.
"As God is my judge, everything will come out," Brown said at a news conference called by Wharton. "I don't want any coverups. I don't need any breaks. If something is wrong, I want to know."
Wharton said the university denied 17 of the 20 allegations of wrongdoing and stressed that the athletes mentioned "did not or were not allowed to complete studies at LSU."
A full written response must be made to the NCAA within six days, and LSU will appear before the NCAA Infractions Committee Nov. 15.
Athletes mentioned in the allegations included the highly touted Tito Horford of the Dominican Republic, who was lured briefly to LSU after a recruiting battle with Houston. Horford was suspended from the LSU team last year after missing practice and then quit.
Other former student athletes or prospects mentioned in the preliminary NCAA investigation charages were Tom Curry, Theron Cojoe, Damon Vance and Rodney Taylor.
The NCAA claimed special favors were granted by such people as Jack Andonie, a member of the LSU Board of Supervisors, and businessmen Al Guglielmo and Tom Moran.
The NCAA said Brown gave cash to an athlete and entertained Horford at a resort in the Dominican Republic.
The NCAA also said that Ed Gomez, "a representative of the university's athletic interests," offered to provide a house, employment and food to Horford's mother at no cost if Horford enrolled at LSU, and also to get jobs for Horford's girlfriend and brother.
The NCAA said Audubon Motors of Baton Rouge supplied a car at no cost to Johnson and that Guglielmo arranged use of a car at no cost to Curry.
Wharton acknowledged that Moran did treat various athletes and prospects to meals at a steakhouse as alleged and that some student athletes may have lived in apartments for varying periods of time at no cost.
And the allegation concerning the medical help "is still under investigation," Wharton said.