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Movie Deal Proves a Ticket to Trouble

September 27, 1995|From Associated Press

LEXINGTON, Ky. — The NCAA restored the eligibility of Kentucky receiver Harold Dennis on Tuesday after he broke his contract for a possible movie about his life.

Kentucky filed an appeal after Dennis was ruled ineligible Monday. In the appeal, the school said Dennis canceled an agreement he had with a California company that allowed it to offer his story to production companies.

Dennis, a junior walk-on who has played in one game this season, was badly burned in a bus crash in 1988 that killed 27 people. He was the subject of a feature on ESPN last season, "The Power to Heal."

The NCAA's Legislative Services Department said it had sent a letter to the university outlining what needed to be done to restore eligibility.

Kathryn Reith, the NCAA's director of public information, said Tuesday that Dennis' status was reversed after the school said his "condition with the movie contract no longer existed."

The problem involved Dennis' agreement with The Pritcher Co., allowing the California firm to offer his story to production companies.

Kentucky sports information director Tony Neely said Monday that the school reported the movie contract to the NCAA last week.

Dennis said he did not receive any compensation.

"I didn't get any money at all," he said. "I wasn't supposed to get any at all until the [movie] was made, if it was made."

Dan Smith, a Kentucky history professor and screenwriter, wrote a synopsis of Dennis' story for The Pritcher Co.

"It's kind of ironic that here is a positive story about athletics and the people who won't let it be told are the NCAA," Smith said.

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