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Gambling No. 1 Pastime for Some Players

December 30, 1999|CHRIS DUFRESNE

Who's No. 1?

That question will be answered Tuesday when Florida State and Virginia Tech meet in the Sugar Bowl.

Until then, which way to the craps tables?

The NCAA, which rails about the evils of gambling in college sports, will not be happy to hear that Virginia Tech senior running back Andre Kendrick spent his first night in New Orleans losing his shirt.

"I crapped out," he said after Wednesday's morning practice. "My gambling's over for the trip. They try to keep you nice and drunk so that you'll spend all your money."

Kendrick did not say how much he lost, but gambling is legal in New Orleans, and Kendrick is 22.

What's the big deal?

"Life is real," Virginia Tech Coach Frank Beamer said. "If you're legal, I told them "Take care of your money. If you don't know what you're doing, stay out of the casinos.' "

Florida State Coach Bobby Bowden, conversely, has ordered his players not to frequent the casinos.

"I'm one of the guys who is not in favor of gambling," Bowden said. "I'm not in favor of lotteries. I always felt it brought on crime."


Frankly, Bowden doesn't need to add gambling to his laundry list of concerns. His 11-0 squad arrived in New Orleans amid a swirl of controversy and flanked by security.

Sunday, Bowden suspended reserve defensive end Chris Walker for the Sugar Bowl after the senior was arrested last weekend on drunk-driving charges.

"It was cut and dried," Bowden said of his decision.

Walker became the 12th Seminole player arrested since 1997. Florida State recently topped a sports-law Web site list called the "Tarnished Twenty," which ranks programs based on their off-field indiscretions.

"I don't get as alarmed about those things as the public," Bowden said. "I expect those things. That's the way life is."

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