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Dodgers Would Cooperate With Investigation of UCLA

November 09, 2000|LISA DILLMAN and BEN BOLCH | TIMES STAFF WRITERS

The Dodgers said they will assist in any investigation by the Pacific 10 Conference into UCLA's secondary basketball recruiting violation involving General Manager Kevin Malone.

"We have not heard from anyone at the Pac-10 office, nor has there been any indication that we will," said Derrick Hall, Dodger senior vice president of communications. "But naturally we'd be willing to cooperate with them."

Pac-10 spokesman Jim Muldoon said Wednesday the conference is investigating a phone call last month from Malone to the telephone answering machine of Bruin recruit Jamal Sampson of Mater Dei. UCLA basketball Coach Steve Lavin said he mistakenly gave Malone Sampson's number instead of youth coach Pat Barrett's.

By making the phone call--inadvertently or not--Malone inserted himself in the recruiting process and thereby made himself a representative of UCLA's athletic interests, according to those familiar with compliance issues and NCAA bylaws. NCAA bylaw 13.02.12.1 also states: "Once an individual is identified as such a representative . . . the person retains that identity indefinitely."

Malone has a history of involvement with UCLA's basketball team, although it's unclear whether the NCAA would have considered him a booster before the phone call.

Last season, Malone celebrated in the Bruin dressing room after UCLA beat DePaul. He was apparently invited there by Lavin. Lavin joked about their embattled status, and Malone led the Bruins in a cheer.

In August, Malone entertained several Bruin basketball recruits by introducing them to Eric Karros, Gary Sheffield and Mike Piazza during batting practice before a Dodger game against the New York Mets.

Among the players were Sampson, Josh Childress of Lakewood Mayfair, and other Mater Dei players, including UCLA-bound guard Cedric Bozeman.

Sampson, who signed Wednesday with California, said Malone invited the basketball players onto the field to meet the major leaguers.

Afterward, Sampson said, the recruits ventured through the bowels of Dodger Stadium, including the players' dining area, where they "grabbed some doughnuts and drinks and went back up to our seats."

Childress, who had considered going to UCLA, verbally committed to Stanford.

Hall confirmed that Barrett was the one who brought the players to the game.

". . . [Malone] knows the players and the coaches personally," Hall said of the general manager's interest in college basketball. "But he has never recruited for any of them, specifically UCLA."

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