Fresno State officials are looking into how reserve guard Dennis Nathan made the men's basketball team despite a felony conviction for selling drugs.
University officials also want to know when Coach Jerry Tarkanian first learned of Nathan's 32-month-old felony conviction. Athletic Director Al Bohl said he didn't learn Nathan--a community college transfer in his first season at Fresno State--had been convicted of possession and distribution of crack cocaine in June 1998 in Portland, Ore., until asked about it by The Fresno Bee on Wednesday.
Fresno State's recruitment code, enacted in 1998--following Tarkanian's third season at the school--in the wake of a series of player suspensions, declares that convicted felons will not be recruited. Tarkanian says the code does not apply to Nathan because he never was actively recruited by Tarkanian or his staff. Nathan has been on an indefinite suspension since Feb. 19. Tarkanian said Nathan's felony conviction was one of the reasons he suspended the player.
Fresno State (23-5, 12-3) clinched its first Western Athletic Conference championship with a 79-74 home-court victory over Rice (13-14, 5-10). . . . Georgia State (26-4) was a 96-57 winner over Florida Atlantic (7-24) in the quarterfinals of the Trans America Athletic Conference, moving Coach Lefty Driesell into a tie for fifth place with former Western Kentucky Coach Ed Diddle on the NCAA Division I victory list. Driesell has a 759-376 record. . . . Brandon Wolfram had a career-high 36 points for Texas El Paso (20-7, 9-6 in the WAC) and became the school's all-time leader in points at 1,725 in a 99-91 loss to Texas Christian (19-10, 8-7) at Fort Worth, Texas. . . . Air Force (8-19, 3-10) shot 55% and made 13 of 14 free throws in the final 2:20 in a 71-60 home-court victory that dropped Utah (18-10, 9-4) out of first place in the Mountain West Conference.