Thursday, July 29, 2004

USC may soon learn if Williams is eligible

Coach Carroll expects to hear from NCAA around Aug. 10

The Associated Press

LOS ANGELES - Southern California coach Pete Carroll believes a decision from the NCAA on wide receiver Mike Williams' eligibility probably will come within a couple of weeks.

"The NCAA has gone through many levels in terms of Mike's eligibility status, in terms of his amateur status," Carroll said Wednesday. "He should get an answer sometime around Aug. 10, or after that, when we are in camp. He has been through many ups and downs, and it's been challenging."

Williams is attending summer school at USC while awaiting word from the NCAA on whether he will be allowed to play this fall. The defending national champions begin practice on Tuesday.

"He's worked very hard to stay in compliance with the NCAA and worked very hard toward reinstatement," Carroll said at the Pac-10's media day. "We feel strongly he has done everything he can do to be reinstated.

"But the process continues and we'll just keep working with it and support Mike and see what happens from there."

Williams, who finished fourth in the Heisman Trophy balloting, hired an agent and followed Ohio State running back Maurice Clarett in declaring his eligibility for the NFL draft after a federal judge ruled that Clarett was eligible for it.

Williams left school shortly after the spring semester began.

But then the court ruling was stayed, and the 2nd U.S. Court of Appeals in New York decided May 24 that the NFL has the right to determine when players can enter the league.

SEC: After a year of pushing the issue, Southeastern Conference football officiating coordinator Bobby Gaston has finally convinced the NCAA to start identifying players who commit penalties.

The conference agreed to Gaston's suggestion over the winter and he took the idea to the NCAA in February, when it was also agreed to make the change.

"It's been a long quest of mine to get that in the book, so I'm pleased to say we did get that passed and any conference that uses mikes will announce," Gaston said at Wednesday's SEC Media Days.

New Mississippi State coach Sylvester Croom - who spent the last 17 years in the NFL, where it is regularly practiced - didn't see a problem with singling out players.

"I'm used to it in the NFL," Croom said. "It's like anything else. You do the crime, you do the time."

MOUNT UNION: Mount Union is a heavy favorite to win its 13th consecutive Ohio Conference title.

The Purple Raiders, who had a collegiate record 55-game winning streak ended in last year's Division III national championship game, were a lopsided choice by both media and the OAC coaches at the league's preseason meetings on Wednesday.

"Every year brings a new challenge with new personnel and this year will be no different," coach Larry Kehres said. "We will have a lot of new faces in our lineup, especially on the offensive side of the ball. But we look forward to the upcoming season."

Mount Union has won seven national championships, including three in a row before falling to St. John's (Minn.) 24-6 in last year's Stagg Bowl game.

PRICE SUIT: An attorney for fired Alabama football coach Mike Price has asked a court to end legal wrangling over the identity of a confidential source used by Sports Illustrated in its story about a night of drunken partying by Price.

Price attorney Steve Heninger said topless club dancer Lori Boudreaux, who received $200 from Sports Illustrated writer Don Yaeger as cab fare to come to a photo shoot for the article, is the only person who could have provided information for the story.

Price is suing Sports Illustrated publisher Time Inc. for $20 million over the story. The magazine is appealing a judge's decision that it must reveal the identity of a source, an appeal backed by a number of national news organizations.

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