LSU Admits Violation But Says Athlete Did Nothing Wrong

BATON ROUGE, La. (AP) _ LSU acknowledged it violated NCAA rules by allowing a university tutor to help a prospective student athlete, but asked the NCAA to reinstate eligibility for the unnamed potential player.

The university, in documents released Monday, said the prospective athlete, who was implicated in an LSU investigation of cheating football players, did nothing wrong. The potential player's name was removed from the documents before they were released to the media. The prospective player didn't have the test scores and grade point averages needed to attend LSU and was taking independent study courses to boost his scores.

He received tutoring at the university's Academic Center for Student Athletes before taking exams, an apparent violation of NCAA rules, and one of the tutors accused the prospective student athlete of getting a copy of a final exam before taking the test.

LSU denied the potential player ever cheated and said the athlete didn't know he wasn't supposed to get university tutoring, according to the report. ``There is no evidence that (the potential player) who accepted tutorial help on three separate occasions for an estimated maximum of six hours was aware that he was receiving an extra benefit in violation of NCAA legislation, or that the tutoring had any bearing on his decision to attend LSU,'' the university says in the report.

LSU called the violation ``secondary in nature,'' saying it was isolated and involved only one prospective player. The university also disagreed with the tutor's allegation that the athlete had a copy of a final exam and asked the tutor to help him find the answers to that exam. The prospective student had ``a study guide which he used to study for the final examinations.

LSU submits that the tutor mistook the study guide for a test,'' according to the report. The prospective player donated $40 to charity to pay for the tutoring he received, according to the report. The university will take ``disciplinary action'' against the person who authorized the tutoring. That person was unaware it was an NCAA violation, the documents say.

The NCAA has not yet issued its ruling about reinstating the potential player's eligibility and is not expected to do so for at least two weeks, LSU said in a news release. The documents were part of an investigation LSU began in January into alleged academic misconduct by athletes and the Academic Center for Student-Athletes.

The allegations center on a number of football players and include charges of plagiarism, improper use of note takers, tutors and academic center employees providing too much help, athletes taking unsupervised tests and superiors pressuring instructors to let improprieties continue.

The NCAA will use LSU's report to decide if it needs its own investigation. LSU instructor Tiffany Mayne and graduate assistant Caroline Owen filed lawsuits against the university, alleging that they were told to change the grades of players who plagiarized papers to keep the players eligible for the 2000 Peach Bowl. Those lawsuits are in federal court in Baton Rouge.