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Report: Tarpley failed drug tests while in college

October 19, 1997

DETROIT (AP) _ Roy Tarpley, banned from the NBA for drug and alcohol use, repeatedly failed drug tests while he was at the University of Michigan, a former teammate charges.

Leslie Rockymore, who played at Michigan from 1981-85, told The Detroit News in a story for Sunday that despite his drug use, Tarpley was allowed to play by coach Bill Frieder.

``There was a statement made by Coach Frieder that if any of his guys’ urine came up positive for drugs, that they would be suspended,″ Rockymore said. ``Fact of the matter is, Roy Tarpley never passed a drug test. Never. And he never was suspended for that.

``If that problem would have been dealt with at that particular time, Roy might be in the NBA. He never was disciplined about it. Nothing was ever said.″

In a telephone interview with The Associated Press on Sunday, Frieder denied Rockymore’s accusations, but declined to elaborate on specifics of the newspaper report.

``I’m shocked and stunned by these (assertions) and they are absolutely not true,″ he said of allegations regarding Tarpley.

Rockymore called Frieder a good recruiter. But he said Frieder’s inattention to players once they arrived at Michigan may have led to Tarpley’s downfall. The former Dallas Mavericks forward was banned from the NBA in December 1995 because of drug and alcohol problems.

Other athletic department officials never learned of the failed tests because ``there’s a lot of ways of hiding it,″ Rockymore said.

Rockymore also told the newspaper that the booster at the center of an NCAA investigation into the Michigan program first surfaced during Frieder’s tenure, about a year before Steve Fisher was hired.

``A lot of people think Fisher brought Ed (Martin) into the program. No, he did not,″ Rockymore said. ``My opinion of Frieder is that he didn’t really care for his players.″

Martin, a retired autoworker from Detroit, became the focal point of the investigation after published reports said he had given cash and gifts to several Wolverines players.

Rockymore, 34, said he spoke with the News about Martin and Frieder because of the way the university dealt with Fisher.

Fisher took over for Frieder in 1989 and led Michigan to six straight tournament wins and the NCAA championship.

Fisher was fired a day after a report by a Kansas law firm investigating the school questioned the coach’s role in arranging complimentary tickets for Martin.

Frieder, who left Michigan for the head coaching job at Arizona State on the eve of the 1989 NCAA tournament, stepped down from that job this year amid allegations of point shaving in games during the 1994 season.

Frieder, who said he remembers Rockymore well, refused to say whether he knew Martin or of his dealings with team members.

``I already dealt with that a long time ago,″ he said.

Rockymore earned his degree from Michigan and now is chief counselor of a halfway house for boys who were serving sentences at maximum- or minimum-security prisons.

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