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Judge Defers Ruling In Tech Player’s Eligibility Case

November 2, 1996

LUBBOCK, Texas (AP) _ Saddled with a poor academic record, Texas Tech guard Casey Jones was misadvised by the university about what he had to do to remain eligible to play football, a university official said Friday.

The testimony of Bob Sweazy, Texas Tech’s faculty athletics representative, came during a hearing into whether the lineman should remain eligible to play.

State District Judge John McFall withheld a ruling until he could review the evidence submitted during the five-hour hearing Friday. He scheduled another hearing for Nov. 14, but said he could rule before then.

Until then, a temporary restraining order against the NCAA, dating back to Oct. 17, will remain in effect, McFall said.

Jones started the season ineligible to play after questions arose surrounding his compliance with the NCAA’s ``75 percent rule.″ The rule requires that athletes complete three-quarters of their course work toward a major by the ninth semester.

The 6-foot-5, 280-pounder had changed his major in midstream, leaving much of his prior course work irrelevant to his academic requirements.

``Casey said on several occasions that he was advised he didn’t need to go to summer school,″ Sweazy said during two hours of testimony. ``He had been told that he had met all NCAA certification requirements.″

Sweazy said he didn’t know who provided Jones with the faulty advice.

The lineman from Shepherd, Texas was informed of the problem and his ineligibility one day before Tech’s Aug. 31 home opener against Kansas State. The NCAA denied Jones’ third and final appeal on Oct. 7, prompting him to seek McFall’s intervention.

Questioned Friday by NCAA lawyer Wayne Sturdivant of Amarillo, Sweazy said Jones’ previous academic performance was a factor in the NCAA’s denials of each appeal. Sweazy said Jones had received seven Fs, six Ds and two withdrawals during his first four years at Tech.

``We were informed by the NCAA staff that the reasons for the denial of the second appeal were a poor academic record and that he couldn’t have met satisfactory progress in business administration (Jones’ major at the time),″ Sweazy said.

Jones, who also testified, admitted he struggled in some courses, primarily math-related classes. However, Jones said he always worked to make good on his low grades.

``Every `F’ I made in college, I went back and retook the class and replaced the grade,″ Jones said.

``I’d be the first to say I’m not a 4.0 (grade-point) student, not all people are,″ he said. ``I struggled in my math-related classes, but I kept pursuing it because you have to persevere through the bumps and hard times.″

The Red Raiders are idle on Saturday.

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