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Wright St. Discusses Player Leaving

October 6, 1998

FAIRBORN, Ohio (AP) _ Brandon Pardon just wanted to play, not pray.

So, the sophomore Wright State point guard quit, saying he felt pressured to take part in prayer sessions with teammates.

Coach Ed Schilling, however, believes Pardon was upset about team rules in general and was looking for an excuse to leave the Raiders.

Schilling said Tuesday that Pardon had complained about having to live on campus, attend a study table and eat breakfast with teammates but never mentioned praying.

``He doesn’t want to conform to the rules,″ Schilling said.

Pardon, projected as a starter this season, left the team Monday. He told the Dayton Daily News he clashed with Schilling over several issues, including the coach’s strong spiritual emphasis.

``We pray after practice, before and after games,″ Pardon said. ``It’s totally voluntary and you don’t have to do it, but you feel bad if you don’t. They don’t think they force it on you, but they do in a way. I’m a Christian, too, but the spiritual thing is brought in more than it needs to be.″

Pardon did not return a message left for him Tuesday.

Schilling said the prayer sessions are led by students and are never done as a team. He said devotionals are held after pre-game meals and that separate rooms are available to players who want to pray before or after games.

Wright State, which plays in the Midwestern Collegiate Conference, finished 10-18 last season, Schilling’s first as a college head coach after a year as an assistant with the New Jersey Nets.

Pardon, who played in all 28 games last year, plans to finish the quarter at Wright State, then switch to another Division I school.

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