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Students Rally for Tulane Basketball

April 7, 1985

NEW ORLEANS (AP) _ More than 100 people marched to Tulane President Eamon Kelly’s campus residence Saturday, asking him to reconsider his decision to drop men’s basketball because of a betting scandal and payments to players.

Kelly was out of town, but the demonstrators presented his wife with a petition saying his plan to eliminate the sport was an ″overreaction.″

Three Tulane players and five other people were indicted Thursday on sports bribery and consiracy charges in an alleged point-shaving scheme

Hours before the indictments were returned, Kelly said he was eliminating basketball from the school’s program because Coach Ned Fowler had admitted paying several players, a violation of NCAA rules. Fowler and two assistants have resigned.

Kelly said he was certain the board of administrators and the university Senate will accept his recommendation to drop basketball, and he expects the termination to be permanent.

The demonstrators, some of whom dribbled basketballs, rallied at the school’s quadrangle before marching to Kelly’s white-columned home. They carried signs saying, ″First Basketball, Next The Law School,″ ″Kill the Cancer - Save the Patient,″ and ″Two, Four, Six, Eight - We Don’t Want to Terminate.″

The petition said Kelly’s plan to drop the sport ″is an unwise and hasty overreaction to an unfortunate and distasteful situation.″

Kelly’s wife, Margaret, said she didn’t think her husband would change his mind.

″I don’t think he made a hasty decision. I think he made a considered decision,″ she said.

Kelly was in Washington for a scheduled appearance Sunday on the CBS-TV news program, ″Face the Nation.″

″Kelly is the best president Tulane has ever had. We’re not anti-Dr. Kelly. That’s not our purpose. We’re pro-basketball,″ said Tony Ruda, president of the Greenbackers, the booster club that organized the demonstration.

Members of the Tulane Booster Club and the Ray Hester Club - a group based on New Orleans’ west bank - also participated.

″Everybody identifies with basketball; everybody enjoys it. There’s electricity in there,″ said Chuck Brink, a senior English student from Chicago.

Three games in the past season figure in the point-shaving investigation. Shaving points involves winning by fewer points or losing by more than the betting line that bookmakers establish on a game.

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