Indiana University basketball coach Bob Knight probably would have been fired had he not convinced the school's president that he really wanted to learn to control his temper.

``He was real close to not being there,'' trustee Ray Richard said Saturday on CNN/Sports Illustrated's ``Page One'' television program. ``When I went into the final meeting at which we were going to make a decision, I was going to vote to fire him, and I think the majority of the trustees agreed with me.''

Instead, a seven-week investigation into Knight's outbursts of temper ended last Monday with the coach being sanctioned.

This followed an unexpected, last-minute apology from the Knight. When IU president Myles Brand _ who instituted a zero-tolerance policy _ decided that Knight was contrite, the coach's job was saved.

Knight was suspended for three games, fined $30,000, ordered to apologize to a secretary he verbally abused and given a strict set of ground rules for future conduct.

IU English professor Murray Sperber said he was concerned about that, and said Brand revealed a double standard by admitting the coach had not been reprimanded in 29 years even though several instances of inappropriate behavior were investigated.

``What I fear is that this (zero-tolerance policy) will turn into a horrible circus far overshadowing the academic aspects of this university,'' Sperber said.

An e-mail survey conducted during the program asked viewers how long they believe Knight will continue coaching under the zero-tolerance policy. Fifty percent of the respondents said Knight won't survive to the end of the season.