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Two Arizona football players accused in textbook-selling scheme

June 13, 1997

TUCSON, Ariz. (AP) _ Two University of Arizona football players were arrested on felony charges for allegedly scheming to sell textbooks they got for free from an athletic scholarship fund.

Mikal Smith, a starting safety, and Leland Gayles, a reserve cornerback, were arrested Wednesday outside the university’s main gate, said Lt. Brian Seastone, a university police spokesman.

The players allegedly planned to sell more than 40 textbooks to campus-area bookstores, he said. University officials say the books athletes get for free under their scholarships may not be resold.

The players also are suspected of stealing books from study areas in the university, Seastone said.

The 20-year-old players were arrested, jailed, then released on their own recognizance, Seastone said. Both were charged with committing a fraudulent scheme, a felony, and Gayles also was charged with making a false report to police.

Police have not determined how much money the two raised by selling books, Seastone said. Police began investigating allegations of illegal bookselling about six weeks ago, he said.

Arizona football coach Dick Tomey said Wednesday night he would not take any disciplinary actions against Gayles and Smith before learning more about the alleged crime.

``We need to study the situation to see what transpired,″ Tomey said. ``I think that’s only fair. We’re very concerned about anything that seems to be inappropriate behavior and will act accordingly.″

Tomey said he has not spoken with either player. Neither has a phone listing, and they were not available for comment.

Smith was named ``Wildcat of the Year″ as a sophomore for scoring touchdowns on 98- and 86-yard interception returns and another of 75 yards on a fumble return.

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