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Badgers Guard Bower Suspended

February 17, 2001

MADISON, Wis. (AP) _ Wisconsin guard Ricky Bower was suspended for nine games and 34 practices Friday after the NCAA ruled he had not received final approval to be eligible to play.

Wisconsin declared Bower ineligible Tuesday after a routine review of student-athlete records showed the NCAA had not granted its final approval for Bower to compete. The NCAA Clearinghouse, which determines athletes’ initial eligibility, gave him full certification Friday afternoon.

The university said earlier that Bower’s ineligibility was ``procedural in nature and not related to his academic performance at UW-Madison.″

The school said in a statement Friday that it will appeal Bower’s suspension at a hearing Tuesday.

Bower played his first season of college basketball at Ricks Community College in Idaho before spending two years on a Mormon mission. He came to Wisconsin in 2000.

Bower averaged 4.4 points and 1.3 rebounds for the 19th-ranked Badgers.

It remained unclear whether the NCAA’s ruling would affect the Badgers’ record, but the matter is expected to be handled on a separate basis. The NCAA could order a forfeiture of each of the 13 Wisconsin victories for using an ineligible player.

``Given the facts that we know, we’re optimistic that no forfeitures will result from this violation,″ said David McDonald, Wisconsin’s faculty representative.

``In both his high school and junior college careers, Bower performed academically at a level far above the acceptable minimums set forth by the NCAA. The NCAA Clearinghouse supported that view when it certified him academically qualified to compete.″

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