Ohio State's Cooper defends UzelacOhio State football...

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August 28, 1991

Ohio State's Cooper defends Uzelac

Ohio State football coach John Cooper defended offensive coordinator Elliot Uzelac against charges that he told tailback Robert Smith to skip academic classes.

Smith, who rushed for 1,126 yards, the 16th-highest regular-season rushing total by a freshman in NCAA history in 1990, quit the team Friday.

In a story in The [Cleveland] Plain Dealer on Monday, Smith said he was ordered to miss academic classes so he could attend football practices and meetings.

"Coach Uzelac directly told me that I took my classes too seriously," Smith was quoted by the newspaper. "That is a direct quote from him."

Uzelac, a former Navy head coach in his first year at Ohio State, did not comment. Cooper has denied that any of his coaches have instructed a player to miss a class.

"I'm fed up and sick and tired of the shots Elliot Uzelac is taking," Cooper said. "Elliot and I are on the same page regarding academics, discipline, toughness and hard-nosed football. He's teaching the kind of football that I love, that I played, that I taught myself."


International Olympic Committee president Juan Antonio Samaranch said the apparent disintegration of the Soviet Union could have an almost immediate impact on international sports, speculating that the three Baltic republics -- Estonia, Latvia and Lithuania -- will participate as independent nations in the 1992 Summer Olympics in Barcelona, Spain.

Samaranch said he expects the issue to be raised at an IOC

executive board meeting Sept. 16-17 in Berlin.


A 23-year-old athlete from Romania defected Sunday night at the end of the 1991 Pentathlon Championships in San Antonio and will seek asylum in the United States.

Bogdan Vladu told KSAT-TV in San Antonio that he made the decision to stay in the United States before he left his native Bucharest, where his parents remain.

Vladu said he has applied for political asylum and would like to be on the U.S. pentathlon team. He also said he would like to find a job and go to college to study chemistry.

Pro football

NBC announced that Bill Parcells, who had been scheduled to work on the "NFL Live" pre-game studio show, will instead work as a game analyst with Marv Albert for at least the first month of the season.

Albert's booth mate, Paul Maguire, is recovering from a heart attack.

* A federal judge has approved a $201,900 settlement by the NFL to players who signed "practice player" contracts during the 1990 season.

U.S. District Judge Royce C. Lamberth also gave tentative approval to a proposed settlement for practice squad players during the current season.

A Cincinnati councilman wants to rename Riverfront Stadium or some other city landmark in memory of Paul Brown, founder of the Cincinnati Bengals and Cleveland Browns who died Aug. 5.

James Cissel plans to bring the matter before City council at its Sept. 5 meeting.

Pro basketball

A jury was seated in the drunken-driving trial of Dallas Mavericks forward Roy Tarpley, which continues despite motions suppress evidence filed by the player's attorney.

* New York Knicks forward Charles Oakley was charged with simple assault and disorderly conduct for pushing and threatening a busboy at an Atlanta restaurant, police said.

* Harlem Globetrotter Elbert Gordon has been ordered to spend a month in jail and pay a $1,000 fine for breaking an opponent's jaw during a fight in a college basketball game in 1989 in Jefferson, Wis.

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