Booth's mom confident UM player broke no rule NBA ticket reportedly acquired through agent

November 15, 1995|By Ken Murray | Ken Murray,SUN STAFF

The mother of Maryland forward Keith Booth yesterday expressed confidence that an investigation into a trip he made to Chicago last spring will turn up no wrongdoing.

"I'm not worried and Keith isn't, either," said Norma Salmon of Baltimore.

The Washington Post reported yesterday that the NCAA received a tip that Booth received airfare and a ticket to a Bulls playoff game, in violation of NCAA rules. A national telecast of the game showed Booth seated next to Juwan Howard of the Washington Bullets near the court.

Booth's mother said his plane and game tickets were purchased by close friend Jeremiah Dickens, who coached Booth in the Urban Coalition League in Washington during the summer. The Post reported that Dickens bought the tickets through Washington sports agent David Falk, who represents Howard.

An NCAA rule prohibits a student-athlete from accepting money, gifts or benefits beyond those accessible to students in general. A violation threatens the student-athlete's eligibility.

Maryland coach Gary Williams declined to comment yesterday. Maryland athletic director Debbie Yow acknowledged the allegation and the university's subsequent investigation, but said the school has found no evidence of impropriety. She did not identify Booth as the subject of the investigation. Yow said the NCAA was first notified of the alleged violation by an unnamed source in late May. It then asked Maryland to look into the matter, and Maryland responded with a report in late July.

She said the NCAA wanted further clarification in "August or September," but that response was delayed by the departure of Sue Tyler, Maryland's associate athletic director in charge of compliance, who accepted a job at the University of Maine.

Yow said she gathered information along with Danita DeHaney, associate athletic director, and Luke Glasgow, certification coordinator.

"We submitted all the material to the legal department, and the report is being prepared by the legal office," Yow said. "We see no impropriety."

She said the report should be filed no later than early next week.

"If [NCAA officials] concur, that's the end of it," Yow said. "Our goal is to have it all straightened out by the start of the season [Nov. 24 in Springfield, Mass., against Kentucky]."

Neither Falk nor Dickens was available for comment.

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