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Wednesday, December 15, 2004
Former star looking to transfer

Associated Press

Tennessee: Former Vols receiver James Banks resumed smoking marijuana after his knee surgery this season and deliberately submitted a diluted drug test sample before he was dismissed from the team last week, according to published reports.

Coach Phillip Fulmer dismissed the junior, last year's leading receiver, after giving him several chances to redeem himself.

"I just never thought I would get kicked off the team," Banks told The Tennessean on Tuesday. "I always thought it would work out. It's my fault that I got kicked out of here, and I know that. I accept it and now I have to move on."

Banks was suspended for the first half of last year's Peach Bowl, spring practice and the first three games of the season after various incidents. He was cited this summer for underage drinking.

His predicament got worse with a preseason injury and knee surgery on Sept. 3. That's when Banks began smoking marijuana again after quitting earlier.

A member of Tennessee's medical staff told Banks last week there was a problem with his most recent drug test.

Banks told the newspaper he submitted a diluted and unreadable urine sample to try to cover up his marijuana use. He had already failed one drug test in his career.

He has already talked to officials at Chattanooga about transferring to the I-AA school, where he would be able to play immediately without sitting out a year. He could join other former Vols Brandon Johnson, Ovince Saint Preux and Greg Jones there.

Banks is also considering Grambling and Murray State.

Oregon State: Four suspended Oregon State players won't be reinstated to play in the Insight Bowl on Dec. 28 against Notre Dame.

Coach Mike Riley announced that Joe Rudulph, Brent Bridges, Anthony Wheat-Brown and Whitfield Usher cannot practice with the team as it prepares for the bowl game in Phoenix.

The suspensions stem from two separate incidents at the Headline Cafe in Corvallis, including an assault on an Oregon National Guardsman.

Bridges, an offensive guard, played in all 11 regular season games, while Rudulph played in nine games as a reserve defensive end. Usher, an offensive lineman, did not play this season.

Wheat-Brown started seven of 10 games at flanker. He will be replaced by George Gillett for the Insight Bowl.

Rudulph was arrested and charged with fourth-degree assault, harassment and disorderly conduct for the assault on Staff Sgt. Gabriel Sapp outside the Headline Cafe. During the confrontation, Sapp was knocked unconscious.

Rudulph was at the nightspot with Wheat-Brown, Usher, and Rainwater, although he was the only player arrested and charged. Rudulph was arraigned last week. His next court appearance is scheduled for Jan. 13.

Colorado: After months of defending its secrecy amid accusations of financial mismanagement, the University of Colorado's biggest fund-raising arm released thousands of pages of records and correspondence Wednesday relating to the school's athletic programs.

The CU Foundation also announced that its board has adopted a new public disclosure policy.

"This policy, I can say from the meeting, is in the spirit of the CU Foundation attempting to be as open as it can be with its various publics," said George Sissel, the board chairman.

The foundation, with assets of more than $760 million, is a private organization that contends it is not covered by open records laws. Some of the newly released records were redacted to protect what the foundation called personnel or donor privacy.

The foundation launched a review of its records last month after the university reported to the NCAA that a separate, smaller fund-raising group had violated NCAA rules.

Florida: Gators running back Ciatrick Fason announced Wednesday he plans to forgo his senior year and enter the NFL Draft.

The 6-foot, 215-pound junior has been one of the most consistent performers for the 20th-ranked Gators. He enters the Peach Bowl with 1,173 yards rushing and 10 touchdowns, just the seventh Florida running back to reach 1,000 yards in a season.

"The choice came down to a decision I had to make for my wife and our two children," Fason said. "I believe the program is in great shape and that Gator fans should be excited about the future. I intend to complete my education down the road."

Fason leads the Southeastern Conference in rushing with 106.6 yards per game and is second in the league in all-purpose yards at 127.2 per game.

South Carolina: Gamecocks receiver Troy Williamson plans to forgo his senior year and the chance to catch passes in Steve Spurrier's "Fun'n'Gun" offense to enter the NFL draft.

Williamson wrote the athletic department that he wanted to turn pro next season, school athletic spokesman Kerry Tharp said Wednesday. Tharp said Williamson thanked the athletic department and wrote that he enjoyed his years at South Carolina.

Williamson had 43 catches this past season and led the Southeastern Conference with 835 yards. He scored seven touchdowns and was named first-team All-SEC. If Williamson stayed healthy next season, those numbers figured to rise significantly with the addition of the pass-happy Spurrier as South Carolina's coach.

Spurrier said soon after arriving last month that he would try and help Williamson judge his pro potential and make an informed decision.

"It appeared that it was obvious that Troy was thinking of entering the NFL draft," said Spurrier, who was on the road recruiting. "We wish him all the best and hope he has an outstanding pro career."

Offensive assistant leaves: Spurrier also announced offensive line coach John Latina has resigned less than two weeks after taking the job.

Spurrier replaced Latina with John Hunt, who coached with Spurrier at Florida and then again with the Washington Redskins.

"John Hunt has worked with me for several years and he knows our system extremely well," Spurrier said. "He's an excellent football coach and just an excellent person. He'll be a great fit for our program."

Latina left to pursue another job, according to Spurrier.'s Ivan Maisel reports that job is likely on Charlie Weis' staff at Notre Dame.

Cincinnati: Cincinnati quarterback Gino Guidugli has the cast off his broken throwing hand and expects to start when the Bearcats play in the Fort Worth Bowl next week.

Guidugli made about 30 throws in practice, a day after getting his cast removed and making 20 throws.

"It's going good, better than I thought it'd be, and better than the doctors thought it would be," he said after practice.

Guidugli, the holder of most of Cincinnati's passing records, broke a bone on the top of his right hand Nov. 20 when he slipped outside his home and tried to brace his fall. He missed the regular season finale Nov. 27 against Louisville, a 70-7 loss by the Bearcats (6-5).

Guidugli isn't able to take snaps from center yet, and is practicing from shotgun formations. He plans to try to get under center by Sunday but doesn't consider that a requirement to play in the Dec. 23 bowl against Marshall (6-5).