SOUTH BEND, Ind. -- Several new reports of rules violations at Notre Dame may prompt the NCAA to delay a decision on penalizing the school over a former booster's relationship with football players, an official said Tuesday.
Jack Friedenthal, chairman of the NCAA Committee on Infractions, also disputed reports the panel was divided over how to discipline Notre Dame.
The panel meets this weekend in Tucson, Ariz. A decision in the Notre Dame case was expected months ago.
"There's no special reason, no big controversy in the committee," Friedenthal said of the delay.
Notre Dame was called before the committee in June after reporting that former booster Kimberly Dunbar had given gifts worth thousands of dollars to as many as 12 players.
At the time, a decision was expected within 4-6 weeks. Friedenthal said a number of things have delayed the decision, including a request this summer for more information from the university.
Still, he said any delay thus far has had nothing to do with the fact that it's Notre Dame in front of the board.
"We treated this like any other case," said Friedenthal, who became committee chairman earlier this month. "We didn't put any more energy, time, thought or anything into this case than we did for any case over the year."
The university last week announced that it had reported three more possible rules violations to the NCAA, including an allegation that a part-time tutor wrote a paper for a former athlete.
It also included allegations that an athlete sold complimentary tickets.
The university has declined to say which athletes were involved, but backup quarterback Eric Chappell was suspended from the team last week amid reports that he tried to sell complimentary football passes.
School spokesman Dennis Moore said Notre Dame requested a delay in a NCAA's decision.
"Basically, it was just a matter of we've got these two things, so let's combine them," he said.
Friedenthal wouldn't say whether the committee had planned to issue a ruling on the Notre Dame case after this weekend's meeting.
Depending on whether the board decides to delay its decision, Friedenthal said a final report could come within weeks.
"We normally try to do what's in the best interest of the schools that are involved in a reported violation, but we'd have to see what our staff says, what the NCAA people say and what our staff says," he said. "Normally, it's the institution that wants an earlier decision.
"But if they want a delay, that's an important action."
For a guy who "just walked in here," Michigan State tailback Lloyd Clemons is doing quite nicely as Sedrick Irvin's replacement.
Irvin had three consecutive 1,000-yard rushing seasons for the Spartans before leaving for the NFL and coach Nick Saban was looking for someone to step up.
Clemons, Irvin's backup in 1998, has and Michigan State is 3-0, ranked No. 19 and ready for its Big Ten opener against Illinois, also a surprising 3-0.
"We didn't know much about his past and didn't really recruit him," Saban said of Clemons, a transfer from Rhode Island who was granted a sixth-year eligibility waiver by the NCAA. "There's nothing flashy about him but he has respect from the other players because of the way he competes. He's tough and doesn't make many mistakes."
In Saturday's 23-13 victory at Notre Dame, the 5-foot-11, 211-pounder from Detroit ran for a career-best 122 yards on 22 carries.
Clemons has 276 yards on 49 carries, and will be looking for his first touchdown against the Illini.
"He's brought some toughness here," Saban said, "plus we don't have anyone with experience at that position."
Clemons sat out the 1996 season after transferring, and missed the '97 season with a broken rib and back injury.
Can the end be near for LSU coach Gerry DiNardo?
After a 41-7 loss to Auburn -- the team's worst defeat since DiNardo became coach in 1995 -- LSU is 2-1 and facing 2-3 with its next games at No. 11 Georgia on Oct. 2 and against No. 3 Florida in Jacksonville on Oct. 9.
"This isn't what I expected at all," DiNardo said after the embarrassing loss to Auburn.
LSU was a nine-point favorite at home against a team trying to recover from a 3-8 season under new coach Tommy Tuberville.
As Auburn took a 24-0 halftime lead, many in the crowd of 80,000 were on their way home.
"I don't even think my mother was left after the first half," LSU linebacker Thomas Dunson said.
CALL IT A CAREER: Nevada tight end Darin Higgins called it a football career after his sixth concussion, which came on a hit during a loss to Oregon State on Sept. 4. The 6-foot-4, 224-pound senior from Susanville, Calif., was the second-leading TE last season in receiving yards with 517.
"The fear of something happening if he chose to try it again, the long term damage that could occur, it's not worth it," Nevada coach Jeff Tisdel said. "Darin is on track to graduate in May. He has a great future ahead of him."
Also, Miami linebacker Michael Smith's playing career ended after the senior had surgery on right knee. He tore his ACL in Saturday's 27-23 loss to Penn State.
HE'S THE BOMB: Dusty Bonner isn't Tim Couch, but he'll do.
Bonner, with 304 yards and five TDs in Kentucky's 44-35 win over Indiana, is eighth in the nation in passing efficiency (92-of-133 for 1,089 yards and 12 TDs). He's also third in total offense at 358.3 yards per game.
"This offense allows quarterbacks to do those kind of things, as long as you play within the system and do the things they ask of you," Bonner said. "It's tough, but at the same time, you can put up numbers. As long as we win, that's the most important thing."
Bonner has a huge challenge Saturday -- Kentucky (2-1) is at No. 3 Florida (3-0).
QUOTABLE: "I can envision being 0-11 and that would bother me," South Carolina coach Lou Holtz after his Gamecocks (0-3) lost to East Carolina 21-3 -- the team's 13th consecutive defeat.
For the first time under coach Joe Paterno, Penn State won consecutive games with under two minutes left. Travis Fortney kicked a 24-yard field goal with 1:20 left for a 20-17 win over Pittsburgh on Sept. 11; and Kevin Thompson threw a 79-yard TD pass to Chafie Fields with 1:41 left in Saturday's 27-23 win over Miami. ... When Michigan travels to Wisconsin, QB Tom Brady starts, Drew Henson plays the second quarter and coach Lloyd Carr decides who plays the rest of the game. ... Before beating Miami, Penn State's last road win against a Top 10 team was Oct. 15, 1994 -- 31-24 against Michigan. ... Forney is perfect for Penn State -- 6-for-6 on field goals, 18-for-18 on extra points. ... Purdue is 3-0 for the first time since 1969.
Texas A&M's home winning streak is at 14 games, and the Aggies are 50-4-1 in the 1990s at Kyle Field. ... Oklahoma QB Josh Heupel set four school records in the Sooners' 41-10 rout of Baylor. Heupel was 37-of-54 for 420 yards and three TDs, setting marks for attempts, completions, yards and total yards. He broke his own week-old records for completions and yards set in the 49-0 win over I-AA Indiana State. In that game, he also set a school mark with five TDs.
Marshall has the most wins in the 1990s among I-A and I-AA teams with 104, but overall the Thundering Herd just passed the .500 mark (441-440-44) with the win over Bowling Green. ... With four TDs in a 35-14 win over Eastern Michigan, Miami of Ohio RB Travis Prentice broke Ricky Williams' NCAA record for games with two or more TDs. Prentice has 22 multiple TD games. ... Kent, 33-point underdogs, gave Pittsburgh a scare before losing 30-23 and extending the nation's longest losing streak to 16 games. ... Buffalo's first season in I-A took a hit when I-AA Connecticut beat the Bulls 23-0 and held them to 6 yards rushing.
Oregon TB Ken Simonton leads the nation in rushing, averaging 185.6 yards as the Beavers are 3-0 in their quest for a winning season for the first time since 1970. Naturally, the 5-foot-7, 170-pound sophomore credits his offensive line. "It means everything to my hogs," Simonton said. "They come out and put in the work, they need to see positive results for what they're working for."
While Florida is the league's winningest team in the 1990s, Vanderbilt is the losingest at 31-71 (.304) entering Saturday's games against Duke. ... The SEC says its average starter is 6-foot-1Ü, 237.6 pounds -- QBs are 6-2Ü, 212 pounds. ... Auburn backup Gabe Gross, who lost his starting job to Ben Leard three quarters into the season, quit the team and will play baseball only for the Tigers. ... Alabama has now lost its third game of the season three years in a row. Last week, the Tide lost to Louisiana Tech 29-28; the last two years, they were beaten by Arkansas. ... Auburn ended a seven-game league losing streak with its 41-7 win over LSU. ... Florida is 32-1 against SEC teams and 18-0 against the SEC East at Florida Field in the 1990s.
Louisville's 41-36 loss to Illinois at home probably hurt Chris Redman's Heisman Trophy chances even though he threw for a season-best 450 yards. Redman was 39-of-60, with three TDs and two interceptions. ... Nevada WR Trevor Insley, after grabbing 14 passes for 212 yards in the Wolf Pack's 72-10 loss at Oregon, has 44 catches for 600 yards in three games. He leads the nation in both categories. He needs 974 yards to break the NCAA record of 4,518 yards set by Wyoming's Marcus Harris. ... Utah QB Darnell Arceneaux is 8-0 as a starter after a 38-18 win over Utah State.
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