Originally created 02/11/00

Barkley reinstated by NCAA



NEW YORK -- St. John's successfully appealed the suspension of sophomore guard Erick Barkley on Thursday, and he will play Saturday against Villanova.

On Tuesday, Barkley, the team's leading scorer at 16.9 points per game, was suspended by the NCAA for three games for an undisclosed rules violation. St. John's appealed that ruling even though he had already served one game -- last Saturday's victory over Boston College -- and missed a second that night at Providence, another victory for the Red Storm (15-6).

The Division I Subcommittee on Student-Athlete Reinstatement upheld St. John's appeal, reducing the suspension to two games.

"Erick is obviously very happy," St. John's coach Mike Jarvis said. "He appreciates the game more than he did before. He was glad to practice. Usually it's a chore. ... You get a sense of how relieved he is because he was concerned about his image and perception."

Through Jarvis, Barkley said he was going home after practice and would speak to the media after Saturday's game at Madison Square Garden.

"This is a time to move on," St. John's athletics director Ed Manetta said. "We're not going to get into specifics of the case because that has to do with a student's privacy and we're going to respect that right now."

Manetta wouldn't give details about the process that stretched almost a week, from notification of the possible violation to the appeal hearing.

"The NCAA interpreted rules differently than we did," he said. "The committee today ruled on what we presented and took a middle decision and that's frequently a good way to resolve them. This committee heard from both sides and made a decision on that."

The NCAA won't comment on specifics involving a decision without written permission from the athlete.

The violation in question concerned exchanging cars with a family friend, two sources familiar with the case have told The Associated Press.

Barkley traded his late model Jeep Cherokee for a bigger but older Ford Expedition that belongs to a family friend, said a source close to Barkley and another with knowledge of the matter, both speaking on condition of anonymity.

That exchange would have been a violation of NCAA rules if Barkley received preferential treatment because he is an athlete or if it constituted possible payback for when he turns professional.

Jarvis said that as far as details, "it was pretty much what I've been reading in the paper."

"It was just a matter of if the process were different then we wouldn't have ever had this situation in the first place. This is about the process. It needs to be changed and improved. You should be innocent until proven guilty," he said.

"If there was a problem with the fact there was an exchange of autos among the friends, the first thing was re-exchanging the cars. Again that would be common sense."

Jarvis made some strong comments about the NCAA last Saturday when the suspension was announced and he publicly apologized for using rape when describing his feelings.

"The outrage had to do with the fact that our arguments were based on common sense and any time someone is wronged when it just doesn't make sense, then that would obviously make anyone outraged," he said.