Originally created 03/18/03

Georgia players drop lawsuit seeking tournament bid

ATHENS, Ga. -- Two Georgia basketball players dropped their lawsuit seeking the right to play in the postseason.

Starters Ezra Williams and Steven Thomas decided Monday the lawsuit was pointless after the NCAA selected its field of 65 teams Sunday night, their lawyers said.

The university pulled out of the conference and NCAA tournaments last week after an investigation showed evidence of academic fraud by two players. Neither Williams nor Thomas was accused of wrongdoing.

"We remain concerned about our players, but sometimes life is hard, sometimes life is not fair," university lawyer Ed Tolley said.

Judge David Sweat denied a temporary restraining order l

last week, but scheduled a hearing Monday. That was too late for Georgia because the Southeastern Conference tournament ended Sunday, and the NCAA field was set hours later.

"There's always next year," Sweat said.

William Claxton, an attorney for Williams and Thomas, said there was no reason to proceed because the university was prepared to argue it would need at least five days before the judge ruled on the case.

Williams, a senior, and Thomas, a junior, were not in court Monday. Georgia is on spring break.

The players claimed their ability to get NBA contracts would be hurt if they were denied the chance to play in the postseason. They also say the team was not given proper notice before the school withdrew from the tournaments, and by taking such action Georgia breached the terms of the players' scholarships.

Former player Tony Cole, who was kicked off the team last year, has accused assistant coach Jim Harrick Jr. of teaching a bogus class on basketball coaching. Cole said he never attended the coaching class but received an A.

Two other players - starters Chris Daniels and Rashad Wright - were also in the class and got As. They were declared ineligible March 10 for academic fraud and unethical conduct.


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