News from the Tennessee Valley Sports



Former Alabama freshman running back Jamar Taylor has decided to officially leave the team.

The 5-foot-9 product of Lakeland High in Lakeland, Fla., enrolled in classes during the spring and had 44 yards on 10 carries in Alabama's A-Day game April 21.

According to both and, Taylor was a three-star prospect. Taylor committed to the Tide on June 7, 2006, as part of then coach Mike Shula's recruiting class.

It is unknown to where Taylor will transfer, though Alabama coach Nick Saban said that it would be in Taylor's best interest to go closer to home. Various published reports indicate that Taylor is looking to transfer to the University of South Florida.

Ball State

MUNCIE, Ind. — Ronny Thompson cited Ball State's internal investigation into alleged violations of NCAA rules in his resignation as basketball coach.

"Coach Thompson has expressed concerns about the process of the recent investigation of alleged NCAA violations and its conclusions," athletic director Tom Collins said at a news conference Friday.

Thompson resigned after a single 9-22 season as the Cardinals' coach in a letter Thursday to university president Jo Ann Gora.

Thompson and his staff broke NCAA rules last summer and in May by attending voluntary offseason team workouts, and they lied about their involvement in the May infraction, the school has said.

Thompson is a son of Hall of Fame coach John Thompson, who won a national championship in his 27 seasons at Georgetown. His brother, John III, led Georgetown to the Final Four last season.

The school has enlisted Indianapolis attorney Myra Selby, a former Indiana Supreme Court justice, to review Ball State's internal investigation into the violations.

Ball State did not buy out Thompson's contract, which called for Thompson to pay a penalty if he voluntarily left the school before the deal expired in March 2011.

Without identifying any candidates to replace Thompson, Collins said that search already was under way, with Ball State receiving calls and resumes Thursday.

Central Arkansas

CONWAY, Ark. — The University of Central Arkansas is installing a video scoreboard in Estes Stadium. The school says the board will be in use for the Bears' home opener on September 15 against Tennessee-Martin. The scoreboard is being erected at the south end of the stadium.

The board will feature a 30-by-17-foot video screen that will show instant replays, close-ups and other live and prepared content. The board will also be used for commercials. The current scoreboard at Estes Stadium has a message board only with no video capabilities.

"This new video scoreboard will help UCA as it makes the transition to Division I athletics," UCA athletic director Brad Teague said. "This piece of equipment will not only boost the university's image but it will provide an important enhancement to UCA's game-day experience at the stadium."

Teague said more improvements are coming.

"We have in place a plan to improve and enhance all our athletic venues and this is the first major, visible step in that direction. We're extremely excited," he said.

UCA has five home games this season. The home opponents are Tennessee-Martin, Texas State, Nicholls State, South Dakota State and Stephen F. Austin.


BATON ROUGE, La. — Designs for expanding the Pete Maravich Assembly Center and a new practice facility were approved by the LSU Board of Supervisors.

Construction is expected to begin in April after the basketball season and take about a year to complete, Eddie Nunez, LSU associate athletics director for project development said Thursday.

Architect Thomas Holden of Holden Associates in Baton Rouge presented the sketches and layouts, which require the demolition of ramps on the north side of the PMAC. Holden said steps and elevators will replace the ramps.

The practice facility, with multiple basketball courts, locker rooms and offices, will connect to the north of the PMAC. Besides the men's and women's basketball teams, the practice facility also will serve the volleyball and gymnastics teams. Construction will take up some minor tailgating space, Holden said.


KNOXVILLE — The head coach isn't getting a raise this year, but Phillip Fulmer's nine assistants will be getting a collective $161,000 boost in pay, Tennessee Athletic Director Mike Hamilton said. They also are getting contract extensions.

Tennessee's total payout to assistants and coordinators will jump 10 percent to $1.721 million. Hamilton called them "one of the best staffs in the SEC and the country."

The Vols went 9-4 last season, ending with a 20-10 loss to Penn State in the Outback Bowl. It was a big improvement over the 5-6 record in 2005, Fulmer's worst in 15 seasons.

Fulmer received a two-year contract extension in March that will keep him at UT until 2013, but for the second consecutive year no raise in his $2.05 million salary package.

Offensive coordinator David Cutcliffe and defensive coordinator John Chavis, both assistant head coaches, received three-year extensions through June 30, 2010. The rest will get two-year extensions through June 30, 2009, Hamilton said.


EL PASO, Texas — Texas-El Paso coach Mike Price was expected to be released from a hospital Friday after doctors implanted a stent to relieve a blocked artery in his heart.

Price, 61, was being seen Thursday for routine tests when doctors discovered a significant blockage in one of his arteries, said Angela Olivas, a UTEP spokeswoman.

Doctors performed an angioplasty and inserted a stent to increase the flow in the artery, which carries blood away from the heart. Olivas said the nonsurgical procedure went smoothly.

Price is preparing his fourth year as UTEP coach. Before coming to El Paso, Price was coach at Alabama but was fired before coaching a game after a night of heavy drinking at a Pensacola, Fla., strip club. Price denied a Sports Illustrated account that he had sex with strippers in his hotel room that night and later settled his defamation lawsuit against the magazine.

His previous head coaching stops included Washington State and Weber State.

- From Staff, Wire Reports

Copyright 2005 THE DECATUR DAILY. All rights reserved.
AP contributed to this report.

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