Work in Sports
Buchanan cleared; Cottrell benched
Alabama ticket fixing investigation finds no wrongdoing
Posted: Thursday October 14, 1999 06:14 PM
TUSCALOOSA, Ala. (AP) -- The NCAA cleared Alabama wide receiver Shamari Buchanan to play against No. 22 Mississippi on Saturday, finding no wrongdoing in the dismissal of a traffic ticket the player received earlier this year, school officials said Wednesday.
But a suspension did emerge from the school's investigation into the Buchanan ticket. Crimson Tide assistant Ronnie Cottrell has been benched for the Ole Miss game, the school announced in a news release.
University officials said they decided to suspend Cottrell "for matters related to the Shamari Buchanan issue" after consultation with the Southeastern Conference.
Cottrell said in the statement he accepted the suspension.
Buchanan was held out of No. 11 Alabama's game against Florida while school officials investigated whether the ticket dismissal was a violation of NCAA rules.
"We received word today that Shamari would be eligible to play, and we are happy that his playing status had been reinstated," Tide coach Mike DuBose said Wednesday. Buchanan, a backup receiver from Atlanta, received a ticket in Calhoun County for traveling 87 mph in a 70 mph zone Jan. 6. The charge was dropped April 19, according to a review of records by The Associated Press.
Alabama sports information director Larry White had said that if Buchanan received special treatment, it could be an NCAA violation and could affect his eligibility.
The investigation involving Buchanan was part of a widespread probe stemming from allegations of ticket fixing that prompted acting Department of Public Safety Director Mike Sullivan to resign and the suspension of three aides to Gov. Don Siegelman.
Cottrell's suspension was only for the Ole Miss game. He was to continue coaching in practice and return to game work the following weekend, the school said.