Hoops: Williams' Eligibility In Question

Freshman F Mike Williams was held out of Texas’ 92-47 exhibition game win against Lenoir-Rhyne Tuesday night until questions relating to his amateur status are resolved. Williams is one of three McDonald’s All-Americans on this year’s freshmen class.

University athletic officials are cooperating with the NCAA regarding potential eligibility questions relating to amateurism issues while Williams was in high school and Camden, Alabama and prior to his enrollment at Texas.

"I think the University is doing everything it can to get it resolved as quickly as possible," head coach Rick Barnes said Wednesday. "Until we can do that, there’s not much else we can say."

The issue involves improper benefits that the NCAA alleges Williams received from his Amateur Athletic Union summer basketball coach, according to the Austin American-Statesman. The article specifies that the alleged infraction has to do with travel benefits that Williams’ family received in 2001-02.

"We’re going to be faced with different situations that come up throughout the year," Barnes said. "We know how hard Mike has worked and we know how much he wants to play. When something like this happens, you have to go on about your business as if it were an injury. Somebody else is going to have to step in and do the job. "

C Jason Klotz also missed Tuesday’s exhibition (quad injury) and his status is "day-to-day", Barnes said.

"It’s a hard area to heal but right now our guess it’s that it’s day-to-day. "

Although he is currently without the services of two front court players, Barnes sees this as an opportunity to tinker with rotations during the pre-conference slate.

"I like to get guys into other positions," Barnes said. "We’ve never tried to put guys into positions and then put a fence around it and say this is all you can do. We try to help these guys become complete basketball players and make them as interchangeable as we possibly can so I don’t look at it as a problem. We’ll work through it."

Klotz’s situation temporarily puts on hold the redshirt status of true freshman C Conner Atchley.

"We have talked about but I also told him that, at this point in time, we haven’t made any definite decision with it. With the NCAA rules, if you play in an exhibition game, that counts."

No. 16 Texas concludes its exhibition season against Tarleton State, 7 p.m., Monday at the Erwin Center. The Horns open the 2004-05 regular season at home against Texas State, 7 p.m., Friday.

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