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NCAA: Illinois offered recruits money, cars

The University of Illinois offered basketball recruits incentives,including cash, a car, athletic equipment and personal photos, the NCAA charged in a letter released Friday by school officials.

Chancellor Morton Weir characterized the 11 allegations as serious and shocking, and said the university's internal investigation was not complete. He declined to say whether he thought any of the charges were true.

The Illini (18-5, 8-5) are currently ranked No. 15 in the nation.

Published reports have indicated the NCAA investigated charges that Illinois offered top prospect Deon Thomas cash and a car to sign, and offered substantial inducements to LaPhonso Ellis, who now plays for Notre Dame.

One of the most serious charges alleges that someone from Illinois offered a recruit $80,000 to sign and a Chevrolet Blazer upon enrollment.

Schintzius will pass up chance to play in Europe

GAINESVILLE - Former Florida center Dwayne Schintzius has decided to pass up a chance to play European basketball and await the NBA draft, his attorney said.

Ron Carpenter, a Gainesville attorney who has been representing Schintzius as a friend and not an agent, said money was not a factor in the 7-foot-2 senior's decision.

"After looking at (European basketball), he really decided he would be better off staying here in Gainesville spending his time in conditioning and training," Carpenter said Thursday.

FSU's Mayes arraigned, enters plea of not guilty

TALLAHASSEE - Florida State basketball player Tharon Mayes was arraigned Friday in Tallahassee and entered a written plea of not guilty to a charge of aggravated battery, assistant state attorney Tom Kirwin said.

Mayes, FSU's leading scorer, was charged after he allegedly struck an FSU parking services employee on Jan. 29. He was later suspended by the Florida State Judicial Office for the rest of February.

A trial date, if necessary, will be set on March 16, Kirwin said.

South Florida's Taylor is doubtful for tonight

TAMPA - University of South Florida junior guard Marvin Taylor is doubtful for tonight's 7:30 home game against Virginia Commonwealth at the Sun Dome.

Taylor, who injured his back in the Bulls' 75-56 loss at Old Dominion on Thursday, said his status is day-to-day and it's too early to tell when he'll be able to play.

Junior guard Tony Armstrong will probably replace Taylor in the Bulls' starting lineup.

- Times staff writers Bob Harig and Brian Landman contributed to this report.

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