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UF's DeClercq rebounds from diary flap

A newspaper report landed a University of Florida basketball player in NCAA trouble _ and it was his own report.

Clearwater's Andrew DeClercq was ruled ineligible by UF on Sept. 24 because of a diary he had written for the Gainesville Sun detailing his summer trip to Russia as a member of the U.S. Goodwill Games team.

An NCAA committee agreed to restore DeClercq's eligibility last week after reviewing details of the case.

NCAA rules prohibit student-athletes from writing sports-related articles for commercial publications. UF football player Anthony Ingrassia had to petition the NCAA recently to continue writing restaurant reviews for the school newspaper.

"Some of the rules the NCAA has are a little questionable," DeClercq, a senior, told the Sun. "Something as innocent as writing a diary and having it printed shouldn't be a violation."

In DeClercq's case, the problem was compounded when the newspaper used a front-page promotion to draw attention to the diary. The promotion could be interpreted as using the 6-foot-10 center's basketball fame to help sell newspapers.

"Putting it on the masthead made it go from bad to worse," UF associate athletic director Jamie McCloskey said. "I had to raise the question of why I didn't know about this, why our staff didn't know, why Andrew didn't come ask us, why the coaching staff didn't know, why the Sun didn't ask."

_ JOHN ROMANO

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