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IU's Knight has support of his players

Indiana basketball players rallied to Bob Knight's defense again Saturday, describing as "ridiculous" the accusation that their coach grabbed and berated a student who greeted him informally.

"It just baffles me that anyone would even consider letting coach Knight go over something like this," guard Dane Fife said.

Fife joined other players at a team meeting Saturday before attending the Indiana-North Carolina State football game at Memorial Stadium.

Fife was among the players who defended Knight this year when the coach was accused of choking a former player during a 1997 practice.

Center Kirk Haston said Knight has been trying hard to live under a "zero-tolerance" policy issued in May as a result of that investigation. "And for this to come out and for people to try to make a big deal (out of) this is ridiculous," he said. "We're trying to get ready for the season."

Knight denied he grabbed a student's arm and cursed him. He said he held the student's arm and lectured him about manners.

University president Myles Brand spoke with Knight on Friday evening, school spokesman Cristopher Simpson said Saturday. Simpson said a campus police investigation will be completed by Tuesday and sent to Brand, who will decide if Knight violated the zero-tolerance policy. The policy says the coach must not engage in "inappropriate physical conduct" with members of the university community. Such conduct could result in Knight's firing.

Simpson said the crux of the matter is what constitutes "inappropriate physical conduct." He said Brand will decide that after he reviews the police report. Brand could confer with the university's trustees before ruling. Simpson said the university considers the matter "extraordinarily serious."

The confrontation Thursday came when 19-year-old freshman Kent Harvey; his two brothers, Kyle and Kevin; and two friends went to Assembly Hall to pick up football tickets. Kent Harvey and Knight passed each other at a doorway.

Kent Harvey said he greeted Knight with, "Hey, what's up, Knight?"

"I said, "Son, my name is not Knight to you,' " Knight said at a news conference Friday night. " "It's coach Knight, or it's Mr. Knight. I don't call people by their last name, and neither should you.' "

Kent Harvey told the Herald-Times of Bloomington he did not hear Knight curse. One of his friends, Jon Browning, said he clearly heard the coach do it once.

Kyle Harvey told the newspaper that Knight "wasn't yelling exactly, but he has a pretty intimidating voice. He was in Kent's face and said something about respect and call me coach."

After accusations this year that Knight verbally and sometimes physically abused players, the university suspended him for three games and fined him $30,000 as part of the zero-tolerance policy.

The school also said he must follow a supervised code of conduct, which has not been detailed. The trustees are scheduled to meet Friday to review the code, which will apply to all coaches and athletes, Simpson said.

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