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SoCalHoops Recruiting News

Walter Small Not Leaving Quietly; May Sue
SDSU Over Scholarship--(May 22, 2000)

Last Friday, the San Diego Union Tribune reported that Walter Small (6'-4" So. F) held a press conference on Thursday to announce that he had requested a hearing date with university officials over the renewal of his scholarship.  According to the story by Ed Graney, a U-T sports staff writer, Small requested a hearing date of May 30 for resolution of the issue over the non-renewal of his athletic scholarship.   Small was diagnosed several years ago with Lupus, a sometimes debilitating neuromuscular disorder which is often difficult to diagnose and for which there is no known treatment, but says that the disease has been in remission, implying that when SDSU officials refused to renew his scholarship, offering instead a medical grant-in-aid, that they were discriminating based on his medical condition.

Small told reporters at the press conference that he does not want a medical scholarship, which would allow him to attend school at no cost, but not be a member of the basketball team.  Instead, Small wants his athletic scholarship renewed, even if it means that he will not play a minute. At the news conference, Small was asked why he would return to a team knowing there is no playing time available under coach Steve Fisher. "The most important thing to me is being happy in my life, and I'm happy here," Small told the UT. "If that means I would never play a minute, that's what it means."

Small called the  news conference to say he may sue the university if they do not reconsider the decision not to renew his scholarship, and he also intimated that the school may have engaged in recruiting violations.  Small said that "former coach Fred Trenkle and SDSU athletic director Rick Bay insinuated in separate conversations that his scholarship would be good for five years if the player remained in good academic standing and had no off-court problems," according to the article in the UT. A scholarship is only renewable year-to-year, and assuring a player that a scholarship is renewable beyond one year might constitute an NCAA violation.

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