Conflicting testimony at ex-coach's hearing

Published: Saturday, January 28, 2006 at 6:01 a.m.
Last Modified: Saturday, January 28, 2006 at 12:00 a.m.
STARKVILLE, Miss. - A judge heard conflicting testimony Friday on whether Oktibbeha County jurors could remain objective in a lawsuit between former Mississippi State University football coach Jackie Sherrill and the NCAA.
The hearing on a change of venue motion for Sherrill's $15 million lawsuit will continue in March.
Testimony included a historian from the University of Mississippi describing the history of the Mississippi State and University of Mississippi rivalry.
A former Oktibbeha County circuit clerk testified that county residents followed jury instructions and acted with integrity.
The lawsuit accuses the NCAA and other defendants of conspiring to "disparage the reputation" of Sherrill.
The school's football program last year was placed on four years probation, stripped of eight scholarships over two seasons and banned from postseason play because of infractions that occurred while Sherrill was the head coach.
The NCAA's infractions committee reported that it had found that two former Mississippi State assistants and several boosters committed recruiting violations between 1998-2002.
But allegations of unethical conduct against Sherrill were dismissed.
Sherrill filed suit saying the allegations hurt his reputation.
The NCAA questions whether it can get a fair hearing in Starkville.
  • PENN STATE: Coach Joe Paterno was selected the Walter Camp Football Foundation's 2005 Coach of the Year.
    The Nittany Lions capped an 11-1 season with a Big Ten championship and a 26-23 triple-overtime victory over ACC champion Florida State in the Orange Bowl on Jan. 3.
    Paterno completed his 40th season as Penn State head coach and has a 354-117-3 record. He has led the Nittany Lions to 32 bowl appearances and two national championships (1982, 1986). The team has finished the season ranked No. 3 or higher nine times.
    The Walter Camp recipient is voted on by the nation's 119 Division I-A coaches and sports information directors. It is the third time that Paterno has received this honor (1972 and 1994). He is one of two coaches (Bob Stoops, Oklahoma, 2000 and 2003) - to win the award more than once since its inception in 1967.
  • SENIOR BOWL: The Senior Bowl quarterbacks are a motley crew of oft-injured, longtime backups and prolific passers from schools not exactly renowned for their football tradition.
    They're all hoping to use today's showcase game for college seniors as a springboard to becoming NFL quarterbacks - or, in the case of Penn State's Michael Robinson, perhaps an NFL tailback or receiver.
    There's Georgia's D.J. Shockley and Robinson, who weren't fulltime starters at quarterback until their senior seasons but led their teams to league championships. There's Jay Cutler of lovable loser Vanderbilt - perhaps the most highly regarded of the bunch - and Darrell Hackney of UAB.
    There's Alabama's Brodie Croyle with the surgically repaired knees and Charlie Whitehurst of Clemson.
    "All of us have something in our college careers that makes people wonder, 'Can they get the job done?' " said Shockley, who will play for the South along with Croyle and Hackney.
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