Tape shows Knight grabbing player

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The Independent Online

A videotape shows Indiana basketball coach Bob Knight grabbing a player by the neck during a practice and pushing him backwards.

Two university trustees are investigating the outspoken and controversial coach following recent reports from two former players that he physically abused team members.

Last month, CNN/Sports Illustrated reported former player Neil Reed's allegation that Knight choked him during a 1997 practice. The videotape obtained by CNN/SI and aired Tuesday night shows Knight grabbing a player by the neck, pushing him backward. The player's head appeared to snap backward.

Reed, who left Indiana in 1997, said he is the player on the videotape.

"I don't need a tape to tell me what happened," he told CNN/Sports Illustrated.

University officials who reviewed the tape Tuesday would not comment on its contents.

Officials had known of the tape's existence and had tried to obtain it in the past, university spokesman Christopher Simpson said. After viewing the tape, Simpson said he couldn't tell when it was made but is convinced of its authenticity.

Indiana president Myles Brand last month appointed John D. Walda, the president of the board of trustees, and Frederick F. Eichhorn, a trustee and former president of the Indiana State Bar Association, to investigate whether Knight physically abused team members.

The two flew to Atlanta on Tuesday to view the tape.

The findings of the investigation are due no later than the third week of June.

Reed said Knight choked him during a 1997 practice and also ordered Brand to leave a practice. Knight and Brand have denied the claims.

Knight also has denied an allegation by former Indiana player Richard Mandeville, who told CNN Knight once came out of a bathroom, pants around his ankles, and showed players soiled toilet paper, saying, "This is how you guys are playing."

In a separate report, former player Ricky Calloway said Knight punched Steve Alford and slapped Darryl Thomas. Both former players say the incidents never happened.

Knight was out of town and could not be reached for comment Tuesday. Knight declined an opportunity to view the tape before it aired, CNN/Sports Illustrated reported.

University officials investigated and rejected Reed's claims three years ago. Brand said athletic director Clarence Doninger interviewed the entire coaching staff and all team members, including Reed, in 1997. None of those interviewed, including Reed, made any specific allegations of abuse at the time, Brand said.

The allegations of abuse are the latest in a long line of incidents involving Knight.

Last summer, he was accused by a Bloomington man of choking him in a restaurant parking lot. The county prosecutor refused to file charges, saying Knight was provoked.

In the 1997-98 season, Knight was fined dlrs 10,000 by the Big Ten for berating referee Ted Valentine, whose officiating Knight called "the greatest travesty" he had seen in his coaching career. Knight received three technical fouls and was ejected by Valentine during the second half of a loss to Illinois.

But Knight remains popular with the state's basketball fans. Hundreds turned out last Sunday on the steps of the university's A as failures the former players who allege he abused them. Many former players also have issued statements supporting the coach.