The Associated Press
TALLAHASSEE, Fla. — Florida State officials yesterday ruled two more players ineligible for Saturday’s season opener against Virginia.
Investigators said offensive lineman Marcus Long could have been permanently banned if he hadn’t acknowledged his presence at a dinner paid for by a prospective agent.
Long, a 320-pound sophomore guard, was declared ineligible for the first two games of the season while offensive tackle Forrest Conoly will also continue on an indefinite suspension.
“There are still some unresolved questions concerning Forrest Conoly,” Florida State President Talbot “Sandy” D’Alemberte said in announcing the latest suspensions.
The defending national champions will open the season without five players who took gifts from prospective agents in November 1993.
All-America linebacker Derrick Brooks and tailback Tiger McMillon were earlier suspended for two games and offensive guard Patrick McNeil for three. McNeil and Conoly are two of the most experienced players on the offensive line where Long hoped to compete for playing time this fall.
However, the suspensions have been determined by D’Alemberte and do not satisfy NCAA regulations. The NCAA filed suit last week seeking to void a state law that interferes with its ability to rule on eligibility questions in the state of Florida.
If the suit is not settled by Florida State’s Sept. 17 game at Wake Forest, the school would be forced to re-examine its present suspensions.
Long was not completely forthcoming in his initial interview, according to the investigative report from a Kansas City law firm.
“Had Long not re-contacted us voluntarily and had we been required to prove the informaton he did report, his suspension may have been permanent,” wrote attorneys Michael Glazier and Richard Evrard.
Long told the attorneys he was among several Florida State players who accepted a free meal from a prospective agent at a Tallahassee restaurant.
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