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MICHIGAN FIRES FISHER FOR RULES VIOLATIONS

Steve Fisher, who led Michigan to the 1989 NCAA title, signed the most heralded freshmen class in college basketball history and led the Wolverines to two more title games, is out as coach.

The announcement came Saturday, less than a week before college teams are allowed to hold their first practices, and two days after a law firm hired by the university found three minor NCAA rules violations and called into question Fisher's role in arranging complimentary tickets for a booster.

Athletic director Tom Goss said he met with Fisher on Friday and decided a change was needed.

"My conversation with coach Fisher yesterday did not focus as much on particular findings of the report as it did my sense of what we need to do to move forward with a program of which we are all proud," Goss said.

Goss said both he and university president Lee Bollinger were "troubled by evidence in that report that our basketball program has not been held to the standards we believe all programs at the University of Michigan should meet."

Goss said a search for a replacement will begin immediately. Assistant coach Brian Ellerbee will run the team until a successor is named.

Goss declined further comment on his talk with Fisher.

"I respect Steve Fisher and his right to privacy, so I do not wish to discuss in any detail the substance of our conversation," Goss said.

Fisher's departure comes as abruptly as his arrival. He stepped in for the fired Bill Frieder at the start of the 1989 tournament and led Michigan to six straight wins and the national title.

"My feeling is that he might be taking some heat for things that were kind of out of his control," said Loy Vaught, a member of the 1989 team now with the NBA's Los Angeles Clippers.

Fisher, 52, told the investigators he was responsible for only a few of the 32 complimentary tickets booster Eddie Martin received during a three-year period. But investigators found that Fisher made out 16 of the passes, and that his secretary or other clerical workers made out 10.

Report spurs investigation

TUCSON, Ariz. -- The University of Arizona is investigating a report that basketball star Miles Simon received preferential academic treatment, and is attempting to determine how a newspaper obtained his records.

In a story published Friday, The Kansas City Star suggested an NCAA investigation could find that Simon, the MVP of the NCAA Final Four, received special academic advantages to keep him eligible to play basketball.

"At this point we have absolutely no evidence of any violation of NCAA or university rules," said Michael Proctor, the university attorney heading the investigation. "We don't really see anything that was provided that other students couldn't get."

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