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A University of Oklahoma backup quarterback who saw limited...

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KANSAS CITY, Mo. -- A University of Oklahoma backup quarterback who saw limited duty in only two football games this past fall has cost the Sooners two athletic scholarships for next season.

The Big Eight Conference confirmed Friday that Sooners had been penalized Dec. 6 for its use of Mike Clopton, who was found ineligible because he played five years of football at three institutions, including Oklahoma.

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The action was to have been kept private, but a Big Eight spokesman said Friday 'someone spilled the beans,' forcing a formal announcement.

The spokesman said the conference 'found no intent to violate the rules in question on the part of either Clopton or others associated with the University of Oklahoma.'

'The conference also acknowledged that the cooperation received from Clopton and other university representatives was full and complete. The conference action completes all proceedings in this matter,' he said.

The loss of the two athletic grants-in-aid would be for the 1985-86 academic year.

A fifth-year senior quarterback, Clopton participated in three plays in the Sooners' Sept. 29 game against Kansas State, which Oklahoma won 24-6. He also had a small amount of playing time against Baylor earlier in the month.

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Clopton was found to be ineligible because he played in two games for California Poly-Pomona in 1979 before transferring to Mount San Antonio Junior College, where he played two seasons.

The West Covina, Calif., native transferred to Oklahoma in 1983. He completed 12 of 25 passes for 207 yards and a touchdown as a backup quarterback. He was listed as the Sooners' No. 2 quarterback entering the 1984 season.

The Sooners claimed that since he never attended classes at Cal Poly-Pomona, a transcript was not forwarded to Oklahoma. They said they were unaware that he had participated in football in 1979.

At first it appeared that Oklahoma would have to forfeit its game to Kansas State, which would have cost the Sooners a conference co-championship and blocked them from being the Big Eight's representative in the Orange Bowl Jan. 1 against Washington.

Conference and NCAA rules require such a forfeiture, but they also provide an opportunity for an appeal. The Big Eight faculty representatives met Nov. 7 on the matter and announced it had granted the Sooners an exception from the forfeiture.

But at that time Bob Snell, the chairman of the league faculty representatives, said the conference 'will conduct additional investigations of the matter to determine whether rule violations are involved, calling for enforcement action.'

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The Big Eight then met again Dec. 6 and decided to strip Oklahoma of two of its scholarships.

Sooners Head Coach Barry Switzer said the ineligibility incident 'was unfortunate. It was involuntary by everyone. But just having Mike Clopton on our team and knowing him was worth two scholarships to me.'

Switzer said losing scholarships 'always hurts.'

But he said the team already was at 93, two under the 95 limit.

'We never sign 30 players anyway,' Switzer said.

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