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Kentucky sophomore Eric Manuel, charged by the NCAA with...

By BRIAN MALLOY

LEXINGTON, Ky. -- Kentucky sophomore Eric Manuel, charged by the NCAA with cheating on a college entrance exam, had the same answer as the student sitting next to him on 211 of 219 questions, it was confirmed Friday.

The university Friday released most of the details of the cheating allegation against Manuel, but his exact test scores were not revealed after Manuel won a Kentucky Court of Appeals decision staying their release until the court has the opportunity to hear the entire case.

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Manuel, Kentucky's only returning starter who has sidelined himself this season until questions over his test are resolved, had failed to meet minimum NCAA requirements on two previous college entrance exams. He took the American College Test in Lexington again on June 13, 1987, his last chance to qualify to play at Kentucky as a freshman.

'A comparison of answer sheets indicates that 211 of 219 answers on the exam were identical, and of the seven of eight answers that were different, the blackened space marked by Manuel was adjacent to the space marked by the other student,' the allegation said.

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The charge said the other unnamed student scored a composite score of 24 on the test. The university had confirmed earlier that Manuel scored a 23, far exceeding the minimum score of 15 required by the NCAA's Proposition 48. He had previously failed to meet the minumum required score on two Scholastic Aptitude Tests he took in his home town of Macon, Ga.

The allegation further charged that Manuel refused both the university's and NCAA's request to sign a release form authorizing the comparison of his test booklet with that of another student.

Manuel, who is awaiting verification of his test scores from ACT officials, has denied any wrongdoing in the test, and the allegation said he told university and NCAA officials he did not copy off the test.

The university was also charged in the allegation with failing 'to satisfy its conditions and obligations of membership in that it failed to verify Manuel's 1987 test score' and 'failed to question the validity of the ACT test score, even though it was inconsistent with the young man's academic achievement record.'

Because Manuel would be declared ineligible for his freshman season if he is found to have cheated and the university is also named in the allegation, it appears possible the university may be required to forfeit all of its victories in which Manuel participated during the 1987-88 season.

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'I don't know the answer to that,' NCAA Director of Enforcement S. David Berst said Friday.

'To my knowledge, I don't think anybody at the university knows the answer to that,' said UK spokesman Bernie Vonderheide. 'I don't think we've been a part of that discussion.'

Manuel participated in 26 of 27 of Kentucky's victories in that season, and also helped win the 1987 Southeastern Conference championship. The title, $473,585 in revenues gained from its participation in the NCAA tournament and the 26 victories could be forfeited if such a finding were to be made by the NCAA Committee on Infractions.

Forfeiting those games would reduce to 1,431 the total number of victories by Kentucky, allowing North Carolina to pass Kentucky as the college basketball team with the most victories in the nation.

The university, which has now released the details of all 18 of the charges against the program, is scheduled to respond to the NCAA by Jan. 30.

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