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Saturday Morning News

Indiana Student Alleges Harassment by Bobby Knight

Aired September 9, 2000 - 8:10 a.m. ET

THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.

MILES O'BRIEN, CNN ANCHOR: Indiana basketball Coach Bob Knight is back in the hot seat with university officials. A 19-year-old freshman says Knight grabbed him and yelled obscenities at him on campus Thursday. Knight is denying the allegations. It seems the only thing they can agree on is that the incident began when the student called Knight by his last name only.

For more on this story, we go to CNN's Chicago Bureau Chief Jeff Flock, who is in Bloomington, Indiana this morning.

Good morning, Jeff.

JEFF FLOCK, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Good morning to you, Miles, outside the basketball arena this morning, Assembly Hall here in Bloomington.

And you're absolutely right, both sides do seem to agree that it was calling Bob Knight by his last name alone that set it all off. Both sides also seem to agree that Knight took some exception to that, but what happened next is in some dispute.

As you report, the 19-year-old freshman, Kent Harvey, says that Knight grabbed him and cursed him. Knight says, however, that he was only trying to teach the boy some respect and did nothing inappropriate. This is all important, you may know, because of past actions. Bob Knight us under what they call a zero tolerance policy here at Indiana University. That means, "any inappropriate physical contact with a member of the university community results in his immediate termination."

According to 19-year-old Kent Harvey, the contact was inappropriate to him.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

KENT HARVEY, STUDENT: I lost my voice. I was so scared. I was intimidated. I couldn't talk at all really. So I just sat there and looked at him and he walked away. Eventually, he just talked about being respectful and like I should be respectful to older people.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

FLOCK: Bob Knight took some pains yesterday to explain his version of events, gathering reporters together, using a chalkboard and doing some demonstrations to try and make the case that he did nothing intimidating and nothing inappropriate. He brought along Assistant Indiana University Basketball Coach Mike Davis to try and support his position.

Knight says that he would essentially have to be crazy to have any kind of inappropriate contact with students.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

BOB KNIGHT, INDIANA HEAD COACH: I would have to be an absolute moron, an absolute moron with the things that have been laid down on me to grab a kid in public and curse at the kid in public as apparently it's been said that I did. And that is absolutely totally untrue.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

FLOCK: Sports talk radio last night in Indianapolis and here in Bloomington really lit up with this story and of course a lot of people pointing out that Bob Knight's version of events in the past had not necessarily corresponded too closely with reality, others pointing out that a lot of people have it in for Bob Knight and that the stepfather of Kent Harvey, the boy who made the allegations, has been a vocal critic, a former radio talk show host, has been a vocal critic of Bob Knight, his coaching and his conduct.

So, that's where we stand right now. It is in the hands of the university police, the Indiana University campus police. They are doing the investigation and then presumably the university will have some ruling on all of this. Of course, we will continue to watch it here from outside Assembly Hall and of course there's a big football game, it's the start of football season, Miles, here in Bloomington, a big football game today so we'll be talking to some folks as they head on to the football game about basketball to come -- Miles.

O'BRIEN: Jeff, on that point of the link to the talk radio show host, the stepfather of the person who's made the accusations here, clearly Bobby Knight is in a position where he virtually has a target on his back and he would be easy to set up. I'm curious, what's next for him? How does he, has he said his peace now and will he wait for the university to respond?

FLOCK: He presumably has in the press conference yesterday. The campus police have now, I think, interviewed everyone that they think is germane, although they're certainly looking for other witnesses if there's anybody else who can either corroborate one side or the other. The boy has four other corroborating witnesses and Coach Knight, as you heard in the press conference yesterday, has Mike David, the Indiana University assistant coach.

Next hour we will talk to a spokesman for the university, try to get some sense about what their next move is, and we'll also talk live with Mark Shaw, who is the talk show host who some people say it's somewhat suspicious that it would be his stepson who would make the allegation. We'll put that question to him -- Miles.

O'BRIEN: All right, looking forward to that. CNN's Jeff Flock in Bloomington, Indiana, thanks much.

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