Kennard says he changed grade in 1999

COLUMBUS, Ohio -- A former Ohio State instructor said he
changed a failing grade for a Buckeyes basketball player because
the student was having personal problems.

Doug Kennard, now an assistant professor at Mount Vernon
Nazarene University northeast of Columbus, told The Associated
Press on Thursday that he received a phone call from a woman who
said she was part of a host family for Boban Savovic, who is from

"It wasn't a matter of him sleeping late and not coming to
class or not trying or anything," Kennard said.

Kennard said he changed the F for Savovic in spring 1999 when he
was a temporary instructor at Ohio State. The Columbus Dispatch
first reported the grade change in its Thursday editions.

Kathleen Salyers, an OSU booster who says she housed Savovic,
has said she persuaded professors to change Savovic's failing
grades so he would remain eligible to play. Salyers said she asked
for the grade changes at the request of then-assistant basketball
coach Paul Biancardi.

Now head coach at Wright State, Biancardi has denied the
allegation in court filings.

The school looked into Salyers' story about the grade changes,
Ohio State sports information director Steve Snapp said. He
wouldn't confirm what the university found, but said boosters are
not allowed to ask that student-athletes get special benefits.

Salyers has said part of her motivation for calling professors
was that she didn't want Savovic to be sent back to his war-torn

"It was in response to her discussion that I considered
changing the grade," Kennard said. "It wasn't from talking with
any coach or anybody in the university or anything like that."

Kennard said he couldn't remember whether he changed Savovic's F
in Rural Sociology to a D or to an Incomplete. Any change would
have had to be approved through the sociology department chair, he

Snapp said he did not know whether that was standard procedure
for the school's academic departments. A message was left with a
university spokeswoman seeking further explanation.

Savovic played at Ohio State from 1998 to 2002.

Salyers said in a lawsuit against her former employers that they
agreed to pay her to let Savovic stay with her. The case was one
reason the NCAA investigated the school's athletic department,
which resulted earlier this week in the NCAA notifying Ohio State
of nine allegations of rules violations. Seven of those accusations
concern the men's basketball program, though none allege

Ohio State has until July 26 to respond to the NCAA.