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Arizona's Stoops apologizes for calling Sun Devils 'a J.C.'

TUCSON, Ariz. -- Arizona coach Mike Stoops apologized on
Thursday for saying that Arizona State has "turned into a J.C."

"Yesterday in my annual signing day news conference I
regretfully made some comments about sister institution Arizona
State University," Stoops said in a statement. "These remarks
were dutifully reported by the media, and not necessarily taken out
of context -- which was within some of my heartfelt observations
about the recruiting process and what it entails for individuals
and college football programs. But it was a personal mistake and
one for which I apologize."

Stoops was not available for further comment.

Stoops apologized for a comment made during a football signing
day news conference on Wednesday in Tucson. He said some recruits
had told him that it was easier to earn acceptance at ASU than at
Arizona.

"Each school has to recruit to that school and what type of
academic requirements there are," Stoops said then. "Obviously,
Arizona State has turned into a J.C. and we are a four-year
college. According to all the players, they say it is easier to go
to school there, easier to get in. I thought we had the same
requirements. It is news to me."

Even with the apology, Stoops' remarks are sure to turn up the
intensity in one of the Pac-10's most bitter rivalries. Tensions
between the football programs, located 90 miles apart, grew last
month when highly touted tailback Ryan Bass of Corona, Calif.,
backed out of an oral commitment to Arizona and said he would
attend ASU. Bass was among the 27 signees announced by the Sun
Devils on Wednesday.

Arizona signed only two players from the state -- seven fewer
than Arizona State. The disparity could be a byproduct of ASU's
three-game win streak in the Territorial Cup series. Stoops is 1-3
against Arizona State.

Stoops conceded on Wednesday that the Wildcats' recruiting might
improve if they defeat ASU more often.

"I am disappointed we didn't sign more kids from the state of
Arizona," Stoops said. "When you don't have the success it hurts
you probably the closer you are to home.

"They have beat us three years in a row," he said. "We have
to go out and beat them and play better than they do, and hopefully
we will have a better year recruiting."