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Thursday, November 7
Taylor: 'The NCAA uses kids all the time'

Associated Press

HOUSTON -- Houston Rockets forward Maurice Taylor declined to criticize a former University of Michigan booster Thursday after the school announced it would punish its men's basketball program for a scandal involving the booster.

Michigan forfeited the games it won in 1992-93 and from 1995-99, along with its 1992 and 1993 Final Four appearances because of some former players' involvement with former booster Ed Martin, who pleaded guilty in May to conspiracy to launder money. It also said it would not compete in the 2003 NCAA Tournament

Martin said he took gambling money, combined it with other funds and lent the money to former Michigan star Chris Webber and other players, including $105,000 to Taylor.

"He never did anything wrong to me. As far as I know, he's a good guy,'' Taylor said following Thursday's Rockets practice. "I'd never call him a criminal. He's the guy that's always nice and cordial toward me.

"Me taking something from him, I can't call him a criminal. It's a chapter in my life that's closed.''

Taylor, currently serving a five-game NBA suspension for violating the league's drug policy, did have strong words for the NCAA.

"The NCAA uses kids all the time,'' Taylor said. "There is not a kid getting paid in college. The NCAA gets paid off of every major guy that is in college. It's definitely hypocritical.

"How can you be making money off somebody else and not giving anything to them? And when somebody is trying to get something to help themselves to get into school, to help their family while they're in school, how can you fault them for that?''

Taylor said NCAA policies are causing high school players to look past getting a college education.

"If you look at anybody that can play nowadays, coming out of the top 20 to 25 (high school players), they look at college as a pit stop,'' Taylor said. "Even if they look at college, the first thing you hear is: `I've got to make a better situation for my family.'

"Going to college is not making that happen. At the max, it's four more years of struggling.''

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