Keita accuses SJU, will sue

Three days before St. John’s closed out its worst season in its97-year history, former center Abe Keita made allegations againstSJU, claiming that he received $300 from a university official andthat he was discriminated against because of his race.

“Mr. [Abe] Keita claims that commencing during his first year inresidence at St. John’s in 1999, direct under the table cashpayments were made to him personally by a university official,”Keita’s attorney, Steven Spielvogel said in a statement on March 3,as reported in local newspapers.

“Mr. Keita believes that such cash payments constitute anunarguable and incontrovertible violation of the most fundamentalrules promulgated by the NCAA.”

University officials denied Keita’s claims and referred to hisdiscrimination charge as “simply not true.”

Keita, a graduate student, was permanently removed from the teamand banned from the University for one year after his involvementin a sex scandal in which several players violated team rules andwere alleged of rape after paying a woman they met a local stripclub in Pittsburgh for sex. Keita was averaging one point and tworebounds in 11.4 minutes per game.

Keita plans on filing a civil rights suit in federal courtagainst the university and has authorized his lawyers “to draft acomplaint, to be filed in federal court in Manhattan, allegingviolations of the United States constitution and federal civilrights laws by St. John’s University.”

The NCAA is looking into the alleged matter and St. John’sofficials said the university would “conduct an immediateinvestigation of the matter and take appropriate action, ifnecessary, to meet our obligations under NCAA rules.”

Before Keita’s allegations, SJU was hit with yet another blow ascaptain Andre Stanley was ruled academically ineligible prior to a103-78 loss to PC on Feb. 29.

St. John’s (6-21, 1-15) lone conference win came againstGeorgetown on Feb. 18. The 21 losses marked the most in schoolhistory as SJU didn’t qualify for the Big East Tournament for thefirst time ever.