Auburn's basketball coach, Sonny Smith, said his decision to resign after this season was not influenced by any school official. Smith also said no Auburn trustee or university official ever urged him to recruit more white players.

The Birmingham Post-Herald had quoted him as saying an Auburn trustee, State Finance Director Henry Steagall, tried to limit his contract. The story also spoke of "reports that the board member -- through channels -- sent word to Smith to recruit more white players."

"That's not true . . . ," Smith said. "There ain't nobody played a part in this but Sonny Smith."

Steagall also denied the report. He said, "I've supported the black players just as much as the white players . . . never tried to influence recruiting by race. I've considered many of the black players my good friend" . . .

A group of ministers, the predominantly black Raleigh Interdenominational Ministerial Alliance, has called for reinstatement of Chris Washburn to the N.C. State basketball team. The ministers criticized media overkill of Washburn's theft of a stereo and dismissal . . .

Jacksonville University Coach Bob Wenzel, 35, underwent surgery for a cerebral aneurysm and is expected to miss the rest of the Sun Belt Conference basketball season. Post-operation prognosis was hopeful.