Georgia Tech Coach Bill Curry says his suspension of four players, including starting quarterback John Dewberry, just days before the All-American Bowl was vital to prevent "anarchy" on his team.

"This is not intended to embarrass the players we've had to suspend. It is simply intended to maintain order on our team," said Curry, whose team will meet Michigan State on New Year's Eve in Birmingham. "If you have a rule, you must keep it," he added.

Starting wide receivers Gary Lee (the team's top pass catcher) and Toby Pearson and reserve fullback Charles Mack were suspended along with Dewberry on Saturday for violating a 1 a.m. curfew Friday night -- the Yellow Jackets' first night in Birmingham . . .

Former Marquette basketball coach Al McGuire says cheating in college athletics is exaggerated and actually encompasses no more than 3 to 5 percent of the nation's schools.

"Anybody who thinks somebody like Notre Dame cheats needs their head examined," he said. "I'm not justifying cheating, but how are you going to stop somebody from selling a ticket or a $20 handshake?

"The key thing is, athletes should be paid $75 or $100 a month so they don't have to go pimping around, finding which person on campus has money. I'm not copping a plea, but there are X amount of kids out there who don't have any money. The TV package in the Big East is frightening. I think sometimes we're more worried about things like that instead of taking care of our kids."

Did McGuire cheat?

"I would do some things only because there's human nature involved," said McGuire, who now is a TV color analyst for NBC's college basketball broadcasts. "When you have a kid who doesn't have any money and his parents don't have any money, what are you going to do at Christmas and he doesn't have anyplace to go for Christmas dinner?" . . .

Nevada-Reno's basketball coach, Sonny Allen, says he has a "quick, simple solution" to stop the payoff scandals plaguing college sports: Forgive everybody and start all over again.

He says the practice of giving money under the table to star players has "gotten out of hand," and the NCAA doesn't have the staff to investigate all the violations fairly and quickly.

Instead, he suggests everyone gets a reprieve, with all the schools starting with a clean slate in September.