Chuck West, who as a senior would have been the top returning scorer on American University's basketball team, will not play for the Eagles this year because of a "minor violation" of the school's conduct code, according to Athletic Director Joseph O'Donnell.

O'Donnell said yesterday he could not comment specifically about West because his case is protected by a student privacy act, but added: "If it was serious, the incident would be public."

O'Donnell did not say when the decision not to allow him to play was reached, nor would he discuss West's future availability. He has one year of eligibility remaining.

West's case was handled by American's Conduct Council, a judicial board of three students, one faculty member and one staff member. The Conduct Council deals only with nonacademic grievances, according to council administrator Stacey Morgan-Foster.

American Vice Provost Maurice O'Connell, who heads the Conduct Council, was unavailable for comment.

West, a 6-foot-3 guard from Central High School, averaged 12.4 points and 4.1 rebounds last year for the Eagles. He was unavailable for comment yesterday at his Seat Pleasant home, as was Coach Ed Tapscott. -- Bruce Pascoe