The University of Illinois "inadvertently" violated a new NCAA recruiting rule just weeks before it faced an Aug. 12 hearing before the association's infractions committee on more serious allegations, a published report says.

Illinois assistant basketball coach Dick Nagy told the Champaign-Urbana News-Gazette he didn't know he was violating an NCAA rule when he had in-depth discussions with two prospective recruits at July's Prairie State Games on the Champaign campus.

The two recruits were Juwan Howard of Chicago Vocational and Mark Davidson of Aurora Christian.

"The rule was changed last year and we weren't aware of it," Nagy told the newspaper. "The way the rule is written now, you can't talk to a recruit on the site, the day of the competition.

"We simply didn't know that the 'day of competition' had been inserted into the rule."

Nagy speculated that the rule was changed because other coaches thought Illinois had an unfair recruiting advantage during the annual statewide meet.

The newspaper cited an unnamed source who said school officials were upset about the incident occurring right before the NCAA hearing.

Illinois already faces allegations, centered on another assistant coach, Jimmy Collins, that could bring stiff sanctions on its basketball program. . . .

Clemson and Duke are reported close to arranging a 1991 ACC football season closer in Tokyo.

The game, scheduled for Dec. 1, 1991, at the 65,000-seat Tokyo Dome, is all but set, school officials told the Durham (N.C.) Morning Herald. It would be moved from an Oct. 16, 1991, date at Duke's Wallace Wade Stadium. . . .

Citing what it calls a weak field, the cable-TV sports network ESPN says it will broadcast only the championship game of this year's Great Alaska Shootout.

University of Alaska Anchorage, host of the annual preseason basketball tournament, said ESPN's decision would cost the school about $20,000 in lost revenue.

ESPN telecast five games in 1988 and four last year.