TUSCALOOSA, ALA., DEC. 17 -- The University of Alabama refused to back out of the Fiesta Bowl today, but agreed to measures to honor the memory of Martin Luther King Jr.

King founded the Southern Christian Leadership Conference, which asked that the Crimson Tide not play in the Jan. 1 game in Tempe, Ariz. The SCLC objected because Arizona voters defeated a proposal that would have made King's birthday a paid holiday for state employees.

"The SCLC could not have been more eloquent or persuasive in presenting the case for why the university should not {send the team}," said the university president, Roger Sayers. "Though our talks ended in thoughtful disagreement on the issue of attending the bowl, we did share certain goals and objectives for improving race relations both on campus and throughout the state."

A committee of faculty, staff and students agreed today that the school will set aside at least $100,000 from its bowl receipts to match contributions of $100,000 each from the bowl and its sponsor, Sunkist, to enhance academic programs that relate to minority issues.

Alabama will join with opponent Louisville and the Fiesta Bowl to honor King. The Alabama band will wear shoulder patches and join in a halftime tribute. The players, many of them black, voted unanimously to accept the bowl bid and have voted to wear armbands and to present to the bowl a portrait of the civil rights leader slain in 1968.

The university also will reactivate an advisory committee for minority affairs "to promote full representation by African-Americans in the life of the university."

State Rep. Alvin Holmes, one of several black leaders who met with Sayers on Thursday, said: "In light of Dr. Sayers's sincerity and good-faith effort, I will not organize a demonstration at the University of Alabama campus or the Fiesta Bowl, nor do I think there should be a demonstration on the campus."