The University of Tennessee, claiming it has made a thorough investigation of allegations of academic fraud in its athletic program, is giving itself a clean bill of health.

"The result is pretty much what we have always said," general counsel Beauchamp Brogan said yesterday. "We found no violations of NCAA rules at all. No cover-up. Nothing."

Brogan's office has been reviewing allegations raised by ESPN's Internet magazine Sept. 26 of tutors doing homework for UT athletes, particularly football players, as far back as 1995, and administrators failing to tell superiors about it.

* U-CONN. WOMEN FAVORED: Defending champion Connecticut is favored to win its ninth Big East women's basketball title over Rutgers, according to a preseason poll of the league's coaches.

The Huskies got 10 first-place votes, for 142 points, while Rutgers was named at the top of the remaining three ballots and had 135 points.

Connecticut F Svetlana Abrosimova was picked to repeat as the conference player of the year. The league coaches chose her teammate, Kennitra Johnson, a guard from New Albany, Ind., a preseason rookie of the year.

Notre Dame was third with 121 points, Boston College fourth with 112 and Georgetown fifth with 90. Joining Abrosimova on the preseason Big East first team were fellow juniors G Tasha Pointer of Rutgers; G-F Shea Ralph, Connecticut; C Ruth Riley, Notre Dame; and Rutgers senior G Shawnetta Stewart.