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Franchione Faces Allegations

Two weeks before accepting coaching positions at the University of Alabama, former TCU head football coach Dennis Franchione and linebackers coach Mark Parks were formally accused of racial discrimination and harassment by two Horned Frogs players.

The coaches deny the allegations.

In a complaint filed with the U.S. Department of Education and obtained by the Houston Chronicle, two unnamed TCU players said they were subjected to "racial slurs and stereotypical comments" from Franchione and Parks.

The documents do not identify the players, although Adrian and Allen Lewis have confirmed they are the "alleged injured parties" referred to in the documents.

The Lewises are twins whose father, Donald Lewis, is black and mother, Janelle, is white. The players state in the complaint that after having met their parents, Parks regularly would ask them if they were "black or white today."

"That was his thing. If he saw me wearing a cap on backwards, he would say, 'Oh, you must be black today,'" Allen Lewis said. "If I was dressed up nicely for something, he would say, 'Oh, you're white today?' It just went on and on."

The complaint describes three years of mistreatment, and attributes other racist comments to Parks, including: "I am glad we finally have some white players on the team, instead of the team being all black.

"All you people care about is chasing (women), fine clothes, fancy cars and good times."

Parks said he could not comment on specifics of the matter, but he denied that any of the allegations are true and said he will be exonerated by the Office of Civil Right's investigation.

"I 100 percent totally deny making any such statements," Parks said in Saturday's editions of the Chronicle. "I've been doing this for 10 years, and this is the first time anything like this has ever been said about me. It's unfortunate that someone would go to these lengths for personal gain."

The Lewises said they have not retained the services of an attorney but are considering doing so. Their complaint, which is being investigated by the Department of Education's Office of Civil Rights, was received in that office Nov. 15, 2000.

The complaint says Franchione suspended Adrian Lewis from the team after a halftime incident during the Horned Frogs' season opener against Nevada on Sept. 9, for making "eye contact with a white woman when she gave him a high-five."

Franchione denied the allegations in the complaint, saying internal investigations at TCU "have uncovered no evidence of harassment or discrimination of any sort, and I am confident this situation will be resolved soon.

"I have coached 28 years ith a mission of developing people first and football players second," Franchione said in a statement Saturday evening. "In that spirit, I could not live with myself if I mistreated a person due to race, or for any other reason.

"I do not understand how the two players at TCU came to feel as they did, and I feel badly that they believed they had been mistreated."

Franchione, who had been at TCU for three years and led the Horned Frogs to a 10-2 record this past season, the school's most victories in 61 years, accepted the job at Alabama on Dec. 1. Parks, who has been an assistant under Franchione since 1992, joined him on the Crimson Tide staff shortly thereafter.

©2001 The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed