Heisman Trophy winner Barry Sanders, showing the elusiveness that enabled him to set 20 NCAA records last season, refuses to say whether he will return to Oklahoma State University for his senior season or opt for the NFL.
Sanders was in Philadelphia on Tuesday to pick up the Maxwell Trophy as the outstanding collegiate player of the year. The Philadelphia Eagles' quarterback received the Maxwell's Club's Bert Bell Award as the outstanding pro player of the year.In Tuesday editions, the Wichita (Kan.) Eagle-Beacon quoted the 5-foot-8 Sanders as saying: "I'm planning on returning (to Oklahoma State). Right now I'm in school getting ready for next season and some exams."
But in Philadelphia, Sanders said, "I don't remember saying that. I've done a thousand interviews this year. I can't remember what I say."
Sanders shattered 20 NCAA records last season, gaining 2,628 yards and scoring 39 touchdowns for an average of 232 yards and more than three touchdowns per game.
Sanders told The Associated Press on Sunday that he had made his decision, but was not ready to announce his intentions.
The 20-year-old Sanders was asked why he would want to return to Oklahoma State, which has been suspended for three years from bowl games and for two years from television appearances because of recruiting violations.
"It's my intent to get a degree," he said. "A lot of times I think I'm not old enough to go out in the world."
Sanders has been urged by his father and by his brother, Brian, a running back at Northwestern, to leave college and turn pro.
"My brother told me that he'd ring my neck if I don't leave," the running back said.
"My father realizes that this is my decision. I have to make it. I'd like to make my father happy, but I'll decide."
Sanders said he has not hired an agent.
"I don't trust too many people. If I make a decision to go, I don't know if I can trust anybody with my money," he said.
Because he is a junior, Sanders would have to plead special circumstances to the NFL to become eligible for the regular April draft instead of the supplemental draft several months later.
Cunningham apologized for missing the Maxwell news conference last month to announce his selection for the Bert Bell Award.
Cunningham said the furor awakened him to his off-field responsibilities.
"I'm seeing myself grow as a person," Cunningham said. "I've matured and a lot of people helped me."