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Is Bob Knight punishing his team by canceling the annual basketball awards banquet?

That question was flying today after the local Kiwanis Club, which sponsors the banquet, announced that a secretary to Knight telephoned that the banquet set for April 9 in Assembly Hall was being canceled.Indiana lost its final game of the regular season Sunday, 61-59 at Purdue, costing the Hoosiers a share of the Big Ten title. And instead of being the No. 1 seed in nearby Dayton or Cincinnati, Ohio, for an NCAA tournament regional, Indiana is No. 2 in Boise, Idaho, playing Eastern Illinois at 10:35 p.m. EST Thursday.

Kiwanis Club president Craig Tenney said on Monday, "At 9:20 this morning, coach Knight's secretary called up and canceled the banquet and said we would never have it again and he would reimburse us for all expenses.

"There was no reason given to us at all. Coach Knight didn't even have the decency to talk to us personally. I'm not vindictive, but of course I'm upset. We've put this on for 41 years. This would have been our 42nd year."

Tenney said a caterer had been hired, guests and dignitaries invited and hundreds of tickets sold.

Attempts to reach Knight and other Indiana athletic officials were unsuccessful.

"I can't believe anyone would be so cold to his players," Tenney said. "She (Knight's secretary) said coach has thought about this for years and we weren't going to have it this year or in the future.

"We just want the public to know, `Hey, this is not our fault. We just got a phone call this morning."'

Tenney said ticket buyers (the event cost $7.50) would be reimbursed. The event usually attracts crowds of about 2,000.