Former Oklahoma starting quarterback Charles Thompson pleaded guilty today to a federal charge of conspiracy to distribute cocaine.

U.S. District Judge Ralph Thompson asked Thompson if he realized it was a virtual certainty that the former Sooner would have to spend time in prison."Yes, your honor," answered Thompson, who appeared in court in a suit and on crutches because he had re-broken his right leg, which was first broken in his last appearance for the Sooners in November.

Thompson was arrested Feb. 13 and accused of selling 17 grams of cocaine to an undercover FBI agent on Jan. 26.

The judge said he would await a report from the U.S. Probation Office before imposing a sentence.

The maximum punishment for the charge is 20 years in prison and a $2 million fine, plus a special assessment fine of $50,000.

In entering the guilty plea, Thompson waived rights to a jury trial and grand jury consideration of his case.

The charge against him stated that between July 14, 1988, and Feb. 10, 1989, Thompson "knowingly and intentionally conspired to distribute approximately 29 grams of cocaine" to federal undercover agents.

Federal prosecutors said they had tape recorded conversations between Thompson and federal agents to back up the charge.

Outside the courtroom, Thompson met briefly with reporters and apologized for the harm he said he had done to his family.