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  • Oregon placed on two-year probation

    June 23, 2004
    AP

    PORTLAND, Ore. (AP) An Oregon assistant football coach violated NCAA recruiting rules when he tried to lure a junior college transfer to the school in January 2003, resulting in a two-year probation for the school.

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    The Pacific-10 school remains eligible for postseason play and does not lose any scholarships, NCAA spokeswoman Kay Hawes said Wednesday.

    The case centers on a "series of impermissible" contacts by the assistant and a national letter of intent that had a forged signature, the NCAA said. The athlete involved was not identified and does not attend Oregon.

    The assistant, Gary Campbell, was suspended without pay for one week during the last school year, and he was not allowed to recruit until January. The university also restricted the number of coaches allowed off campus to recruit last season.

    "We're trying to win the right way and we're not going to cheat," Oregon head coach Mike Bellotti said. "I feel very bad about this because it happened under my watch."

    The case was resolved without a formal hearing. The NCAA's governing body agreed with the university's proposed penalties and did not impose additional sanctions.

    "The violation was self-discovered here in the program, it was self-reported. We cooperated fully with both the Pac-10 and NCAA," said Bill Moos, Oregon's athletic director. "We're very proud of the fact we have not had a major NCAA violation in, I believe, 20 years. So we take this very seriously."

    In details disclosed by the NCAA, the university and the assistant coach, Campbell visited the prospect in his hometown on Jan. 15, 2003. The recruit was undecided about going to Oregon or Cal-Berkeley.

    After a visit with the recruit at his home that night, the assistant went back to his hotel and called the player back twice to ask if he had signed a letter of intent, the NCAA said.

    During the second call, the player said he decided on Cal, but the assistant tried to persuade the prospect to attend Oregon, "assuring him that if he changed his mind later, the assistant coach would destroy the (national letter of intent)," the NCAA said.

    Campbell also reminded the player to write that the letter was signed before midnight, the deadline for junior college transfers, according to the NCAA.

    The assistant agreed to meet the player, who was by then at a hotel to catch an early flight back to his junior college. Meeting a second time violated NCAA rules limiting contact between prospects and recruiters to once a week

    When the assistant arrived at the hotel, the player signed the letter of intent, forged his father's signature and added falsely that the letter was signed at 9:36 p.m., Jan. 15, the NCAA said, even though it was actually after the midnight deadline. The coach faxed the letter back to Oregon at 3:26 a.m. Jan. 16, 2003.

    It was also a violation for the assistant to be present when the player signed his letter of intent.

    "Obviously, this was a serious error in judgment, one that assistant coach Gary Campbell is very forthright about," Bellotti said. "I think he went to visit this young man thinking he was going to get a signed, valid letter, and when he did not, I won't say he panicked, but he made a serious error in judgment."


    AP NEWS
    The Associated Press News Service

    Copyright 2004, The Associated Press, All Rights Reserved

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  • DJRamFan
    Former Kentucky assistant disputes summary of testimony
    by DJRamFan
    Aug. 26, 2005
    CBS SportsLine.com wire reports




    LEXINGTON, Ky. -- A former Kentucky assistant coach on Friday disputed the summary of his testimony made in a court filing by a former colleague, in which the colleague alleged Tony Franklin said high-ranking university officials were aware of violations being committed by the football program.

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    Franklin, an assistant with Claude Bassett under then-Kentucky coach Hal Mumme, said that Bassett's attorneys, in a filing made Wednesday in U.S. District Court, offered a skewed version of Franklin's testimony during a deposition.

    Bassett, who was Kentucky's recruiting coordinator, is the central figure in an NCAA investigation that led to major sanctions. He sued the University of Kentucky Athletic Association, the NCAA and the Southeastern Conference last September, claiming they conspired to keep him from landing another college job and asked for $50 million in damages.

    In May, a judge dismissed all claims against the SEC and most claims against the NCAA and the university, but allowed a fraud claim against the university to stand, as well as a claim that the NCAA interfered with his prospective contract negotiations.

    According to Bassett's filing on Wednesday, Franklin testified during an Aug. 19 deposition that recruiting violations occurred both before and after Bassett's hiring. The filing also claims Franklin said Bassett wasn't the only one at Kentucky who committed violations, and that the violations occurred with the implied consent and to some extent, with the participation of administrators including former university President Charles Wethington, former athletics directors C.M. Newton and Larry Ivy and the university's current NCAA compliance director Sandy Bell.

    In an e-mail sent Friday to various "concerned parties," Franklin said that as of Thursday afternoon, he had not received a copy of the transcript of his deposition "and therefore have not read, agreed, or disagreed, to its contents. No one else, therefore, has received or read my signed sworn deposition."

    Franklin said "the document provided to the court was not my signed deposition" but instead "a one-sided summary of my testimony -- prepared and written by attorneys for Bassett."

    Bassett claimed in his filing that Franklin alleged Ivy told Franklin he "wanted to cover up these violations and avoid scandal to the University by firing Coach Bassett" and that Ivy went to Franklin "specifically looking for evidence to fire Coach Bassett," which Franklin provided.

    Robert Furnier of Cincinnati, one of Bassett's attorneys, said he had no comment "about anything Tony might say," citing a judicial order not to comment...
    -08-28-2005, 09:33 AM
  • DJRamFan
    House panel hears from Bloom in probe of NCAA
    by DJRamFan
    Sept. 14, 2004
    SportsLine.com wire reports

    WASHINGTON -- Jeremy Bloom told a congressional panel Tuesday that the NCAA cut his college football career short without giving him a fair chance to argue his case.

    Bloom, who would have been a junior receiver at Colorado this year, lost his college eligibility because of endorsement deals he received as a professional skier. He is a world champion in freestyle moguls and a 2002 Olympian.

    Officials of the NCAA called Bloom's endorsements willful violations of the rules, unlike similar cases that were deemed misunderstandings. They insisted Bloom had a fair hearing and every opportunity to state his side.

    "In the NCAA, the judgment of the dispute is formed exclusively within the organization by their own members," Bloom told the House Judiciary Committee's panel on the Constitution. "They're the judge, the jury and the executioner."

    Bloom's two-year fight with the NCAA came to an end two weeks before the regular season, when an NCAA panel turned down his final appeal to play football. NCAA rules allow athletes to accept salaries as professionals in other sports, but they aren't allowed to accept money from sponsors.

    Jo Potuto, vice chairwoman of the NCAA's Committee on Infractions, said the organizing body for college sports gives student athletes due process as required by the Constitution. This is done, she said, despite court decisions that have rejected arguments that the NCAA is a "state actor" and therefore subject to these requirements.

    "An even playing field means more than an evenhanded and consistent application of the rules on the field," Potuto said. "It also means an evenhanded and consistent application of the rules off the field."

    Although Bloom's case got the most attention at the hearing, the larger question of whether Congress should tell the NCAA how it should investigate and adjudicate violations of association rules struck a personal chord with many members of the House panel.

    Republican Rep. Spencer Bachus called the hearing after the NCAA imposed sanctions against two major college athletic programs in his home state of Alabama.

    More than two years ago, the University of Alabama's football program was placed on probation, banned from bowl games and stripped of scholarships for recruiting violations.

    This year, Auburn's basketball program was slapped with probation and a loss of a scholarship amid charges that an AAU coach improperly acted as a representative of the university by arranging to wire money to one high school prospect and get a car for another.

    Bachus didn't bring up the Alabama or Auburn cases during questioning, but he accused the NCAA of trying to "poison the atmosphere" by citing the cases in an NCAA news...
    -09-15-2004, 10:10 AM
  • DJRamFan
    Neuheisel admits he 'bid' but didn't 'bet' on tournaments
    by DJRamFan
    Feb. 16, 2005
    SportsLine.com wire reports

    KENT, Wash. -- Former Washington football coach Rick Neuheisel testified Wednesday that he did not believe he violated NCAA rules by putting $6,400 on the men's college basketball tournaments of 2002 and 2003 because he did not consider it betting.

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    He also acknowledged during cross-examination by a university lawyer that when he put up the money, he wasn't aware of school compliance officer Dana Richardson's erroneous e-mail authorizing NCAA tournament pools.

    Neuheisel, dismissed as Washington's coach in June 2003, is suing the school and the NCAA, alleging breach of contract and claiming the NCAA improperly influenced school officials to fire him. Neuheisel was hired last month by the NFL's Baltimore Ravens as their quarterbacks coach.

    The 2002 and 2003 pools Neuheisel put money into were auction-style pools conducted at high-rise office buildings in Bellevue and Seattle. People spent thousands of dollars to "own" a team and follow it through to the championship.

    "You were aware from your experience at NCAA Division I schools ... that it was against the rule to place a bet on intercollegiate athletics?" Washington lawyer Lou Peterson asked Neuheisel.

    "Yes, I did know that," Neuheisel responded.

    Peterson then challenged Neuheisel's statement that the pools involved bids, not bets, asking the coach if he had placed the money at risk.

    "I guess in those terms, it was," Neuheisel said, "but I did not think of it that way at the time."

    "Did you understand you may never see that money again?" Peterson asked.

    "Yes, and it didn't concern me. ... I didn't think of it as a bet. It was a friendly pool," Neuheisel said.

    He also said he stopped participating in a lower-stakes interdepartmental pool at Washington after his first season, when the NCAA cracked down on such activity.

    On Tuesday, his third full day on the stand in King County Superior Court, Neuheisel said he didn't believe the pools were illegal because no money was being retained by someone running the auction.

    Peterson asked Neuheisel whether he "knew it was possible to wager and win a lot of money?"

    "I knew you could do well," answered Neuheisel, who won $4,799 on his $3,610 investment in 2002, and $7,324 on $2,790 in 2003.

    AP NEWS
    The Associated Press News Service

    Copyright 2004-2005, The Associated Press, All Rights Reserved
    -02-18-2005, 08:50 AM
  • DJRamFan
    Mississippi State nailed with probation, lost scholarships
    by DJRamFan
    Oct. 27, 2004
    SportsLine.com wire reports

    JACKSON, Miss. -- Mississippi State's football program was placed on probation by the NCAA for four years, stripped of eight scholarships over the next two seasons and banned from postseason play this season because of recruiting violations.

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    The NCAA announced Wednesday that its infractions committee found two former assistants and several boosters broke recruiting rules between 1998-2002. But allegations of unethical conduct against former coach Jackie Sherrill were dismissed.

    Sherrill retired after the 2003 season and was replaced by Sylvester Croom. The Bulldogs (2-5) won their first Southeastern Conference game under Croom, the first black head football coach in SEC history, last Saturday when they upset Florida.

    The NCAA's decision came two months after Mississippi State expected it.

    "The uncertainty is gone," Croom said. "We can move forward and move our program in the direction we want it to go. ... We will not under my watch be in this situation again."

    Thomas Yeager, chairman and commissioner of the NCAA committee, said Croom's race was "immaterial to our conclusion," but credited Mississippi State for creating "a new atmosphere surrounding rules compliance."

    "There is a new direction with the program. ... Simply changing coaches does not necessarily mitigate (that) the committee will look favorably on that kind of personnel action," Yeager said. "In this case, it was a positive evaluation."


    Coach Sylvester Croom is glad the uncertainty is gone with the ex- pected sanctions. (Getty Images)
    The Bulldogs are allowed just 81 football scholarships for the 2005 and 2006 seasons, and are limited to 45 expense-paid recruiting visits in each of the 2004-05 and 2005-06 academic years -- 11 per year fewer than the maximum allowed by the NCAA.

    Mississippi State in April admitted to secondary rules violations within the football program, but denied the more serious NCAA allegations of offering to provide cash and other perks to recruits.

    The school had limited itself to 83 scholarships in the 2005-06 academic year as part of a self-imposed penalty -- down from the NCAA maximum of 85.

    The university received a letter of allegations from the NCAA on Dec. 2, detailing 13 possible rules violations, some by former assistants coaches Glenn Davis and Jerry Fremin.

    "The cloud that has been over the Mississippi State football program for the last four years certainly has not been fair to this institution, and it certainly has not been fair to (Croom) and his first year of trying to put it together," athletic director Larry Templeton said.

    Among the violations, the committee...
    -10-28-2004, 10:18 AM
  • DJRamFan
    NCAA clears Neuheisel, extends Washington's probation
    by DJRamFan
    Oct. 20, 2004
    SportsLine.com wire reports

    SEATTLE -- Former Washington coach Rick Neuheisel was cleared of wrongdoing by the NCAA on Wednesday for gambling in a college basketball pool, but the university had its probation extended two years.

    COMMENTARY
    Slick Rick walks
    by Dennis Dodd

    What's Your Take?
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    Washington's NCAA probation -- initially imposed because of men's basketball recruiting violations -- now runs until Feb. 9, 2007. The school was also reprimanded for failing to monitor the football program.

    Thomas E. Yeager, chair of the NCAA's Committee on Infractions, said that Neuheisel avoided punishment because the school's compliance officer had written memos mistakenly saying that participation in gambling pools was allowed.

    "Sports wagering is a problem that continues to threaten the well-being of student-athletes and coaches and the integrity of intercollegiate athletics," Yeager said. "If not for unique and unusual mitigating circumstances in this case, the outcome certainly would have been different. This case should not be interpreted in any fashion as a softening of the NCAA's antigambling position."


    The NCAA said it found no proof Rick Neuheisel intentionally broke the rules. (Getty Images)
    Neuheisel coached four seasons at Colorado before compiling a 33-16 record in four seasons with the Huskies, including a Rose Bowl victory.

    Neuheisel was fired in June 2003 by then-athletic director Barbara Hedges after he acknowledging taking part in a high-priced NCAA college basketball tournament pool.

    Neuheisel twice told Hedges that he had never taken part in gambling pools, when in fact he had won $11,219 in two of them - winnings he donated to a local school.

    "The important thing is to realize that, not only did they not impose any penalties on me but also, they came to the conclusion that I did not violate any rules, which is the way I had felt all along," Neuheisel said in an interview with College Sports Television, with whom he works as an analyst.

    The NCAA said in its report it was "very troubled" Neuheisel initially lied, but said that because of the memos, it could find no evidence that he intentionally broke the rules. Neuheisel was never charged with ethical violations for lying because he told the truth later the same day, Yeager said.

    The outcome could lead to Neuheisel's return to college coaching.

    "My hope is that someone will see this as vindication and that they will give me an opportunity. I think that, in the past, I've shown that I can do the job, and do it well," Neuheisel told CSTV.

    University attorney Lou Peterson said it would likely have no impact on a wrongful...
    -10-21-2004, 02:40 PM
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