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  • Lawsuit to protect coaches from litigation moves ahead

    Oct. 14, 2004
    SportsLine.com wire reports

    KNOXVILLE, Tenn. -- Attorneys have withdrawn their motion to dismiss a lawsuit requesting a judge to rule that information coaches give NCAA investigators cannot be considered defamatory.

    The American Football Coaches Association and the NCAA filed a lawsuit in March against a former Alabama recruit and Tennessee player and his mother after they threatened to sue Tennessee coach Phillip Fulmer over statements he made to NCAA investigators about them.

    Attorneys for Kenny Smith and Vicki Smith Dagnan on Thursday filed a notice with the Knox County Chancery Court to withdraw their motion to dismiss the lawsuit, according to documents obtained by The Associated Press. A hearing on the motion to dismiss had been scheduled for Friday.

    "We have decided we are going to go forward with the case and we are going to file an answer to the lawsuit," Memphis attorney Philip Shanks said.

    "I'm not in the least surprised," Fulmer's attorney, Jeff Hagood, said about withdrawing the motion.

    According to NCAA documents leaked from a federal criminal case involving a former Alabama booster, Fulmer told an NCAA investigator in 2000 that there were rumors Kenny Smith's mother was involved with an Alabama assistant coach.

    The Smiths filed a defamation lawsuit against Fulmer in an Alabama court, which was dismissed this summer for lack of jurisdiction.

    The coaches' lawsuit was filed in Knoxville, and Fulmer was later added as a plaintiff.

    The Smiths' attorneys filed a notice earlier this month that they want to take Fulmer's deposition on Nov. 10, a bye week for the Volunteers.

    But Shanks wrote to Fulmer's attorneys that the date could be changed if necessary.

    The NCAA contends threats of litigation would make coaches reluctant to provide information in investigations.

    The Smiths do not believe coaches should be given special legal protection.

    AP NEWS
    The Associated Press News Service

    Copyright 2004, The Associated Press, All Rights Reserved

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  • DJRamFan
    Jury ready to hear Neuheisel suit; motion hearing Thursday
    by DJRamFan
    Jan. 27, 2005
    SportsLine.com wire reports

    KENT, Wash. -- A King County Superior Court jury was seated Wednesday to hear former Washington football coach Rick Neuheisel's lawsuit against the university and the NCAA.

    Judge Michael Spearman planned to hear motions Thursday that will determine what evidence is presented to the jury when testimony begins next week.

    Opening statements were scheduled for Monday.

    Neuheisel believes the university wrongfully terminated his contract, and that the NCAA improperly influenced his employment by encouraging Washington administrators to fire him.

    The university maintains he signed a contract that allowed for his firing for acts of dishonesty. School officials have said Neuheisel was fired for gambling on NCAA basketball and failing to be forthright with NCAA investigators.

    AP NEWS
    The Associated Press News Service

    Copyright 2004-2005, The Associated Press, All Rights Reserved
    -01-27-2005, 01:28 PM
  • DJRamFan
    NCAA cites Florida A&M for lack of institutional control
    by DJRamFan
    Aug. 8, 2005
    CBS SportsLine.com wire reports




    Florida A&M was cited for a lack of institutional control by the NCAA on Monday after an investigation found rampant violations regarding student-athlete eligibility and a failure by former football coach Billy Joe to adequately monitor his program.

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    The NCAA's notice of allegations listed 184 instances between 1998-99 and 2004-05 in which students throughout the athletics program were allowed to participate without meeting NCAA eligibility requirements.

    "Key personnel ... lacked acceptable levels of expertise and knowledge of these regulations resulting in an inadequate certification system and a number of improper certifications of its student-athletes," the report said.

    Most of those eligibility violations occurred under former compliance director Jonathan Evans, who is no longer at the school.

    The school had earlier made public the results of itsr internal report and volunteered to strip scholarships in almost every sport -- including 28 in football -- and impose a one-year postseason ban on its men's basketball team next season.

    This comes two months after Joe and two assistants were fired by the school, which cited alleged NCAA rules violations in recruiting and eligibility as the reasons for dismissal. Joe has since sued the school.

    The school will have until Sept. 5 to review the charges and respond. The NCAA Committee on Infractions is scheduled to hear Florida A&M's case during its Oct. 14-16 meetings in Colorado Springs, Colo.

    AP NEWS
    The Associated Press News Service

    Copyright 2004-2005, The Associated Press, All Rights Reserved
    -08-09-2005, 12:13 PM
  • DJRamFan
    Barnett to go before grand jury probing Colorado scandal
    by DJRamFan
    July 30, 2004
    SportsLine.com wire reports

    DENVER -- Colorado football coach Gary Barnett was called Friday to appear before a grand jury investigating his program's recruiting practices.

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    Barnett did not immediately go before the panel. He wouldn't comment to reporters.

    He was suspended in February for comments he made about two women who accused football players of rape, then was reinstated in May after an investigative panel concluded he shouldn't be fired.

    The grand jury investigation is the first indication criminal charges could be filed in a scandal that led to sweeping changes in the football recruiting program and a scathing review of university leadership.

    At the governor's request, Attorney General Ken Salazar's office has been investigating. Salazar already decided against filing assault charges on allegations involving nine women dating to 1997, citing concerns about the evidence and the reluctance of the women to go forward with the cases.

    The grand jury has heard from players, director of football operations David Hansburg, campus police and others since May. Legal experts have said they think investigators are trying to figure out whether university funds were misused, among other things.

    Salazar's office has declined to comment.


    AP NEWS
    The Associated Press News Service

    Copyright 2004, The Associated Press, All Rights Reserved
    -08-02-2004, 03:23 PM
  • 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, 08:33 AM
  • DJRamFan
    Colorado indicted by grand jury in recruiting scandal
    by DJRamFan
    Aug. 22, 2004
    SportsLine.com wire reports

    DENVER -- A state grand jury has handed down an indictment regarding the use of prostitutes to entice football recruits to the University of Colorado, according to a published report.

    The Denver Post reported the development in its Sunday editions. The newspaper, however, does not say who is named in the indictment. Whomever is indicted will be notified within 10 days and then will have 10 days to respond.

    Ken Lane, spokesman for Colorado Attorney General Ken Salazar, did not return a phone call from the Associated Press seeking comment Sunday.

    Among those who testified before the panel were football coach Gary Barnett, Athletics Director Richard Tharp, several players and Pasha Cowan, the former manager of an escort service.

    Cowan said football recruiting aide Nathan Maxcey paid her $2,500 for three call girls to visit "very young, very athletic men" at Boulder-area hotels. Maxcey has denied any wrongdoing.

    The grand jury began its work in May after Gov. Bill Owens called for an investigation into allegations that the Colorado football program used sex, strippers and alcohol to recruit promising athletes.

    A commission appointed by the university regents concluded that players arranged sex, drugs and alcohol for recruits but said there was no evidence Colorado officials "knowingly sanctioned" the activities.

    Still pending are federal lawsuits filed by three women who say they were raped by recruits or players in December 2001.



    AP NEWS
    The Associated Press News Service

    Copyright 2004, The Associated Press, All Rights Reserved
    -08-23-2004, 10:40 AM
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