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Former juco assistant sentenced to probation for fraud

WICHITA, Kan. -- A former junior college basketball coach
was sentenced Monday to two years of probation for falsifying
players' federal work-study timecards.

Matt Skillman pleaded guilty in September to fraud and
embezzlement while an assistant basketball coach at Barton County
Community College in Great Bend. He admitted mailing a falsified
transcript for one player and completing academic work for others
to help them obtain degrees.

Besides probation, the 30-year-old Skillman was ordered to pay
$26,259 in restitution. He could have been sentenced to a maximum
five years in prison on the embezzlement charge and up to 20 years
for mail fraud.

His attorney, Steven Gradert, did not return a phone call Monday
seeking comment. He has previously said his client was as motivated
by pressure to win as by a "desire to produce players to the
Division I schools and please coaches at higher levels."

Skillman, who worked at Barton County Community College for just
eight months in 2002 and 2003, was part of a ring of fraud at the
school that has led to numerous other charges.

Former head basketball coach David "Soupy" Campbell has
pleaded guilty to embezzlement and is awaiting sentencing. He came
to the college in 2003 to replace coach Ryan Wolf, one of three
others accused of taking part in the scheme.

Wolf is accused of recruiting basketball players, then helping
them get grants they were not qualified to receive and campus jobs
that paid them for work they did not do. He has pleaded not guilty
to 37 counts of fraud, theft and embezzlement. A hearing in that
case had been scheduled for Monday in federal court, but was
continued until Dec. 12.

Also charged are track coach Lyles Lashley and former assistant
basketball coach Shane Hawkins, both accused of lying to a federal
grand jury.

The scandal led to the firing of college president Veldon Law in
July.