<
>

Assistant coach committed recruiting violations

6/23/2004 - Oregon Ducks

PORTLAND, Ore. -- A University of 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.

The Pacific-10 Conference 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 university did not immediately comment, but scheduled an
evening news conference.

The unidentified assistant was suspended without pay for one
week 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.

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.

In details agreed upon by the NCAA, the university and the
assistant in question, the coach visited the recruit in his
hometown on Jan. 15, 2003. The recruit was undecided about going to
Oregon or the University of California at 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 had decided on Cal,
but the assistant tried to convince the prospect to attend Oregon,
"assuring him that if he changed his mind later, the assistant
coach would destroy the NLI," the NCAA said.

The assistant also reminded the player to write that the letter
was signed before midnight, the deadline for junior college
transfers, according to the Indianapolis-based NCAA.

The assistant agreed to meet the player, who was by then also 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 it,
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 dealine. 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.

The NCAA Division I committee said Oregon officials noticed
there was a problem with the letter the day after it was sent, and
that the assistant coach in question had never had a violation
before.

"It was the committee's conclusion that this violation, though
serious, appeared to be an uncharacteristic one-time lapse of
judgment of a well-established assistant coach," the governing
body said.