Assistant coach committed recruiting violations

Updated: June 23, 2004, 5:14 PM ET
Associated Press

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.


Copyright 2004 by The Associated Press