Holtz sounds off on the Gamecocks' NCAA violations
COLUMBIA, S.C. -- The statement of former South Carolina head coach Lou Holtz regarding the Gamecocks' NCAA violations and penalties as dictated to The Associated Press on Wednesday night:
"Comments by Lou Holtz. Either print all of it or none of it.
"I have previously refrained from commenting on the NCAA investigation because today was the first time I have seen the allegations.
"Let's examine what the three-year investigation and thousand of dollars spent by the NCAA did reveal. There was no money involved. No athletes were paid. There were no recruiting inducements. No cars. No jobs offered. No ticket scandal, etc.
"There were five major violations, and four of them involved our academic office. Concerning these four violations, you will have to consult the university.
"I did not have any control over the academic office. I didn't hire them. They didn't report to me. They didn't consult me concerning their actions, nor did I ever ask them to intercede on behalf of an athlete.
"I would like to comment on the five violations that concerned our football program, one of which was major.
"The major violation was when our strength coach conducted summer workouts as all other schools do and five athletes felt these workouts were not voluntary.
"I told our strength coach to ensure our athletes reported to fall camp in condition. Coaches can not run the risk of an athlete dying in camp because he was unaccustomed to the heat. I need not tell you, Columbia gets hot in August.
"This unfortunate incident happened, and since it has happened, the blame does not go anywhere except to the head coach.
"In hindsight, I should have dismissed the players from the team and taken their scholarships away. Is this how the NCAA thinks you should handle the situation? This rule should be changed because the coach is in a no-win situation.
"The other four were considered secondary and three of them were self reported. One, governor visited prospects at halftime of a basketball game. The football staff did not invite him, self reported.
"Two, our camp brochure had an illegal picture on it. The brochure was approved by the compliance office before it went to print, self reported. Six months later, the NCAA changed the rule and today it is not a violation.
"Three, I recruited an athlete and the media was present. The situation could not have been avoided, nor was it prearranged by me. I self reported this to the university the same day it occurred.
"The last one involved a student athlete who hosted a prospect and he drove him outside the jurisdiction allowed to pick up the prospect's friend and brought him back to our campus. The young man picked up was a prospect as well. Both athletes did not attend USC. You could even say both went to Clemson. The athlete was not instructed to do this, self reported.
"This includes all violations that I'm aware of that occurred during my six years.
"The three years probation without any restrictions says volumes. USC will still appear on TV; it will still be eligible to go to bowl games.
"I am sorry that any rules were violated, and I apologize for any embarrassment in my six years at USC. We tried to operate not only according to the letter of the law but the spirt of the law as well.
"In my six years at USC, we committed one major violation and I can understand how this happened, but I do not condone it.
"I wish Steve Spurrier and the Gamecocks the best. They will not have anybody pulling for them any harder than me."
Holtz will work for ESPN as a college football analyst this season.
Copyright 2005 by The Associated Press