No Bowl Play For Huskies, Pac-10 Decides -- Penalties Beyond 1- Year Ban Possible; Ratification Vote Today
SAN FRANCISCO - The University of Washington will not be able to go to any bowl this season because of NCAA rules violations in its football program, the Pacific 10 Conference governing body decided here yesterday.
The proposal that the schools' presidents will vote on this morning calls for a bowl ban of at least one year, and possibly other penalties, conference sources said.
Six of the nine presidents and chancellors, with Washington President William Gerberding abstaining, must agree to the penalty for it to be ratified. They can adopt or amend the proposed sanctions, which may also include television restrictions and scholarship cuts.
The presidents and chancellors typically accept the actions of the 30-member conference council of athletic administrators, who made the decision yesterday after eight hours of closed-door deliberations at an airport hotel.
The university also has informed Husky boosters Jim Kenyon, Jim Heckman, Roy Moore and Clint Mead that they have been disassociated from the Washington athletic program because of NCAA rules violations, said attorneys for Kenyon and Mead.
Heckman and Moore said they hadn't been told he had been disassociated.
Boosters who are disassociated cannot contribute money or participate in certain other Husky programs, such as offering summer jobs to athletes, said Mead's attorney, Ron Neubauer. He said he was told that by UW assistant attorney general Mark Green.
Jim Collier, UW vice president of university relations, said the boosters' status "might be discussed" on the presidents' conference call at 8 a.m., but refused to comment on any other aspect of the case. The Pac-10 tentatively scheduled a press conference for 9 a.m. to announce the finalized penalty.
Tom Hansen, Pac-10 commissioner, declined comment on the council's findings but lauded Washington's efforts to root out its own problems.
"Washington did everything you could ask of a member (school)," he said.
The penalties are the toughest given to a Pac-10 football program since Arizona was kept out of bowls and off television in 1983 and '84.
Washington was accused by the conference of 24 violations, including one that served as an umbrella for several mini-violations stemming from the misuse of recruiting funds for campus visits by prospects.
The sanctions are also the most severe handed to the Huskies since 1956, when a two-year bowl and two-year television ban went into effect for violations related to a booster-administered slush fund for players.
Bowl bans typically damage a program in terms of prestige and recruiting. Financially, however, it would have a minimal effect on Washington because the conference splits all excess bowl revenue 10 ways. The Huskies would be entitled to their share of the $6.5 million Rose Bowl payout, which netted each school $550,000 last year.
Television restrictions would take a larger bite out of the Washington revenue pie. As part of the conference television contract with ABC, each participating school receives $320,000 for a nationally broadcast game and $160,000 for a regional game, Muldoon said.
Washington played five times on ABC last season, and another three times on Prime Ticket.
To prevent other conference schools from being hurt, the council had the option of permitting the Huskies to play on live television but denying them their share of the revenue, Muldoon said. That arrangement would allow their opponents to receive their share of the funds.
Scholarship cuts save a school money but can have a more lasting effect on the team. Limiting the number of new recruits tends to hurt a program several years after the penalties are enforced, when the prospects that the school lost would be juniors and seniors.
The evidence produced by conference and university investigators generated a picture in which boosters, if not always intentionally breaking the rules, made efforts to get around them on behalf of the Huskies.
Among the most serious of these violations that Washington admitted to was a summer jobs program sponsored by Kenyon, a Los Angeles-area booster who has employed more than 50 Husky athletes since the 1970s. The conference and university agreed that athletes, including current running back Beno Bryant, were either paid for work that was not performed or were not given enough work to merit their salary.
Players involved in any violations must be declared ineligible by the school, which can then petition the NCAA for their reinstatement.
In a letter addressed yesterday to Washington Athletic Director Barbara Hedges, an attorney for Kenyon chastised the university for "once again trying to avoid responsibility for its own acts." He accused the upper administration of trying to make scapegoats of the boosters in order make itself look good.
"If any rules violations occurred, the university bears much of the blame for failing to give proper guidance to people like Jim who were sincerely trying to help student-athletes," Patrick Walsh wrote in the letter.
Herb Mead, a Seattle-area booster and father of Clint Mead, was accused by the conference of six violations but all but one were dismissed by the conference Compliance and Enforcement Committee, which reviewed the case two weeks ago, Neubauer said. Mead escaped being disassociated because the one violation that stuck was minor, an improper contact with current Husky D'Marco Farr when Farr was in high school, Neubauer said Green told him.
Clint Mead, 26, however, was found guilty of two recruiting violations - including the allegation that Clint promised recruit Johnnie Morton that his father would adopt him if he signed with Washington.
"I guess the Pac-10 can do whatever it wants when you win too many football games," Neubauer said.
Moore had been charged with three violations, including lining up an improper high-school job for quarterback Billy Joe Hobert at his SeaTac golf course. Heckman, son-in-law of Don James and a business associate of Herb Mead, was also cited for recruiting abuses.
The strength of the penalty indicates, though, that the conference held more than the boosters responsible for violations.
Washington specifically admitted a "lack of institutional control" over its handling of recruiting funds for on-campus visits, in which player hosts allegedly kept money or gave it to recruits, and turned in false expense forms. No effective system to monitor the abuse was in place, the school acknowledged.
Another violation that the school may have been held accountable for - or at least was in the mind of the council when it voted on penalties - was the loan to Hobert, who had told coaches and recruiting coordinator Dick Baird that he was seeking a loan. The committee grilled quarterbacks coach Jeff Woodruff about what he knew, or should have known, about the loan.
After the Pac-10 presidents and chancellors vote, the conference findings and penalties go the NCAA enforcement staff and Committee on Infractions for review. The NCAA has sat in on some interviews during the Washington case and has kept in contact with the school and conference. The NCAA has the right to increase the penalties. It cannot reduce them.
The next time the NCAA Committee on Infractions meets is Sept. 17-19 in Denver, but it probably will not find time to review the Washington case until its Nov. 12-14 in Kansas City, said David Berst, director of enforcement.
Muldoon said the council yesterday did not discuss the penalties recently handed to Auburn University in Alabama. But the sanctions quietly set the stage for the Washington case, because of the NCAA's ultimate review.
In penalizing Auburn, the NCAA cited six major violations in Pat Dye's football program, three of them involving cash payments to former Tiger Eric Ramsey from boosters and coaches.
Besides a one-year television blackout and two-year bowl ban, Auburn was also told to reduce its football scholarships over a three-year period.
The Pac-10, unlike the NCAA, does not designate violations as "major" or "secondary." like the NCAA. But Washington had admitted to several that could be termed major, including the $50,000 loan to Hobert, the summer jobs provided by Kenyon, and the lack of institutional control over recruiting funds.
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