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Archive for Saturday, July 16, 2005

Football hit with recruiting restrictions

July 16, 2005

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Kansas University's football team, accused of several improper academic practices in 2003, must adjust its recruiting strategy as a result.

For eight NCAA violations self-reported by KU and released to the media Friday, the football program will lose one scholarship in the 2005-06 and 2006-07 recruiting seasons. In addition, the Jayhawks only will be able to recruit three players from junior colleges in each of those seasons.

The latter is a big blow, considering KU has averaged nine juco signees per recruiting season since head coach Mark Mangino's arrival in 2002.

"The recommended penalties to the athletic department based on my review and research of case precedent indicated a reduction of about two-thirds of what you'd normally do," said Rick Evrard, an attorney for an Overland Park law firm that conducted the two-year internal investigation.

Mangino was unavailable for comment Friday, but said through a team spokesperson that he would comment on all issues when the NCAA investigation was complete.

As part of the punishment, Mangino and assistant coach Clint Bowen were sent letters of admonishment for their parts in eight violations uncovered by KU -- Mangino because of "his overall responsibility for the program" and Bowen for his involvement with prospective junior-college transfers' attempts to pass correspondence courses in the summer of 2003.

Bowen was cited for helping enroll the prospective juco transfers in correspondence classes, monitoring their daily studies and setting up test-taking sessions with a proctor -- friend and Free State High teacher Jama Crady. Because the student-athletes weren't enrolled at KU and weren't part of the football team yet, Bowen wasn't allowed to assist in any way, as written in NCAA Bylaw 13.2.1.

Also, graduate assistants and student tutors (who were unnamed and identified only as "XXX" in the report) were cited as wrong in helping enroll seven prospective juco transfers in correspondence classes, monitoring their daily studies, permitting them to use computers in the coaches' offices, allowing three students to share answers for an online quiz, assisting to set up Crady as a test proctor, serving as a proctor for examinations when Crady was on vacation, helping prospective student-athletes with tutoring and answers to correspondence exams, and mailing exams to Brigham Young University on behalf of the students.

The graduate assistants and Crady, a former KU swimmer, also admitted to providing transportation to the prospective student-athletes between FSHS and KU, another violation.

Graduate assistants, student tutors and the prospective student-athletes weren't named in the report in compliance with federal law. But KU's two graduate assistants in 2003 were Mitch Running and John Papuchis. Running went to France to coach in a pro league in 2004, while Papuchis currently is an intern in the Louisiana State football office.

BYU was the only school named as a source of online classes in the report. Brigham Young's records office confirmed to the Journal-World on Friday that former KU juco recruits Shelton Simmons, John McCoy and Johnny Urrutia all enrolled in at least one class at BYU in the summer of 2003. They also confirmed several students with the name of Chuck Jones attended BYU, but couldn't say whether the former KU defensive lineman was one of them.

The records office then directed further questions to BYU's independent-study office, which wouldn't confirm the enrollment of any other students. Besides those four, Richard Estrella, Marcus Hicks, Zach Mims, Gabriel Toomey, Phil Tuihalamaka, Joe Vaughn and Monroe Weekley all were prospective junior-college transfers for the 2003 season. Only McCoy, who currently is serving a military tour of duty overseas, still is a member of the team.

An eighth violation regarded former assistant coach Tyrone Dixon providing clothing to an unnamed player, both as a recruit and a member of the team.

In all, the violations led to a minor scholarship loss, among other punishments. But athletic director Lew Perkins said Friday it was a major indication that such actions were unacceptable.

"There is a message being delivered in the fact that we're taking scholarships away that this is serious," Perkins said.

Mangino released a statement that was included among the hundreds of pages passed out Friday to media members.

"I am disappointed that this occurred under my watch," Mangino's statement read. "I did not know these violations were occurring at the time, but as the head coach I am aware that ultimately I am responsible for the actions of my staff.

"I believe the penalties we have self-imposed are appropriate. My staff and I have made a commitment to this University that we will not compromise with regard to academic integrity and NCAA rules compliance. We are deeply committed to both of these goals, and I have implemented safeguards to ensure that this will not happen again."

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