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Archive for Saturday, April 22, 2006

Ex-recruit Weekley may have tipped investigators

April 22, 2006

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The Kansas University football team's recent troubles with NCAA violations, including allegations of academic fraud, may have surfaced as a result of former defensive end Monroe Weekley coming forward.

Friday's news conference, in which KU officials disclosed the NCAA's allegations, revealed nothing new concerning the football program, which lost one scholarship and was forced to follow junior-college recruiting restrictions as a self-imposed penalty stemming from eight violations.

However, NCAA allegation No. 4 came with an interesting clue. In it, former KU assistant Tyrone Dixon was alleged to have given improper gifts to a former KU recruit. The NCAA report says Dixon committed his first violation during an in-home visit to the recruit in Aliquippa, Pa.

Weekley was the only 2003 recruit from Aliquippa.

Thus, it appears Weekley may have started the football investigation. According to KU's self-report released last summer, an unidentified student-athlete approached faculty athletics representative Don Green in the fall of '03 - around the time Weekley was dismissed from KU's team - and said he received improper academic assistance.

An internal review later concluded the same athlete received illegal clothing items from Dixon - first at an in-home visit and later so the athlete could meet coach Mark Mangino's dress code in Lawrence.

Attempts to reach Weekley were unsuccessful. According to the self-report, the athlete cooperated for two interviews with attorney Rick Evrard, who conducted the internal investigation. He contacted the NCAA concerning his eligibility and then, suddenly and unexpectedly, chose not to cooperate further.

"It was a shock to me," Evrard told the Journal-World in a past interview. "But one of the things you have to understand when you're talking to these folks, we don't have subpoena power, we don't have any means of compelling these people to talk. All you really have is your hat in hand, and you want to be polite, honest and credible with them.

"He was the one who initiated the contact, so the questions we had for him were very straightforward."

Weekley, a highly touted yet troubled recruit, played 10 games at KU in 2003 before making his way into Mangino's doghouse. Mangino dismissed Weekley from the team before the Tangerine Bowl. Weekley also was dismissed from the Pittsburgh football team in 2002.

The subsequent investigation after the player's tip led to what the NCAA alleges is two cases of "academic fraud" and four allegations total. KU self-imposed some violations, but more could be upcoming this fall.

Duke added: KU has added a home-and-home football series with Duke for the 2009 and 2010 seasons. According to the Duke Web site, Kansas will travel to Durham, N.C., to play in 2009, and the Blue Devils will play in Lawrence in 2010.

Kansas also has a four-year series with Rice - two home and two away - planned for 2010-2013.

Cornish drafted: As expected, KU running back Jon Cornish was selected in the CFL Draft on Thursday. Cornish was picked by Calgary in the second round, 13th overall. He was the first running back taken.

Though he hasn't completed college and never declared any professional intentions, Cornish was eligible for the draft by being a native of Canada and having been in college four years.

In an interview during spring practice, Cornish said he hadn't spoken with anyone affiliated with the CFL and wasn't focused on anything but playing for KU.

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