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Archive for Thursday, July 13, 2006

Ex-Barton County coach convicted

Brauman found guilty of embezzlement, theft, mail fraud

July 13, 2006

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— Jurors on Wednesday found a former Barton County Community College track coach guilty for his part in a scheme to use work-study and campus employment programs to illegally pay athletes for work they didn't perform.

Lance Brauman was found guilty of one count of embezzlement, one count of theft and three counts of mail fraud for fraudulently using the federal work-study program and campus jobs to get around a Kansas Jayhawk Community College Conference ban on giving athletes full-ride scholarships and for causing false academic credentials to be sent to the University of Arkansas on an athlete's behalf.

Brauman, 36, was acquitted of three counts of mail fraud involving transcripts sent to Abilene Christian University in Abilene, Texas, for three student-athletes.

Brauman, who currently is an assistant track and field coach at the University of Arkansas, looked down while the verdict was read and shook his head after jurors left the courtroom. The jury took less than seven hours to reach the verdict.

Defense attorney Lee Davis said he respected the jury and the jury process, but disagreed with the guilty verdicts. He noted that trial evidence showed the practice of using work-study and campus employment programs to pay athletes was widespread at the college and had started years before Brauman was hired as a then-25-year-old coach.

"Obviously we have a system at Barton County Community College which was poorly run by the president of the college and encouraged by the board of trustees," Davis said in an interview Wednesday afternoon.

Brauman's case was the first to go to trial in a scandal that spawned charges against seven Barton County coaches and the athletic director and led to the firing of the school's president.

Brauman faces a maximum penalty of 20 years in federal prison and a fine of $250,000 on each mail-fraud count; up to 10 years in prison and a fine of up to $20,000 on the embezzlement count; and up to 20 years and a fine of up to $250,000 on the theft count.

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