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"I have decided I can no longer coach in a conference that treats its players and coaches so unfairly. We have suffered for nearly 10 months from media character assassination. By looking at the penalties, it appears we are all guilty, based in large part upon statements of questionable witnesses."  Don James

Tabloid Times
By Malamute

On January 2, 1992, Don James’ Huskies climbed “Mt. Dynasty,” reaching a pinnacle in college football, in previous years, Husky fans had only dreamt about. After beating Michigan in the 1992 Rose Bowl, Washington was voted a share of the national championship. The Dawgs clearly dominated the Pac-10 conference—the “two-team” conference once ruled by UCLA and USC. Having just turned 60, Don James was the dean of Pac-10 coaches and the winningest coach in Husky football history.

On December 9, 1992, I opened The Los Angeles Times to its sports section and was overwhelmed by this nightmarish headline, “Washington: A Program Gone Awry?” The stories printed in the Times during subsequent weeks would have made the publisher of the National Enquirer proud. The whole world of Husky football program seemed to be crumbling at the hands of a tabloid inquisition. Nine years later, I thought I’d take a closer look at what many had felt was a media witch-hunt.

Now I know I should have something better to do than to research the Husky scandal that occurred in 1992, but since I had dribs and drabs of time left to me in between spates of golf, I decided to revisit an era in Husky history that has always left me with the feeling that a rabid media took a big bite out of the Dawgs. Although there is no question Washington violated a number of NCAA rules, there has always been a question in my mind regarding the severity of the sanctions levied against the Huskies, and I have always felt the press coverage may have contributed to it. To get a better handle on the 1992 scandal, I read Sam Farmer’s book, "Bitter Roses," and visited The Los Angeles Times’ archives for the their articles published on the subject.

As I searched the archives at the Times, these stories caught my attention:

  • “Drug Ring has Husky Connection”
  • “Huskies Pressure Accuser”
  • “Huskies Investigated by the Secret Service”
  • “Husky Players Sold Prescription Drugs”
  • “Players Claim They Need Guns.”

If these words had been headlines on the theater marquees around town, they would have been nothing less than film noir.

These stories were published in The Los Angeles Times during a fifty-three day period after the Husky ship sprung a leak on November 5, 1992. A shot fired from a Seattle Times’ trebuchet caught the Husky ship broadside, a salvo stating that Billy Joe Hobert, Washington’s starting quarterback in the 1992 Rose Bowl game, had received unsecured loans from a nuclear engineer (who had no connection to the university or its athletic interests) totaling $50,000. Searching the archives, I found thirty stories printed during this period mentioning Billy Joe Hobert by name. Mike Downey, in an article hyping USC’s Freedom Bowl game with Fresno state, sniped, “Washington's band will play selections from its new 'Guns and Rose Bowls' CD, available at popular prices from Billy Joe Hobert records and tapes.”

Ironically, Billy Joe’s loans affected his eligibility at Washington and were not institutional violations. The Huskies were not penalized for Hobert’s loans, other then losing him as a player. (See the Afterward for more on this). Hobert used his potential earnings as a professional athlete to secure one or more of the loans. That’s a no-no as far as the NCAA is concerned, since we average slobs don’t have any potential earnings that anyone would be willing to roll the dice on—unless we’re nuclear engineers.

I believe the media’s coverage was overblown and decidedly unfair; it created a hysterical hue and cry almost impossible to quell. It reminded me of the hatchet job done on Gene Bartow, a former UCLA basketball coach. Using Hobert’s name in each article seemingly lent credence to the media’s outrage; the Washington program was out of control, they said. In reality, Billy Joe was a nice guy who made a stupid mistake, who never thought his name would be used as a symbol for Husky cheating. He was a kid who wanted a shiny new car, a kid who capitalized on his potential earnings to get it, a kid who capitalized on his God-given talents prematurely. “It was all a prestige thing to me…I’m just dumb, let’s put it that way,” he was quoted as saying.

Let’s take a closer look at the media’s coverage as it affected the Huskies. After the Hobert revelation, the next fifty-three days might have been the most significant in Husky history.

As stated earlier in this story, the main salvo was fired on December 9, 1992 when the LA Times published the following story, “Washington: A Program Gone Awry?” The first sentence of the article took me aback, “Some University of Washington boosters have engaged in a longstanding practice of providing Husky football players with thousands of dollars in cash and other improper benefits, including summer jobs requiring little or not work, a Times investigation shows.”

This featured story, written by Danny Robbins and Elliott Almond, was the first of a series of investigative articles that appeared in The Los Angeles Times alleging booster violations at Washington. These violations involved: cash payments made to players; work arranged by boosters requiring little or no work; the use of a truck registered to a booster; free lodging during the summer; a summer’s job arranged by a booster while the prospective recruit was still in high school; the sale of prescription drugs.

Although they interviewed more than two-dozen players, Robbins and Almond apparently collected most of their information from five players who had had a falling out with the University. These are players who lent their names to the articles. One of them had sued Husky coaches and a physician for what he perceived to be negligence in the treatment of a shoulder separation; two others had been dismissed from the team after they were arrested during an altercation with Santa Ana police prior to a Freedom Bowl game. Later they sued the school, but lost. One player had been disciplined by Husky coaches prior to a Freedom Bowl game and had to pay his own way back to Seattle after a practice preceding the game. Later, he quit the team. Another had never been more than a backup player who had to find work on his own during the summer of 1988.

Having read the LA Times for years, I have my own opinion regarding its motives for publishing these stories; however, I’ll go along with the standard line and say that the Times had papers to sell and that its two investigative reporters, Danny Robbins and Elliott Almond, had mouths to feed. Hey, I’m easy to enlist. Give me the petition and I’ll sign it. Undoubtedly the Hobert incident triggered these stories, although the associate sports editor of the Times said they were motivated by the verdict in the Rodney King beating trial.

Aside from using statements from unhappy campers for the grist of its stories, the objectivity of the Times is questioned by another incident. According to Sam Farmer’s book, "Bitter Roses," the LA Times erroneously reported that the publisher of Sports Washington had offered one of the Washington players $500 if he “would recant published remarks alleging improprieties in James’ program.” The article titled, Huskies Pressure Accuser, opened with this sentence: “The son-in-law of Washington football Coach Don James offered to pay a former Husky player $500 if the former player would recant published remarks alleging impropriety by James’ program.”

Ironically, the Times had to recant the opening sentence of its story. It ran a retraction for the error (Jan 24, 1993), and admitted that the son-in-law did not physically say the words quoted above. Although he was named in other allegations made against the Washington program, this does not mitigate the impact of this article’s opening sentence on the integrity of the Washington program. Simply stated, it wasn’t true. Sticks and stones may break my bones, but words will break my spirit.

The other blemish on the Times stories centers around the statement that players received cash payments involving thousands of dollars from boosters, as stated in the first sentence of the program-gone-awry story. Three of the disgruntled players who lent their names to the stories said that two boosters had given them this money. This allegation, which was denied by the boosters, was not made part of the final findings for which the University was sanctioned. Also, the allegation involving the sale of prescription drugs, the subject of another Times’ story, was not mentioned in the final findings that elicited the sanctions, see the appendix.

The latter story began with the following sentence: “University of Washington players have sold prescription drugs given to them for injuries or other illness by members of the university’s medical and training staff, the Huskies’ team physician said in a sworn statement.” In an interview with the Times, the physician quoted in the sworn statement said that team trainers and physicians had heard only rumors of such activity. According to Sam Farmer in his book cited below, the physician said he was not “given time to clarify his deposition because the attorney moved to another line of questioning.”

The opening sentences of these three critical stories appearing in the LA Times made several serious allegations; they involved boosters making cash payments to athletes totaling thousands of dollars, a booster paying an athlete to recant a statement he made, and players selling prescriptions drugs. These allegations (one of them retracted by the Times) were the main themes of these three articles and were far more serious than the allegations for which Washington was actually sanctioned, one of them involving the distribution of fruit baskets to prospective Washington recruits by Seattle hotels. Many people who read these stories most likely read the first few paragraphs, then dashed off to work, left with an unfavorable impression of Don James’ football program. Worse yet they may have read just the headlines. Egad! Was this a football program gone awry or a newspaper gone awry?

Three days after the first article was published, the LA Times published another story that added to the hysteria. It stated that five Husky players had “been questioned (by the secret service) regarding their use of cellular phones that had been illegally altered to avoid billing.” This story had no apparent relationship to an NCAA rules violation involving boosters, and in the Times’ own words “is the latest off-the-field problem for the Washington football program, which has seen its image tarnished by the arrest of a player on cocaine-selling charges and published reports alleging violations of NCAA rules.” Seemingly the article was published to buttress the Times’ case against Washington, adding to the aura of suspicion surrounding the program, even though the story had no logical relationship to the others published in the Times. Although reporters in the Seattle area had known about the investigation for some time, the timing of the story’s release couldn’t have been better.

In a short period of time, the LA Times had unleashed a spate of stories about Husky players receiving thousands of dollars in cash from boosters, along with money garnered from the selling of prescription drugs and cocaine. In addition it was alleged that players had used illegally altered cellular phones, that one booster had tried to bribe an accuser and that Husky players said they needed guns. None of these allegations were part of the Notice of Charges filed against the Huskies that led to the final sanctions (reference "Bitter Roses," Notice of Charges, page 313, and Table 1 below). Also, see below the NCAA Public Infractions Report, Appendix B of this document.

Table 1. Allegations made by the media and their final disposition

Critical Allegation  Disposition
Huskies pressure accuser L.A. Times recanted part of the story
Cash payments totaling thousands of dollars made to players Pac-10 did not charge Washington with this allegation.
Billy Joe Hobert's loan Hobert was punished individually, not the institution.
Huskies sold prescription drugs Pac-10 did not charge Washington with this allegation.
Drug ring has Husky connection Case was thrown out of court
Players claim they need guns Pac-10 did not charge Washington with this allegation
Players said they were paid for work not performed in the L.A. summer's job program. Most of the allegations made by players who lent their names to the Times' stories were outside the statute of limitations.
This alleged violation was not part of the media coverage. A booster provided two prospective athletes with air fare to attend the 1987 UW, spring football game. Lodging was provided at a fraternity house. Local transportation was provided and souvenirs were purchased. A prospective athlete was entertained for dinner at the booster's house.  According to the Notice of Charges, this was the violation (NCAA Bylaw 13.2.1) that provided the link to the past, which extended the statute of limitations.


However, Washington was sanctioned for some of the allegations made in the LA Times, notably for its lack of institutional control over the LA summer jobs program. The Pac-10 notified the university it was conducting an investigation on December 14, 1992, five days after the first story appeared in the LA Times. Later, the university engaged a law firm to conduct an investigation, and “to leave no stone unturned…” More than 200 interviews of 125 people were conducted during the course of the investigation, which lasted eight months. Sam Farmer in his book "Bitter Roses" categorizes these allegations on page 314. Also, reference the University of Washington Public Infractions Report, cited in the references, and the appendix to this article for a summary of the infractions.

Six representatives of the university’s athletic interests were involved in the allegations. No member of the UW coaching staff or administrations department were involved in them. The most serious of the allegations for which Washington was sanctioned involved paying athletes for work not performed. The Los Angeles real estate developer, who employed these athletes, said that they knew that they were expected to work for their pay. The players completed their own time cards, and were not supervised by the developer, who was frequently away from his office on business trips. Other players in the summer jobs program told the Times that they had to work for their pay.

Although the athletic department maintained control over the jobs program in the Seattle area, it was found that the department failed to exercise institutional control over the summer jobs program in the Los Angeles area. These alleged violations occurred over an eight-year period, from the summer of 1980 to the spring of 1989.

The university was prohibited from collecting $930,000 for its participation in six televised football games during the 1993 season. Postseason competition in football was banned for the 1993 and 1994 seasons. There was a reduction in the number of permissible official visits in football during the 1993-94 and 1994-95 academic years, and a reduction in the number of permissible football scholarships during the 1994-95 and 1995-96 academic years.

On August 22, 1993, Don James resigned his position as Husky head football coach, stating: “I have decided I can no longer coach in a conference that treats its players and coaches so unfairly. We have suffered for nearly 10 months from media character assassination. By looking at the penalties, it appears we are all guilty, based in large part upon statements of questionable witnesses.” University President William P. Gerberding was quoted as saying: “Whether one considers the penalties imposed by the conference to be appropriate or fair is a matter of individual judgment. I do not.”

The way the press covered these stories—much of it in tabloid fashion—could have affected the harshness of the sanctions levied against Washington. Most poll-driven politicians will tell you that it is easier to meet the demands of an outraged public than to change public opinion. The motives of the conference schools levying these penalties are another issue and certainly questionable. I suspect that many of the foundations supporting college football’s elite programs of today would crumble under the same scrutiny Washington endured.

Afterward (bits and pieces):

  • The NCAA rules violation concerning the Hobert loans was made part of the Notice of Charges, along with alleged violations of NCAA rules concerning his employment by a booster. The loans affected his eligibility at Washington. Washington was punished for his employment irregularities.
  • An associate Pac-10 commissioner investigated the Huskies. Because of the press coverage many former Washington players were reluctant to talk to him. Since the NCAA had a four-year statute of limitations, it was the commissioner’s job to find irregularities that had occurred within a four-year period. Then a pattern of violations could be established. If there is another weak link in the Pac-10’s investigation, this is it. As an example, the investigator uncovered booster violations that occurred within this period that involved potential recruits; however, two of the recruits enrolled in other schools, not Washington. It was alleged that one of these boosters had attempted to encourage a recruit to go to Washington. Also, it was charged that the university failed to demonstrate institutional control over cash distributed to student hosts for meal expenses when hosting recruits. Within the four-year time period it was alleged that two players had been flown to Seattle for a Spring football game. 
  • Since 1987, recruiting contact by boosters has been a violation.

    Almost all of the charges alleged by The Los Angeles Times in its program-gone-awry article occurred prior to December 1988, and were outside the four-year statute of limitations.

    Originally, the Pac-10 compliance committee recommended that Washington be placed on a one-year probation, with the loss of revenues from telecasts for a period of two years. However, the Pac-10 Council, made up of the conference’s presidents and chancellors, decided upon a two-year probation with a one-year loss of TV revenue because they felt the compliance committee’s recommendations were too lenient. Apparently, Council members were angered by the way Washington defended itself.
  • Ironically, Mike Downey of The Los Angeles Times thought the penalties were too harsh in an article in which he opined that Washington needed “its wrist slapped,” rather then being “knocked down and kicked.”
  • Discussing the severity of Washington’s sanctions, other people have argued about the sanctions levied on Auburn at the time. Auburn’s transgressions involved its coaching staff, whereas Washington’s did not.
  • When it came to handling the employment of his players and otherwise, Coach Don James was a no-nonsense guy. He once said, “I’ve told any person that ever hired one of my football players that if they didn’t work, fire them.” His statement is buttressed by the fact that the summer jobs program in the Seattle area was “fairly well-controlled” by the athletics staff. According to the NCAA, the Los Angeles summer jobs program was not.
  • In July of 1994, the NCAA reviewed the penalties levied against Washington by the Pac-10 conference. In adding additional penalties, it stated: “The penalties imposed, which are in excess of those imposed by the institution and the conference, reflect the committee's finding of a significant lack of institutional control over the summer jobs program in the Los Angeles area. Had the athletics department and, in particular, the members of the football coaching staff made even the most cursory examination of that jobs program during the 10 years of its operation, they would have discovered the violations.”
  • The NCAA added these penalties:
    • Washington’s athletics program was placed on probation for two years.
    • The university was required to continue the development of it athletics compliance education program.
    • The university was required to upgrade the way it distributed materials to boosters relating to NCAA rules.
    • The NCAA restricted the number of football telecasts for either the 1994 or the 1995 season. Up to four telecasts were permitted, at the university's discretion.
    • Required the university to re-certify its current athletics policies and practices.

Appendix A. (Tabloid Times)

a. Caveat

The opinions expressed in this article are my own, and are not those of any of the authors I have cited. I am an alumnus of Washington and have been an avid Husky fan for years. I recommend that readers interested in the scandal read Sam Farmer’s excellent book, "Bitter Roses," for more information. I obtained my copy from a used-book store.

Now that the Dawgs are back on top, revisiting the year preceding the sanctions isn’t so painful to me. I hope others will agree.


b. References:
     
  • Almond, Elliott, “Washington Huskies Get Tough Pac 10 Penalties,” The Los Angeles Times, 23 August, 1993.
  • Almond, Elliott, “A Storm Seattle Won't Forget,” The Los Angeles Times, 23 August 1993.
  • Downey, Mike, “Fresno Fans Plot Escape to Freedom,” The Los Angeles Times, 28 December 1992.
  • Downey, Mike, “Too-Harsh Penalties Don't Fit the Crimes,” The Los Angeles Times, 23 August, 1993.
  • Farmer, Sam, "Bitter Roses, An Inside Look at the Washington Huskies’ Turbulent Year," Sagamore Publishing, 1993.
  • Robbins, Danny, ”Drug Ring has Husky Connection,” The Los Angeles Times, 25 November 1992.
  • Robbins, Danny and Almond, Elliott, “Washington: A Program Gone Awry?” The Los Angeles Times, 9 December 1992.
  • Robbins, Danny and Almond, Elliott, “Deposition: Husky Players Sold Prescription Drugs,” The Los Angeles Times, 9 December 1992.
  • Robbins, Danny and Almond, Elliott, “Huskies Investigated by the Secret Service,” The Los Angeles Times, 12 December 1992.
  • Robbins, Danny and Almond, Elliott, “Huskies Pressure Accuser,” The Los Angeles Times, 20 December 1992.
  • Staff and Wire Reports, “Players Claim they Need Guns,” The Los Angeles Times, 28 November 1992.
  • University of Washington Public Infractions Report, 12 July 1994, Overland Park, Kansas.


c. Summary of the Infractions

1. Booster violations:
     
  • Student-athletes were paid for work not actually performed.
  • A prospective student athlete was paid excessive compensation.
  • Enrolled student athletes were given impermissible meals.
  • A student athlete and his friend were offered improper benefits.
  • A booster made an impermissible, off campus recruiting contact with a prospective student athlete.
  • Two boosters contacted prospective student athletes who already had announced their intentions to attend other institutions and encouraged them to commit to the University of Washington.
  • Several hotels supplied improper benefits to prospective student athletes on their official visits.

2. Institutional violations:

     
  • The institution provided excess financial aid to a student athlete as a result of his employment during the academic year.
  • There was lack of institutional control regarding the monitoring of the summer jobs program in the Los Angeles area. Money was given to football student athletes hosting prospective student athletes on their official visits.
 
 Appendix B, NCAA Public Infractions Report

FOR RELEASE: Tuesday, July 12, 1994, 1:30 p.m (Central time)

CONTACT: David Swank, Chair, NCAA Committee on Infractions

University of Oklahoma

UNIVERSITY OF WASHINGTON

PUBLIC INFRACTIONS REPORT

OVERLAND PARK, KANSAS ---This report is organized as follows:

I. Introduction.

II. Findings of Institutional Violations of NCAA Legislation.

III. Admissions of Individual Violations of NCAA Legislation for which no Institutional Responsibility was Found.

IV. Committee on Infractions Penalties.

I. INTRODUCTION.

This case concerned violations of NCAA legislation involving amateurism, recruiting, extra benefits, financial aid, and institutional control in the football program at the University of Washington. The University of Washington is a Division I_A institution and a member of the Pacific_10 Conference. The university has a total enrollment of nearly 34,000 students and sponsors 12 women's and 11 men's sports.

This was an especially difficult case for the NCAA Committee on Infractions. In part, this was because of the nature of the violations, but also because it required the committee to evaluate the proper role of conference investigations and adjudications involving major violations of NCAA rules. The University of Washington and the Pacific_10 Conference expended a great deal of time and effort in investigating violations of conference and NCAA legislation involving the university's football program. At the conclusion of an eight-month investigation, the conference imposed what it considered to be the appropriate penalties resulting from these violations. [Page 2]

It is important to recognize the very significant role that conferences play in compliance efforts. The NCAA and, in particular, the Committee on Infractions appreciate the involvement of conferences in the investigation of major infractions cases. In this case the Pacific-10 Conference did an outstanding job in its investigation. However, it is the responsibility of the Committee on Infractions to attempt to achieve consistency on a nationwide basis in penalties imposed on an institution involved in the violation of NCAA legislation, recognizing that each case has a unique set of circumstances. No matter how important conference investigations are in resolving infractions cases, penalties imposed at the conference level which are not consistent with penalties imposed by the Committee on Infractions on other institutions may result in additional penalties being imposed by the committee.

In this case, had the Pacific_10 Conference penalties not been levied before the Committee on Infractions had an opportunity to consider the case, the committee's penalties might well have been substantially different than those that were actually imposed. After reviewing the evidence presented by the University of Washington at the expedited hearing and given the nature of the conference's penalties, the committee was reluctant to levy substantial additional penalties upon the university simply to achieve national uniformity. Because the committee did not want the university to suffer unduly and did not want to extend further this already lengthy infractions case, the committee accepted most of the conference's penalties and imposed only a few additional penalties.

In the future, however, although the Committee on Infractions may accept findings of violations found by a conference, it will not adopt conference penalties that are inconsistent with NCAA penalties. The committee explicitly reserves the right to impose its own penalties, independent of any conference penalties that may have already been imposed, although it will consider any penalties that the conference wishes to propose along with the institution's proposed penalties. Conferences are always free to impose their own additional penalties after the NCAA's case is concluded. 

Postponing conference action places a greater responsibility upon the NCAA enforcement staff to investigate and the Committee on Infractions to adjudicate infractions cases as expeditiously as possible. It also places a greater responsibility on the institution which has discovered a violation to promptly involve the NCAA enforcement staff in its investigation. If this is done, the case can be brought before the Committee on Infractions at the conclusion of the first investigation rather than waiting for additional independent investigations to be made by the institution and the enforcement staff. [Page 3]

A. CASE CHRONOLOGY.

On November 4, 1992, a reporter for a Seattle newspaper contacted the University of Washington with information about loans a businessman allegedly had made to a football student_athlete. The university immediately began an inquiry and contacted the Pacific_10 Conference staff for assistance. The institution initially determined that the loans were based, at least in part, on the student_athlete's professional football potential. On November 12, 1992, the university declared the student_athlete ineligible for competition. Although this violation caused the scrutiny of the university's football program which eventually uncovered other violations of NCAA legislation, the Pacific_10 Conference, NCAA enforcement staff and Committee on Infractions, while agreeing with the institution that there were violations of NCAA rules by the student-athlete which resulted in his ineligibility, did not find any institutional involvement in the loans.

On December 9, 1992, a Los Angeles newspaper published articles alleging additional violations of NCAA legislation by individuals involved with the university's football program. On December 14, 1992, the Pacific_10 Conference notified the university that it had initiated a formal inquiry in accordance with conference compliance and enforcement procedures. The university then retained outside independent special counsel to investigate the allegations cooperatively with the conference investigator.

The university's special counsel and the Pacific_10 Conference investigator conducted numerous joint interviews and provided regular status reports on the investigation to the NCAA enforcement staff. The investigation took eight months and included more than 200 interviews of approximately 125 individuals.

On March 2, 1993, the NCAA enforcement staff issued a letter of preliminary inquiry. During March and April, the enforcement staff participated in numerous interviews of student_athletes and coaches.

The Pacific_10 Conference issued a notice of charges on June 22, 1993, and the university submitted its written response to the notice of charges on July 30, 1993. The Pacific_10 Conference compliance and enforcement committee conducted a hearing on August 9 and 10, 1993. Following the hearing, the committee made findings of violations and determined proposed penalties. The Pacific_10 Council reviewed the compliance and enforcement committee's findings of violations and proposed penalties on August 21, 1993, and decided to increase the prohibition on postseason bowl_game participation from one year to two years and to reduce the television_revenue penalty from two years to one year. The Pacific_10 presidents and chancellors affirmed the council's actions by telephone conference on August 22, 1993. The Pacific_10 Conference announced to the news media its findings of violations and insti[Page 4] tutional penalties on August 22, 1993, and released its written infractions report on August 23, 1993. The NCAA enforcement staff received a copy of the conference infractions report.

In October 1993, the enforcement staff met with representatives of the university and conference to review the investigation and obtain additional information. Shortly thereafter, the NCAA summary_disposition process began.

On January 31, 1994, the University of Washington and the NCAA enforcement staff jointly submitted a summary_disposition report to the NCAA Committee on Infractions. This report contained a description of the violations that the enforcement staff and the university agreed occurred and the corrective actions and penalties taken by the institution and those imposed by the Pacific-10 Conference.

In the report, the enforcement staff indicated that the university's internal investigation, combined with the conference's and enforcement staff's inquiries, was complete and thorough and that the university had cooperated with the NCAA. The enforcement staff and the institution agreed with the findings of violations contained in the summary_disposition report and that the case was major in nature.

The NCAA Committee on Infractions first considered the summary_disposition report at its meetings on February 5 and 6, 1994. After reviewing the findings of violations and supporting information in the summary_disposition report, the committee was concerned about institutional control of the summer and vacation jobs program and the loans to the student_athlete. The committee asked the university and enforcement staff to provide more information on several aspects of the investigation involving those issues. The university submitted a supplemental response on March 9, 1994, and the NCAA enforcement staff provided additional information on March 18, 1994, which included information from the Pacific-10 Conference.

The Committee on Infractions considered these supplemental materials at its April 16, 1994, meeting and determined that it was still unable to accept the findings as presented in the summary_disposition report. On April 27, 1994, the committee notified the university of its options regarding the findings of violations. The committee was aware of the university's desire to conclude this case as quickly as possible. As a result, in its letter the committee also proposed suggested penalties that would be appropriate if the university decided to submit an additional finding regarding institutional control.

On May 6, 1994, the university notified the committee of its decision to amend the summary_disposition report to include the institutional control finding but that it did not agree that the suggested additional penalties were appropriate. The university requested the opportunity for an expedited hearing on the penalties. [Page 5] On June 5, 1994, university, conference and NCAA enforcement representatives appeared before the committee at an expedited hearing on the penalties in Kansas City, Missouri.

B. SUMMARY OF THE FINDINGS OF VIOLATIONS.

Because this case was considered under the summary-disposition procedure, the findings of violations are those admitted by the university.

Six representatives of the university's athletics interests were involved in the violations, in addition to prospective, current and former student_athletes. No members of the university's coaching or athletics administration staff are named in a finding of a violation.

The violations concerned:

A representative of the university's athletics interests provided substantial extra benefits to a number of enrolled student-athletes by paying them for work not actually performed.

A representative of the institution's athletics interests paid excessive compensation to prospective student_athletes.

A representative of the institution's athletics interests provided prospective and enrolled student_athletes with impermissible meals.

A representative of the institution's athletics interests offered a prospective student_athlete and his friend improper benefits.

A representative of the institution's athletics interests made an impermissible, off_campus recruiting contact with a prospective student_athlete.

Two representatives of the institution's athletics interests made impermissible recruiting contacts with prospective student_athletes who already had announced their intentions to attend other institutions and encouraged them to change their commitments to the other institutions and to attend the University of Washington.

Several hotels supplied improper benefits to prospective student_athletes on their official visits.

The institution provided excess financial aid to a student_athlete as a result of his employment during the academic year. [Page 6]

There was lack of institutional control regarding the monitoring of the summer jobs program and the disbursement of cash to football student_athletes hosting prospective student_athletes on their official visits.

In addition to these institutional violations, one student-athlete was involved in the violation of NCAA rules which resulted in his ineligibility for athletics competition. These violations did not involve the institution since it was not established that institutional personnel were aware of them or that representatives of the institution's athletics interests were involved.

These violations concerned:

The loss of amateur status resulting from improper loans based in part upon the student-athlete's athletics potential.

Preferential treatment based on individual athletics reputation.

Compensation based on athletics reputation and remuneration for radio appearances.

C. SUMMARY OF THE PENALTIES.

After considering the admitted findings submitted by the university, the extensive supporting information provided by the university and the conference, which included the corrective actions taken by the university as detailed in Part IV-A of this report, and the additional information provided at the expedited hearing, the committee imposed its penalties.

The penalties imposed, which are in excess of those imposed by the institution and the conference, reflect the committee's finding of a significant lack of institutional control over the summer jobs program in the Los Angeles area. Had the athletics department and, in particular, the members of the football coaching staff made even the most cursory examination of that jobs program during the 10 years of its operation, they would have discovered the violations. They could have promptly brought to a halt the actions of the representative of the university's athletics interests, who was almost openly paying student-athletes for work not performed. At the same time the Los Angeles program was operating without controls, the athletics department staff was operating a fairly well-controlled program in the Seattle area. Violations arising out of the Seattle program were generally isolated and few in number. Since a significant number of football student-athletes were recruited from the Los Angeles area each year and many of them were employed by one representative of the university's athletics interests, the university's monitoring program should have been extended to that area despite the distance from the institution's campus. [Page 7]

The penalties imposed by the university, the conference and the Committee on Infractions are as follows:

1. The committee adopted as its own the following penalty self_imposed by the institution:

Disassociation, for at least the duration of the university's NCAA probation, of the four representatives of the institution's athletics interests named in findings of major violations.

2. The committee adopted the following penalties imposed by the Pacific_10 Conference:

Public reprimand and censure.

Ban on postseason competition in football for the 1993 and 1994 seasons.

Reduction in the number of permissible official visits in football during the 1993_94 and 1994_95 academic years.

Reduction in the number of permissible initial grants_in_aid in football during the 1994_95 and 1995_96 academic years.

3. The committee imposed the following additional penalties:

Placed the university's athletics program on probation for two years.

Required the continued development of the institution's comprehensive athletics compliance education program. 

Required the continued improvement of its system of distributing materials on NCAA rules to all representatives of the institution's athletics interests and alumni.

Limited to four the number of televised regular-season football games during either the 1994 or the 1995 season, at the university's election.

Required recertification of current athletics policies and practices. [Page 8]

II. FINDINGS OF INSTITUTIONAL VIOLATIONS OF NCAA LEGISLATION.

A. EXCESSIVE COMPENSATION PAID TO NUMEROUS STUDENT_ATHLETES. [NCAA BYLAWS 12.4.1 AND 16.12.2.1]

From approximately the summer of 1980 to the spring of 1989, a representative of the institution's athletics interests, who was well-known to the football staff, employed numerous student-athletes at the Los Angeles office of a real estate development company. He had become a representative by providing such employment to student-athletes and by being actively involved in the recruitment of football prospective student-athletes for the university when such practice was permissible under NCAA legislation

During the period in question, a substantial number of the student-athletes employed by the representative received significant compensation for hours or days they did not work.

Because the real estate company had ceased operations, and payroll records were not available at the time of the investigation, it was impossible to determine the exact total of unearned compensation, but based upon interviews with the involved student-athletes the excessive payments in this finding were approximately $30,000.

B. EXCESSIVE COMPENSATION PAID TO A STUDENT_ATHLETE. [NCAA BYLAWS 12.4.1 AND 16.12.2.1]

During the summers of 1991 and 1992, a representative of the institution's athletics interests employed a student_athlete at his company in Los Angeles. During his employment, the student_athlete received wages that were not commensurate with the work he performed. Specifically, the student_athlete worked approximately 23 hours a week for nine weeks and received a salary of $400 a week, an overpayment of approximately $1,445.

C. IMPERMISSIBLE MEALS PROVIDED TO PROSPECTIVE AND ENROLLED STUDENT_ATHLETES. [NCAA BYLAWS 13.2.1 AND 16.12.2.1]

During the summers of 1989, 1990 and 1991, a representative of the institution's athletics interests provided two student_athletes with approximately one free meal per day during their employment at a golf course prior to and subsequent to their enrollment in the institution. Specifically, in the summer of 1989, both student_athletes received free meals while they were prospective student_athletes. One of the student_athletes also received free meals during the summers of 1990 and 1991 when he was an enrolled student_athlete. The other student_athlete received free meals during the summer of 1991 when he was an enrolled student_athlete.

[Page 9]

D. EXCESSIVE COMPENSATION PAID TO PROSPECTIVE STUDENT_ATHLETES. [NCAA BYLAWS 12.4.1. AND 13.2.1]

During the summers of 1988 and 1989, an owner of a golf course who also is a representative of the institution's athletics interests directed the general manager of the golf course to pay two prospective student_athletes an hourly wage that was approximately 20 percent more than the hourly wage paid to other employees with like experience and responsibilities. The value of the free meals in Part II_C and the excessive wages in this part totaled approximately $850 for one student_athlete. Since the institution did not petition for the restoration of the other student_athlete's eligibility, his benefit was not calculated.

E. OFFER OF IMPROPER BENEFITS TO A PROSPECTIVE STUDENT_ATHLETE. [NCAA BYLAW 13.2.1]

During January and February 1989, a representative of the institution's athletics interests led a prospective student_athlete to believe that if he enrolled at the institution he would be "taken care of" through the provision of unspecified extra benefits.

F. OFFER OF IMPROPER BENEFITS TO A PROSPECTIVE STUDENT_ATHLETE'S FRIEND. [NCAA BYLAW 13.2.1]

During January and February 1989, a representative of the institution's athletics interests talked by telephone to a friend of a prospective student_athlete. The representative led her to believe that if she accompanied the prospective student_athlete to the institution, he would help her secure a job, an apartment with a roommate, and enrollment in a local junior college.

G. IMPERMISSIBLE OFF_CAMPUS RECRUITING CONTACT BY A REPRESENTATIVE OF THE INSTITUTION'S ATHLETICS INTERESTS. [NCAA BYLAWS 13.01.5.1 AND 13.1.2.1]

In August 1989, a representative of the institution's athletics interests contacted a prospective student_athlete outside the locker room following the student_athlete's participation in a high school all_star football game.

H. IMPERMISSIBLE RECRUITMENT BY A REPRESENTATIVE OF THE INSTITUTION'S ATHLETICS INTERESTS. [NCAA BYLAWS 13.01.5.1, 13.1.1.3 AND 13.1.2.1]

In January 1989, a representative of the institution's athletics interests contacted a prospective student_athlete and encouraged him to change his verbal commitment to attend another university and to enroll in the University of Washington. After returning to [Page 1 Seattle following his first year in college the student_athlete worked for the representative during the summer of 1990. The representative continued encouraging the prospective student_athlete to transfer to the University of Washington.

I. IMPERMISSIBLE RECRUITMENT BY A REPRESENTATIVE OF THE INSTITUTION'S ATHLETICS INTERESTS. [NCAA BYLAWS 13.01.5.1 AND 13.1.2.1]

In January 1991, a representative of the institution's athletics interests contacted a prospective student_athlete and encouraged him to change a verbal commitment to attend another university and to enroll in the University of Washington.

J. IMPROPER INDUCEMENTS PROVIDED TO PROSPECTIVE STUDENT_ATHLETES. [NCAA BYLAWS 13.2.1 AND 13.4.2_(g)]

During the past few years, several Seattle hotels provided extra amenities in the hotel rooms assigned to prospective student_athletes on their official paid visits to the institution.

K. EXCESS FINANCIAL AID TO A STUDENT_ATHLETE. [NCAA BYLAWS 15.1 AND 15.2.6]

During the first week of the 1991 spring quarter, a representative of the institution's athletics interests employed a student_athlete who was enrolled in the university but was not yet attending classes. The representative provided the student_athlete with $200 for that week of work. The student owed a debt to the institution, and both the representative and the student_athlete thought that the unpaid obligation canceled his enrollment, but it did not. Since the student_athlete was enrolled in the university and since this employment by a representative of the university's athletics interests was during an academic term, the $200 in wages is counted as institutionally administered financial aid. This payment, when combined with his athletics grant_in_aid for the quarter, provided him with $200 more than the permissible amount of financial aid. 

L. LACK OF INSTITUTIONAL CONTROL. [NCAA CONSTITUTION 2.1 AND BYLAWS 13.7.5.4, 13.7.5.5, 13.7.5.7 AND 16.12.2.1]

During the 1980s, the institution demonstrated a lack of institutional control by the failure of the university, through its administration, athletics department staff and the football coaching staff, to monitor adequately the summer jobs program in the Los Angeles area, resulting in numerous student_athletes receiving pay for work not performed.

During the 1987_88 through 1991_92 academic years, the institution also demonstrated a lack of institutional control in the disburse [Page 11] ment of and accounting for cash provided to football student_athletes who were serving as hosts for the prospective student_athletes during their official paid visits to the institution. By a variety of methods, including using substitute and blank meal receipts, student hosts and prospective student_athletes received benefits and/or excessive entertainment not permitted by NCAA legislation. Student hosts occasionally provided cash or souvenirs to prospective student_athletes, retained a portion of the entertainment or meal money, and submitted falsified receipts for amounts higher than the cost of the meals for the purpose of keeping the excess cash. Specifically:

1. During the 1987_88 and 1988_89 academic years, a student_athlete regularly purchased souvenirs for prospective student_athletes or provided them with a portion of the entertainment and meal money he received from the institution.

2. On three or four occasions between 1987 and 1990, a student_athlete shared entertainment and meal money with prospective student_athletes when he served as student host. For example, during a prospective student_athlete's January 13_14, 1989, official paid visit, the student host provided the prospective student_athlete with approximately $80, which the prospective student_athlete used, in part, to purchase a sweat suit.

3. During January 19_21, 1990, a student_athlete provided a prospective student_athlete with approximately $80, which the prospective student_athlete used to purchase souvenirs.

4. During January 17_19, 1992, a student_athlete provided cash to a prospective student_athlete.

III. ADMISSIONS OF INDIVIDUAL VIOLATIONS OF NCAA LEGISLATION FOR WHICH NO INSTITUTIONAL RESPONSIBILITY WAS FOUND.

In addition to the institutional violations, the university admitted that one student-athlete had violated NCAA rules which resulted in his being declared ineligible by the university. As a result of these significant violations the university did not request restoration of eligibility for the student-athlete. The Committee on Infractions did not find any institutional responsibility for these violations. However, the discovery of improper loans began the scrutiny of the university's football program.

These individual violations were as follows: [Page 12]

A. LOSS OF AMATEUR STATUS BY RECEIVING IMPROPER LOANS. [NCAA BYLAW 12.1.2-(m)]

On April 19, 1992, May 14, 1992, and July 24, 1992, a student-athlete received loans of $25,000, $15,000, and $10,000, respectively, from an individual who was not a representative of the university athletics interests. He made the loans in part based on the student-athlete's potential earnings as a future professional football player. The loans were arranged by the lender's son-in-law. The son-in-law, who also was not a representative of the university's athletics interests, had been acquainted with the student-athlete since his sophomore year in high school. The lender had not met the student-athlete prior to the time the initial loan was negotiated. There was no evidence the institution's personnel knew about the loans or the payback provisions.

B. PREFERENTIAL TREATMENT BASED ON ATHLETICS REPUTATION. [NCAA BYLAW 12.1.2-(m)]

On one occasion in January 1992, two individuals provided the student-athlete with free golf fees and breakfast at a golf course in Washington. These two individuals were not representatives of the institution's athletics interests.

C. COMPENSATION BASED ON ATHLETICS REPUTATION AND REMUNERATION FOR RADIO APPEARANCE. [NCAA BYLAWS 12.4.1.1 AND 12.5.3.]

In January 1992, after the institution's participation in the 1992 Rose Bowl, a Seattle-based radio station provided a student-athlete with a jacket at no cost, with the intention of taking advantage of his athletics reputation to generate publicity for the station.

IV. COMMITTEE ON INFRACTIONS PENALTIES.

For the reasons set forth in this report, the Committee on Infractions found that this case involved several major violations of NCAA legislation.

As indicated in the introductory section, the committee had difficulty in determining the appropriate penalties under the circumstances of this case. The committee ultimately weighed the importance of imposing penalties that are consistent on a national level with the effect of the conference penalties on the university. The committee particularly considered the financial impact of the penalties. [Page 13]

The Pacific-10 Conference's television penalty allowed the university's football team to appear in six televised games during the 1993 football season but prevented the university from receiving approximately $939,000 in revenue which would have resulted from its participation in those football games. However, the conference's action did not prevent the university from receiving more than $660,000 in revenue from other games broadcast under the conference's football television contract. 

The Pacific-10 Conference ban on postseason games prohibited the university's football team from playing in postseason games but permitted the university to receive its share of the conference's postseason revenues. As a result, the university received approximately $575,000 from the conference's participation in the 1994 Rose Bowl.

Because the committee did not wish to unduly penalize the university, it accepted most of the conference penalties. The committee did not accept the conference probationary period, but imposed a two_year NCAA probationary period from the date of the committee's expedited hearing of this case. The committee also imposed a modified football television ban for one additional season.

The committee wishes to emphasize that in the future it will not accept conference penalties that do not conform to NCAA standard penalties, and will impose penalties warranted by the seriousness of the violations in attempting to achieve consistency on a national level.

Following are the corrective actions and penalties adopted and imposed by the Committee on Infractions in this case:

A. CORRECTIVE ACTIONS TAKEN BY THE UNIVERSITY.

In determining the appropriate penalties to impose, the committee considered the institution's self_imposed corrective actions. Specifically, the university:

1. Hired a senior associate director of athletics for compliance and internal operations.

2. Expanded its significant efforts to educate a particular group of boosters to include a broader range of individuals. In addition, the university has changed the format of its booster publication to feature a regular compliance column.

3. Disbanded in the summer of 1993 the Husky Hunter organization, which consisted of approximately 400 participants, to minimize the potential for future violations.

4. Implemented for the summer of 1993 a monitoring system for jobs procured for prospective and current student_athletes through representatives of the university's athletics interests for summer and vacation periods. Prospective and current student_athletes may receive assistance in securing jobs through the intercession of coaches or representatives [Page 14] of athletics interests only if the jobs are obtained through the jobs program. The monitoring system includes agreements signed by both the employers and the student_athletes indicating knowledge of and agreement to abide by NCAA rules governing the employment of current and prospective student_athletes.

The university's jobs program clearly informs employers that student_athlete employees are entitled only to benefits received by other comparable employees and notifies employers and student_athletes that student_athletes may only be paid at a rate commensurate with the rate in that locality for similar employment. In addition, the university's monitoring of jobs secured through representatives of the university's athletics interests includes in_person random checks of employment situations to verify compliance with NCAA legislation.

5. Contacted local hotels and requested them not to provide amenities to prospective student_athletes on official visits unless those same amenities are available to all guests.

6. Implemented several changes to the system for providing student hosts with money during official visits. Student hosts are no longer permitted to receive cash in excess of the $20 per day entertainment money. Coaches must be present and must pay for the prospective student_athlete's and host's meals or the prospective student_athlete and host must eat at a restaurant where an account has been established for recruiting meals. In addition, if a receipt is lost, the responsible staff member must certify the pertinent information from the official visit meal.

7. Took steps, prior to the discovery of improper loans to a student_athlete, to monitor student_athlete outside financial aid by implementing in the fall of 1992 a form requiring student_athletes to report any aid that they were receiving from sources other than athletics scholarships or parents. The issue of outside aid was discussed extensively with student_athletes, including members of the football team at the August 1992 rules meeting conducted by the former faculty athletics representative. Despite the university's efforts to monitor outside financial aid received by student_athletes, a student_athlete signed the outside aid form at the time of the rules meeting and did not report the loans that initiated the investigation.

8. Improved its monitoring and rules-education efforts for student_athletes. The university implemented, beginning with the 1993_94 academic year, a comprehensive check_in/check_out system designed to gather information from student_athletes on all types of issues, including outside aid and loans, motor vehicles, and summer employment. Each student_athlete is required to complete a check_in for [Page 15] the fall and a check_out during the spring. The information provided by student_athletes is monitored by the university's compliance coordinator to determine whether there are potential eligibility issues.

9. Barred boosters and alumni from the football team's locker room after home and away games.

10. Planned the development of a student_athlete code of conduct and a student_athlete handbook.

B. PENALTIES SELF_IMPOSED BY THE UNIVERSITY.

The Committee on Infractions adopted as its own the following penalty taken by the institution:

1. Disassociation of the four representatives named in findings of major violations. The committee accepted this penalty with the understanding that the disassociation will last at least the duration of the university's NCAA probation and that the university will take the following actions: (a) the institution shall not accept any assistance from the individuals that would aid in the recruitment of prospective student_athletes or the support of enrolled student_athletes; (b) the institution shall refuse all financial assistance or contributions for the institution's athletics program from the individuals; (c) the institution shall ensure that no athletics benefits or privileges are provided to the individuals, either directly or indirectly, that are not available to the public at large; and (d) the institution shall take such other actions against the individuals that the institution determines to be within its authority to eliminate the involvement of the individuals in the institution's athletics program in any manner.

C. PENALTIES IMPOSED BY THE PACIFIC_10 CONFERENCE.

The committee adopted the following penalties that the Pacific_10 Conference imposed:

1. Public reprimand and censure.

2. The university's football team shall conclude its 1993 and 1994 seasons with the playing of its last regularly scheduled, in_season contest and shall not be eligible to participate in any postseason competition.

3. The number of official visits in football shall be limited to 35 during the 1993_94 academic year and to 40 during the 1994_95 academic year. If NCAA Bylaw 13.7.1.6_(a) is amended during this two_year period, the committee may adjust this penalty. [Page 16]

4. The university shall be limited to 15 initial grants_in_aid in football per year during the 1994_95 and 1995_96 academic years. If NCAA Bylaw 15.5.5.1 is amended during this period, the committee may adjust this penalty.

D. ADDITIONAL PENALTIES IMPOSED BY THE COMMITTEE ON INFRACTIONS. 

Although the Committee on Infractions agreed with and approved of the actions taken by the institution and accepted some of the conference penalties, the committee decided to impose additional penalties. After receiving notification of the additional penalties, the institution, pursuant to Bylaw 32.6.1.4.3, elected to participate in an expedited hearing on the penalties.

The university, conference and enforcement staff appeared before the Committee on Infractions at an expedited hearing on June 5, 1994. After the hearing, the committee decided to impose the following penalties:

1. Two years of probation from June 5, 1994, if the institution does not appeal, or the date established by NCAA Infractions Appeals Committee action in the event of an appeal by the university.

2. During this period of probation, the institution shall: (a) continue to improve, develop and implement its comprehensive educational program (e.g., seminars and testing) on NCAA legislation to instruct coaches, the faculty athletics representative, athletics department personnel and all university staff members with responsibility for the certification of student_athletes for admission, retention or competition; (b) submit a preliminary report to the administrator for the Committee on Infractions by September 1, 1994, setting forth a schedule for establishing this compliance and educational program; and (c) file with the committee's administrator two annual compliance reports indicating the progress made with this program. The first report shall be filed by July 15, 1995, and the second report is due 30 days after the conclusion of the probationary period. Particular emphasis should be placed on the athletics department's job program.

3. During the period of NCAA probation, the university shall continue to improve its system of distributing educational materials concerning NCAA rules to all representatives of its athletics interests and alumni. A report of these actions shall be submitted at the same time the university submits its report on the compliance and education program. [Page 17]

4. The institution's football team shall be limited to appearing in a maximum of four telecasts during either the 1994 or 1995 season except for the closed_circuit television exception provided for in Bylaw 19.6.2.5.1. This television limitation shall include live, delayed and cable broadcasts. Because the university already may have made commitments for the 1994 football season, the university may select the year that this penalty applies.

5. Recertification from the institution's president that all of the university's current athletics policies and practices conform to all requirements of NCAA regulations.

_____________________________________________________

As required by NCAA legislation for any institution involved in a major infractions case, the University of Washington shall be subject to the provisions of NCAA Bylaw 19.6.2.3, concerning repeat violators, for a five_year period beginning on the effective date of the period of probation.

Because the university agreed to participate in the summary_disposition process and agreed to the findings of violations in this report, the university has waived the right to appeal the findings. Should the university appeal the penalties imposed in this case to the NCAA Infractions Appeals Committee, the Committee on Infractions will submit a response to the members of the appeals committee. This response may include additional information in accordance with Bylaw 32.10.5. A copy of the report will be provided to the institution prior to its appearance before the appeals committee.

The Committee on Infractions wishes to advise the institution that it should take every precaution to ensure that the terms of the penalties are observed. The committee intends to monitor the penalties during their effective periods, and any action contrary to the terms of any of the penalties or any additional violations shall be considered grounds for extending the institution's probationary period, as well as imposing more severe sanctions in this case.

Should any portion of any of the penalties in this case be set aside for any reason other than by appropriate action of the Association, the penalties shall be reconsidered by the Committee on Infractions. Should any actions by NCAA Conventions directly or indirectly modify any provision of these penalties or the effect of the penalties, the committee reserves the right to review and reconsider the penalties.

NCAA COMMITTEE ON INFRACTIONS

Jack H. Friedenthal
 
Roy F. Kramer
 
Frederick B. Lacey
 
Beverly E. Ledbetter
 
James L. Richmond
 
Yvonne (Bonnie) L. Slatton
 
David Swank (chair)
 
DS:jmq
 
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