Secondary Violations Lead To Self-Imposed Penalties for Football Program


by - Correspondent -
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CLEMSON — Clemson University broke nearly three weeks of silence Wednesday
when it confirmed earlier reports that internal sanctions had been levied
against the football program, including the loss of two scholarships for the
2002-2003 season.


The school also announced that a booster, believed to be businessman Lamar
Greene, has been disassociated from the university's athletic program for at
least one year, and the number of official visits allowed in football for
2001-2002 has been cut to 42 from the NCAA limit of 56.


Clemson has averaged 45 visits per year over the last four years.


The announcement comes on the heels of a story first reported by the Daily
Journal/Messenger on May 12, in which a source speaking on the condition of
anonymity outlined much of what Clemson disclosed Wednesday.


Wednesday's release was the result of a Freedom of Information Act request
the Daily Journal/Messenger filed on May 14, seeking all documents pertaining
to NCAA and/or internal investigations and sanctions levied against Clemson's
athletic programs.


The school honored that request Wednesday, though it omitted the names of all
coaches and/or athletic department officials in question, despite the
newspaper's request for that information. Whether or not that omission is a
violation of the FOIA currently is under review by the Daily
Journal/Messenger's media attorney.


Head coach Tommy Bowden did not return messages left at his residence
Wednesday night, but in a statement issued by the university he pledged to
continue his efforts to win "with integrity."


"I will tolerate nothing less," Bowden's statement said. "The integrity of
this university, our team and my good name are of paramount importance. They
will not be compromised."


Athletic Director Bobby Robinson, speaking to the media in his office
Wednesday afternoon, said he felt the sanctions levied were in line with the
seriousness of the violations. Robinson also said it was he, and not Director
of Compliance Services Becky Bowman, who reached the final decision and
forwarded the recommendations to school president James Barker.


"Everything's a judgment, frankly. While people may or may not agree with the
judgments I make — and I reviewed everything — the judgments were mine,"
Robinson said. "I didn't do it lightly, I didn't do it overnight. I did it
over a long period of time. I made recommendations to (Barker) that I think
were meaningful and appropriate.


"The only two people in this athletic department that have policy
responsibilities and personnel responsibilities...are the athletic director
and the president of the university. Everything that came, came from me to
the president."


That statement contradicts earlier reports that Bowman, and not Robinson,
handed out the punishment. The source told the Daily Journal/Messenger that
Robinson actually was fighting the sanctions in support of Bowden and the
football program.


Barker, in a campus-wide e-mail to faculty and staff Wednesday, said the
sanctions send a "clear signal about our commitment to full compliance,
including personnel actions, disassociation of a booster, and additional
efforts to enhance NCAA rules education."


According to the university's release, Clemson reported three secondary
violations concerning the recruitment of two Gaffney High School football
players. Though no names were mentioned in the release, it has been widely
reported that the players in question were Jeff Littlejohn and Roger
McIntosh, both of whom signed with Miami after Clemson coaches were
prohibited in January from recruiting the duo.


The three self-reported violations were:


— Improper contact by an assistant coach and a booster during a recruiting
"quiet period," when they had lunch with Littlejohn and McIntosh at a local
restaurant;


— A $1,300 loan by a booster to pay for a limousine the players used to
attend a high school prom;


— A booster allowing Littlejohn and McIntosh to use his boat.


According to both Robinson and university spokesperson Cathy Sams, Clemson
has concluded its investigation into the Gaffney incident, and the NCAA staff
has agreed the violations are secondary in nature.


The report will now be forwarded to an NCAA enforcement representative who
processes secondary infractions for review. There is no timetable for a
response by the NCAA.


The self-reported violations led to one assistant football coach being
removed from recruiting on the road until Feb. 6, 2002. The coach will not be
eligible for a salary increase or bowl bonus until Sept. 1, 2002, and was
required to attend an NCAA rules seminar at his own expense.


Removing the coach from the road reduces Clemson's number of traveling
coaches from seven to six. The evaluation period from April 25-May 31, 2001,
was reduced from four weeks to three.


Two other compliance matters also were included in the report. One centered
on an impermissible snack made available during the big recruiting weekend of
Jan. 12-14, during which refreshments made available for parents of the
visiting recruits were ruled impermissible by the university.


That violation earned an administrative assistant a letter of reprimand, a
freeze in his salary until March 1, 2002, and the mandate to attend a rules
seminar at his own expense.


During the same weekend, another violation occurred when fans were allowed to
interact with a prospect outside the football stadium. It was this violation
which resulted in the number of official visits being cut from 56 to 42.


Other information discovered in the documents obtained through the FOIA
include:


— An assistant football coach being sent to an NCAA rules clinic because of
personal interaction with a booster, again thought to be Lamar Greene, which
included use of the booster's boat dock, residence in Hilton Head and
purchase of marble. All of the violations apparently occurred when the
booster was in contact with Littlejohn and McIntosh.


— An assistant football coach being given a letter of reprimand over a verbal
exchange he had with Bowman. The action apparently stemmed from an incident
reported earlier, in which the assistant barred a compliance services
assistant from attending a meeting between Bowden and a prospect.


— An assistant coach being given a letter of reprimand and sent to a rules
clinic at his own expense for unspecified violations concerning the
recruiting weekend.


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Dan Scott is the host of SportsTalk (10AM-Noon) on 104.9 FM in Upstate SC and
Managing Editor of Seneca Daily Journal/Clemson Daily Messenger

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