Lou Holtz, Clem Haskins and John Gutekunst joined Luther Darville as the major targets Friday when the NCAA formally charged the University of Minnesota with 21 allegations of rules violations.
The charges came in an official letter of inquiry that was received by the university Friday.After more than 21/2 years of investigation, the NCAA detailed three new allegations against Haskins' basketball program and three allegations of cash payments to players by former football coach Holtz. Gutekunst was accused of giving former player Bruce Holmes $200 to pay parking tickets and another player $20 so an athlete could buy an anniversary gift for his wife.
Gopher athletic director Rick Bay said he considered the most serious allegations con
tained in the official letter to involve cash payments and other "extra benefits" provided to student-athletes by fired administrator Luther Darville. Darville was convicted of swindling more than $186,000 from the university in November 1989, but maintained he gave much of the money to university football and men's basketball players.
"I still think the real question of this case is to what extent the university knew what Darville was doing, or to what extent should we have known what Darville was doing," Bay said. "I think if the NCAA determines there isn't any culpability on our part, then we're in pretty good shape. If they think that we should have known everything Luther Darville did, then we've got a major penalty."
The university is scheduled to appear before the NCAA infractions committee Feb. 1-3 in San Diego, Calif. A decision on possible penalties will be made four to six weeks after that meeting. The university made the letter of inquiry public, with names omitted, at a press conference Friday afternoon. The Star Tribune was able to identify most of the individuals involved based on sources and prior reporting.
Holtz, now coaching at Notre Dame, conducted a brief press conference at South Bnd, Ind., Friday night to discuss allegations that he made the following cash payments to players: $250 to Jerry Keeble for a correspondence course, $200 to Roselle Richardson after Richardson claimed to have lost his wallet on a recruiting trip, and $500 to university academic adviser LeRoy Gardner to be given to Keeble.
Holtz acknowledged the $250 payment to Keeble, saying he did so for "humanitarian reasons." He vehemently denied giving Gardner money to pass on to a player, and said he he gave Richardson $20, not $200 as the NCAA alleges.
"When I reflect back on my decision (to give Richardson the money), it was an instantaneous one and one which I should not have made, and I'm sorry now that I did make it," Holtz said. "By no stretch of the imagination did I attempt to gain a competitive edge by this action."
The letter of inquiry detailed 14 allegations that were self-reported by the university as part of its internal investigation and seven allegations resulting from a subsequent NCAA investigation. There were allegations made against the football, men's basketball and wrestling programs.
The NCAA classified the 21 allegations as "major" in nature, but NCAA officials David Berst and Bob Minnix said Friday night they did not believe the university was a candidate for the "death penalty," in which one or more programs would be abolished for at least one year.
The Gophers men's basketball program was given two years probation and several sanctions in March 1988, which technically could have classified the school as a repeat offender eligible for the death penalty.