Trustees learned more about the ongoing investigations into the football team at their regularly scheduled meeting Thursday morning. Among the updates was news that the University’s internal academic investigation has progressed to the student attorney general’s office.
Chancellor Holden Thorp and athletic director Dick Baddour shared other details in a half-hour question-and-answer presentation:
The tutor was dismissed in the summer of 2009 because the academic support staff felt there was too close of a relationship between her and a player, Thorp said. She was not on any University payroll after that point, he said.
The University has started to look at other sports and so far has found no academic misconduct problems. Once the immediate “crisis” is over the University plans a full review of its academic support program, Baddour said.
Appealing NCAA sanctions
After the NCAA sanctioned Kendric Burney and Deunta Williams on Wednesday, the University said it planned to appeal that decision. Baddour told trustees he believes there is a “strong basis” for the appeal and that he expects a decision on it to be known sometime next week. Baddour said he never intended to appeal the NCAA’s sanctions, but felt they were “too harsh,” particularly Williams’ case. Williams went to California on two occasions to visit a former teammate, once with Burney and once with his girlfriend. Williams paid for most of the trip’s expenses except for a trip to Disneyland, which the former teammate paid for, Baddour said.
Extent of investigations
Some of the sidelined players are being investigated for both academic misconduct and improper relationships with agents. The University won’t say which players are targets of which investigations. “We are trying very hard to protect the individual student athletes,” Thorp said.
Baddour clarified the responsibility athletic coaches have toward ensuring players’ academic integrity and success. “We all have responsibility,” he said. When recruiting, assistants are expected to identify players who will be a “good fit” academically as well as athletically, he said.
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