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Caldwell - We just aren't as good at cheating
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calling_the_hogs Offline
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This is an incredible article per Dana Caldwell of the Fayetteville Morning News and it's section "Razorback Central".

Arkansas Is Out Of Its League
Thursday, May 23, 2002

As Far As Making The Cheating Grade


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Column By Dana Caldwell

The Morning News/RazorbackCentral

FAYETTEVILLE - And those NCAA folks still are sticking their snouts into the Razorbacks' business?

As Arkansas prepares to file its summary disposition to the NCAA powers that be (generally stupid) in hopes of halting what has seemed to be a never-ending saga about nothing, check this out:

Syndicated columnist Bob Gilbert will meet with Southeastern Conference investigator Bill Sievers today to tell him all about the massive academic cheating he says he's turned up involving Tennessee's football program.

"A blind man couldn't miss a lot of the manipulation that was going on with those (athletic) transcripts," Gilbert told the Atlanta-Constitution.

Problem was, apparently the misguided bureaucracy that is the NCAA was alerted but chose to look the other way.

According to Gilbert, UT English professor Linda Bensel-Meyers complained two years ago about plagiarism and grade changing at the school involving student-athletes and tried to relate her concerns to the NCAA, but those folks "wouldn't take it."

Now Gilbert is taking it to the SEC. And to Tennessee's football program.

According to his May 13 column, which was carried by six Tennessee newspapers, here's what Gilbert is toting:

• Several transcripts of football players show grades of 'F' were changed to marks of "incomplete." After football season was complete, each grade was changed back to an 'F'.

• A football player on academic probation for four semesters had no less than eight grade changes to retain his eligibility.

• A football player expelled at the end of the fall semester of 1998, was reinstated before the start of the next semester. Tennessee rules dictate expelled student-athletes must sit out a year before reapplying.

So who's this Gilbert guy? Does he have an ax to grind on Phillip Fulmer's noggin?

That seems unlikely since he's a 1960 Tennessee grad who for 29 years was the school's director of news operations before retiring in 1996.

Meantime, the NCAA is sorting through statements gleaned during Tuesday interviews with Tiffany Mayne and Caroline Owen. Mayne is a former LSU teacher and Owen is a former LSU graduate assistant.

Mayne believes papers turned in recently by five LSU football players were plagiarized. Owen makes exactly the same claim with five other players. They both have turned in the papers in question and Owen's grade book to LSU officials and have relayed through lawsuits that they were pressured to hush their allegations.

So what's the difference between the Arkansas investigation and what allegedly has gone on with the football programs of two of its SEC co-members?

Night and day.

Tennessee and LSU teachers (current and former) have accused their own schools of cheating at, well, school. Can't imagine a larger, more offensive transgression if those allegations prove to be true.

Arkansas has been accused by a scorned woman (whose credibility and ability to recollect seem not so credible; incredible at times) of not monitoring summer timeclocks down in Dallas.

In case you missed it, here's the NCAA's case, exposed during a nasty divorce proceeding, against the Hogs: Some players appear to have been overpaid for summer employment by J&H Truck Service, a rundown-looking facility in Dallas which kept even rattier records. A close friend of Arkansas athletic director Frank Broyles and a former Hogs booster, Ted Harrod Sr., owns the business. During divorce proceedings between his son (Ted Harrod Jr.) and daughter-in-law (Karey Harrod), the latter filed suit against the elder Harrod's sloppy business practices undoubtedly so she could get more money from the divorce settlement.

Many of the accusations involved hundreds of thousands of dollars. Few involved anyone with UA ties, but those that did questioned small amounts of pocket money and Harrod Sr.'s alleged pension for handing out bubblegum to Razorbacks after football games.

I solemnly swear.

Arkansas investigated itself and handed down these punishments in its self report of July 3, 2000:

• Harrod Sr. was banished from UA athletic events for five years.

• Former defensive lineman Randy Garner, who was involved with a J&H job, was suspended for the 2000 season opener.

• Forfeiture of three football scholarships for 2001 and two for 2002.

• Refusal by the university to accept $250,000 of Harrod Sr.'s $300,000 pledge for athletic sprucing and the repayment of the $50,000 Harrod Sr. had given prior to the self report.

Yet, after all that, the NCAA sent Arkansas an official whoop-de-do letter of inquiry in December in which NCAA Vice President for Enforcement Services David Price wrote that those folks were pursuing things from 1994-99 that "primarily involve the provision of extra benefits to numerous student-athletes by athletic representatives and the recruiting practices of the football staff."

The latter was the scary part for the Razorbacks.

The day after learning of the reference to his program's recruiting practices, Arkansas football coach Houston Nutt was adamant.

"They can't find anything on us," Nutt said. "I mean, I just know there's nothing. I just know how our guys operate. Our coaches know that we won't tolerate (cheating). They know we're going to abide by the rules.

"We've never cheated and we never will."

Nutt has steadfastly maintained that.

On May 9, Arkansas representatives met with NCAA officials in Indianapolis. It appears they reached an agreement that should end this thing, perhaps in August.

Arkansas admitted some former players were overpaid by Harrod Sr. The NCAA apparently admitted Arkansas showed no "lack of institutional control" and that there was nothing to the allegations of improper football recruiting.

However, to further the stupid course of this - and to end it - Arkansas must admit to a "major" violation (apparently Nutt and Broyles should stand next to summer timeclocks and scan sidelines for bubbles) in its summary disposition. The university may or may not impose further penalties upon itself and it seems it already has suffered plenty.

Meantime, the NCAA will prepare a similar report and the Committee on Infractions may or may not accept Arkansas' findings and further self-imposed penalties, if any are presented.

If the NCAA doesn't like Arkansas' resolution, this drags on.

With real things out there for the NCAA to investigate that's hard to imagine. Arkansas likely will dodge the bullet because the NCAA seems to have some legitimate places (Knoxville and Baton Rouge) to point its guns.

You see, when it comes to cheating, SEC style, Arkansas apparently is way out of its league.
05-23-2002 08:50 AM
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