The National Collegiate Athletic Association put Nort Carolina Central's track program on probation yesterday - no postseason competition this school year and next - and ordered the Mid-Eastern Athletic Conference school to sever athletic relations with Leroy Walker, the former NCCU coach who was the U.S. Olympic head track coach in 1976.
The Durham, N.C., institution's response: "To have done other than what we did would most certainly have precipitated an international incident . . ."
The NCCA, said infractions committee chairman Arthur R. Reynolds, "found serious violations involving the improper recruitment and provision of extra benefits to two outstanding athletes for the most part by one former member of the university's found that the institution itself directly provided improper financial assistance to the young men." For instance, free air transport to Durham when the two were prospective enrollees; payment of traffic fines and library fees for the athletes; gifts of coaching staff. In addition, it was cash and clothing.
The two competitors were Robert Ouko and Julius Sang, who came to the university in 1971 and graduated with honors in 1976 - in between, helping Kenya to a gold medal in the 1972 Olympics at Munich as members of the 1,600-meter relay quartet; Sang added a bronze in the 440. And, of course, they outran a lot of Howard Bison and the rest of their MEAC revals in a lot of meets.
In defense of NCCU's actions, university chancellor Albert Whiting said Ouko and Sang were presented clothing after theirs was stolen in a burglary of their dormitory room, and they were put up in an off-campus apartment because they did not get along well with other students.
NCCU public relations director A.M. Rivera elaborated that the special assistance provided the two Kenyans "was certainly less than $1,000 for the entire time they were here."The apartment was provided, Rivera said, "after it was clearly established that their rather pronounced cultural differences and the local student reaction to them would not have enabled comfortable integration into our campus dormitory situation . . . (might) have precipitated an international incident which would have reflected negatively on our institution's image both at home and abroad."
Violence? There could have been. Our students were hostile to them. Africans think they are superior to Americans blacks. You would have thought the (American) kids would have been glad to have these Africans here, but they were not."
The NCAA ordered that not only Walker, track coach at NCCU 1947-74 and now a professor of physical education, but Aaron Jermundson, who was assistant track coach and now is a media specialist in audio-visual aids, must have nothing more to do with athletes at Central. . .
NCAA crackdown, cont'd: Texas A&M received a one-year basketball probation for circa-1975 infractions revolving around players Karl Godine and Jarvis Williams (both suspended by the Southwest Conference the past year, but with no sanctions attached. The Aggies expressed relief that all they have to do is break all relations with "certain" overzealous boosters. . .