Basketball All-American Phil Ford has forfeited $100 rather than appear in city court on two minor charges, but the manner in which the money may have been paid could involve his North Carolina University coach, Dean Smith, in a more serious matter.
First report said the money Ford forfeited, rather than fight charges of obstructing traffic and disorderly conduct, was paid with a personal check from Smith a possible violation of National Collegiate Athletic Association regulations.
J. Lambert Schwartz, a Myrtle Beach businessman who posted the money, has told two versions of where it came from. Smith today denied any wrongdoing.
Schwartz told Terry W. Swipe, state editor of the Raleigh News and Observer, on Monday night that he had posted the bond with a $100 personal check from Smith. Today, both Smith and Schwartz denied Smith had put up the money.
Smith said Dr. Wayne Wood, Ford's half-brother, has delivered a $100 check to Smith's office after Ford and Smith decided that it would be best to forfeit the $100 ans forget the incident instead of fighting it in court.
NCAA regulations forbid a coach from making interest-free loans or guaranteeing bond for athletes. But it is legal for the athlete to give such money to the coach, then the coach handle the bond.
Ford was arrested the week after Carolina had finished as runner-up to Marquette in the NCAA basketball tournament. Ford was reportedly one of 350 persons arrested during the vacations week here.
In Chapel Hill, N.C., Smith issued a statement today that said, "It's obvious to anyone connected with intercollegiate athletics that a coach cannot cosign a loan, post bond or pay a fine for an athlete, so I certainly did not do that."
Later, he told sports reporter Carlton Tudor of the Raleigh Times, "You know I'm not that crazy.