A former investigator for the National Colegiate Athletic Association's enforcement arm said yesterday that other investigators had bribed athletes to help the NRCAA investigate their schools.
Brent Clark, who worked for the NCAA for more than two years, also told the House Subcommitte on Oversight and Operations that an investigator had not filed charges against one player after the athlete provided the investigator with "the services of a young lady."
Clark, who joined the subcommitee staff Feb. 1, also testified about secret, but legal, taping of telephone calls during investigations and alleged there had been collusion between the investigative staff and administrative bodies hearing rules violation cases.
Rep. John E. Moss (D.Calif.), subcommittee chairman, noted the House investigation began before Clark left the NCAA. Moss said Clark, a lawyer, was hired by the Subcommittee for his educational background, expertise in the subject and his desire to work in Congress.
Moss said the investigation, prompted by Rep. Jim Satini (D.Nev.), whose state has two schools on probation, is to study allegations of "unfairness, arbitrariness, inequality, secrecy and other abuse of execessive power . . . (which) deserved in an official and public forum for the first time."
NCAA officials are not scheduled to testify until later, but Thomas C. Hansen, NCAA assistant executive secretary, rebutted some of yesterday's charges and Walter Byers, executive director, talked to some reported by telephone from NCAA headquarters in Kansas.
Athletes, Clark testified, are "routinely cajoled, or even bribed, into sacrificing their athletic careers." Pressed by Rep. Marc L. Marks (R.Pa.) to be specific about the words "routine" and "bribed," Clark gave these examples:
Wayne (Tree) Rollins, who graduated from Clemson last year, was offered legal representation with professional teams by former NCAA investigator Doug Dunlop in return for helping with an investigation. Clark called this "flesh pedding." (Byers said the reports is not true.)
Bill Hut, head of the NCAA's enforcement staff, told Clark he had offered Major Jones, an Eastern Basketball Association player, a chance to tryout with the Kansas City Kings of the National Basketball Association in return for help with an investigation.
Clark was to mention the tryout again in an effort to get Jones to cooperate, but Clark said he did not bring up the matter.
(Hansen said Joe Axelson, the Kings' general manager, asked Hunt to pass on the word that the club was interested in Jones.)
An investigator told Clark that a University of Mississippi athlete had "provided him with the services of a young lady." As a result, Clark said, the investigator told Ole Miss Coach Kent Cooper he would not turn in the athlete for violations "because he had that information on" the investigator.
(Byers said the incident was not true.)
NCAA investigators are encouraged, Clark said, to talk to athletes while "shooting pool, spending time in their homes, baby-sitting with them . . . rather than at school where they would have the benefit of counseling by in institution."
Charging that "something of a tranny seems to exist over the members of the NCAA," Clark accused the organization of inflicting "selective punishment upon institutions; selections based not on reports of violations so much as politics and balance sheet."
Clark contended that decisions on whether or not to investigate school are heavily weighed according to Byers' opinion of the school, a charges Byers denies (of the 144 Division I football schools, Hansen said later, only 11 have never been investigated and 74 have been penalized.)
Clark testified that colleges that challenged the NCAA's penalties or did not cooperate generally are singled out for punishment.
As an example, he said, he was sent to investigate alleged violations at the University of Mississippi in 1976 and found violations "at least as serious" as those that resulted in Mississippi State, Old Miss' rival, to be put on probation for two years.
However, Mississippi State had challenged the NCAA in court and, Clark said, the NCAA was not about to move against Ole Miss since it had conformed. Clark said he was then told to "switch gears" and find additional violations against Mississippi State for which the school could be penalized.
Clark testified that the hearing procedures for alleged rule violators consititute "the worst abuses . . . Once the investigation is launched, the institution involved is doomed, regardless of the state of evidence . . ."
The accused is not told who brought the charges, nor specifically what the charges are, Clark said. Cross-examination is not permitted when the case is heard by the Infractions Committee, Clark added.
The committee theoretically impartial and hearing the case for the first time, Clark said, usually has been briefed by the investigative staff. After the hearing, Clark charged, the committee and the enforcement staff "adjourn to a hotel room, open a richly deserved store of liquor and begin to discuss the case in earnest."
The committee invariably accepts the staff's recommendations for penalties, he said. Appeals of the committee's findings to the NCAA executive council are "excercises in futility," Clark said, since the council often has been briefed by the staff. (The NCAA denies this.)
The NCAA, Clark said,is investigator, prosecutor, judge and jury.