Football Coach Doug Porter of Howard University will meet this morning in Boston with the NCAA Infractions Committee, then open football practice this afternoon.
The two don't mix too well.
Howard is charged with approximately 30 rules infractions in football, soccer, basketball and wrestling.
"The players have come to me and asked, "Why Howard," said Porter. "Many remember the offers they got when they were recruited by other schools and wonder why they (the other schools) aren't under investigation. Why is this happening to Howard? We don't have anything. We haven't reaped any big benefits, from TV revenue. The only sport in the school that has actually benefited at all is the soccer team which won the NCAA title in 1971 but was stripped of the crown when the NCAA ruled the school used ineligible players. The team won the title in 1974).
"I'm playing down this thing. I have told the players not to worry about it, period, I'd just like to see it settled as soon as possible so we can get on about the business of playing football."
Porter and several other coaches and Howard administrators will meet with the Infractions Committee.
Porter said he has asked permission to hear the football charges first so he can fly back to Washington in time for the opening practice.
If the coaches are sweating out the meeting, the attitude among most of the 91 players who will take the field today seems to be: "So what?"
"We have no control over the situation," said Bison receiver Steve Wilson. "Sure, it will stick in the back of my mind but I don't worry about matters I have no control over. I know I wasn't recruited illegally at Howard. What could they give me? Their recruiting methods weren't any different from North Carolina State or East Carolina. All were on the up and up.
"I don't thing it's a racism thing, although Grambling and Jackson State are in trouble with them (NCAA), too. It is strange that three black schools are being investigated at the same time. May be this is the year to go after the black schools. Next year, they'll return to investigating the white schools."
Most of the players felt the sudden negative publicity would have no effect at all on the team at their workout today.
"I don't even think about it: they appear to be nitpicking at us," said Reggie Sojourner, a senior receiver. "I sure won't lose any sleep over it."
"The timing of this is bad because it'll disrupt my first day," said Porter. "A man was here investigating these charges last year at this same time. The two weeks he was here, I had to take time out to talk with him and answer questions.Everyone was on edge."
Most of the football violations allegedly occurred before Porter arrived five years ago. But that doesn't make the former Grambling assistant coach feel any better.
"I know I have never been involved in anything illegal so I have no apologies to make. I doubt if those coaches before me realized they had done anything wrong, either," said Porter. "It depends on interpretation.
"I can't believe we'll be penalized that hard, if at all. Once the committee weighs all the evidence and listens to everyone, it'll make a fair ruling. And I believe we're guilty of nothing except interpretation."
Several freshmen players professed ignorance of what was happening. Many said they were too busy finding their way around campus or watching coeds to worry.
"Show me someone who got something here and I'll demand I be given some freebies, too," said one first-year player, waiting to be measured for equipment.
Senior defensive tackle Tommy Spears said he wasn't too surprised at the charges because "people who only look for negative things to say will find something, even if it's petty.
"I was offered a lot of things by other schools when I was recruited. One school offered me a cadilac," said the 6-foot-4 275-pound Los Angeles native. "My father told him (the recruiter) if he was giving up something he'd have to do better than that because I'd had access to a Cadilac all my life. Those schools . . . weren't winning so I guess they thought they would never be investigated anyway."