Norm Sloan, North Carolina State basketball coach, told Congress yesterday that an NCAA investigator told him he would force Jerry Tarkanian, Nevada-Las Vegas basketball coach, out of coaching.
Sloan said the investigator, Bill Hunt, told him he would seek Tarkanian's ouster for a number of suspected rules villations as well as because of information that an NCAA staffer on the UNLV case was to be the object of a frameup involving drugs and prostitutes.
Hunt denied last week and again yesterday that he ever said anything about running Tarkanian out of coaching.
Sloan appeared slightly nervous in his testimony before the House Commerce Committee's subcommittee on oversight and investigations. He was the final witness in the panel's probe of NCAA investigative and enforcement procedures.
Acting Chairman Albert Gore Jr. (D-Tenn.) noted before the hour-long session that Sloan was appearing as "an extremely reluctant witness who is required to be here under threat of subpoena."
From transcripts submitted for the record and oral statements made yesterday, it was apparent Sloan feared possible reprisals from the NCAA for his testimony about what, if any, threats were made to Tarkanian's coaching career.
As testimony over several days has shown, Sloan told Tarkanian about the alleged threat, then denied to the NCAA that it was ever made.
As Sloan yesterday described the sequence of events, N.C. State was coming off a year's probation in basketball when he met Tarkanian at a 1973 coaching clinic. (Hunt, however, said yesterday he did not learn of the alleged frame up until 1975.)
Tarkanian, Slaon said, was disturbed about the upcoming NCAA investigation into UNLV - one that has since led to a two-year basketball probation, ending after this season, and an order that he be suspended from coaching for the duration. He is still coaching while his case is being appealed, howeve.
Recalling for the subcommittee what he had told Tarkanian about his talk with Hunt, Sloan said he had told the other coach. "He (Hunt) got rather emotional and said, in effect - no, he said - 'We're not only going to get him, we're going to run him out of coaching.' He stood up and his face got all red.
"He said the NCAA had information that Jerry and some friends were going to arrange to have drugs planted in (investigators') rooms and prostitutes to discredit the NCAA investigation."
Tarkanian has vehemently denied participating in any kind of frameup.
Although the frameup allegation was made part of the NCAA case file on UNLV, and some preliminary inquiries were made with Las Vegas officials of the possibility, the NCAA did not "give serious consideration" to the frameup charges, an NCAA source said.
According to testimony given the subcommittee, Hunt got word of the alleged frameup from Lew Schaffel, a lawyer-sports entrepreneur, who got it from Tony Morroco, a former assistant to Tarkanian at both UNLV and Long Beach State. Morocco and Tarkanian parted on less than friendly terms, sources said.
Sloan told the subcommittee that Tarkanian asked him to testify about Hunt's alleged remarks during the UNLV hearings before the NCAA. But, Sloan said. "I don't want to get involved. I had a fear of getting involved in opposition to the NCAA."
When Warren Brown, former NCAA enforcement director, asked Sloan in 1976 about Hunt's alleged comments, Sloan denied hearing them, he recalled yesterday.
Rep. Jim Santini (D-Nev.) who sparked the NCAA hearings because of the UNLV case, asked Sloan why he was apprehensive.
"They're (the NCAA) very powerful as you know, and they have a great deal of influence on my life or the life of another coach at another member institution," Sloan said. "I just don't think it's a healthy situation to have those people upset at you."