Howard University has been found guilty of eight minor violations of NCAA recruiting rules and its football team will be placed on one year's probation, it was learned yesterday.
Under the penalty, Howard's football team will be ineligible for post-season play and to appear on NCAA telecasts. Since Howard has never been to a bowl game or on television in the past, the penalty amounts to little more than public censure.
Howard's soccer team, a national power, is currently ineligible for NCAA championship play because last season it used a transfer student ineligible for NCAA tournament play and did not notify the NCAA that the player, a star of the team, was ineligible for post-season play.
Howard, which a decade ago had a $120,000 athletic budget and no scholarships, has been pushing recently for big-time recognition. The school's athletic budget is about $1 million now, and it subsidizes the program by $750,000 annually.
The lastest NCAA action against Howard culminated a two-year investigation of Howard's football, basketball, wrestling and soccer programs. The probe was launched after allegations were made by John Oregon, former Howard wrestling coach who is now athletic director and football coach at Bowie State College.
The NCAA was unable to prove any of Oregan's more serious charges - that the school took away scholarships without due process, that grades were changed and that athletes were given credit for courses they did not take. Howard was charged with more than 30 violations when it appeared before the NCAA Infractions Committee in August.
Neither Howard nor NCAA officials would comment on the outcome of the Howard case yesterday. But it was learned that Howard was proven guilty of the following violations:
That an alumnus paid for two prospective student-athletes to fly to Miami for Howard's 1975 Orange Blossom Classis football game against Floride A&M.
That the Howard athletic department illegally reimbursed a high school football coach for driving prospective student-athletes to Washington from Detriot. The coach was paid 15 cents per mile.
That a former Howard football coach drove three football players back from Florida for the beginning of the school year.
That the athletic department reimbursed an alumnus in California for paying travel expenses of a football player.
That a prospective basketball player was introduced at halftime of a home basketball game, the NCAA forbids a school publicizing the visits of players being recruited.
That a prospective basketball player practiced with the varsity under the supervision of a former head basketball coach. The NCAA considers this a tryout, which is illegal.
The NCAA Council is currently meeting in Dallas and public announcement of penalties resulting from the August Infractions Committee meeting is expected soon.