A National Collegiate Athletic Association official said yesterday Howard University possibly would not have been placed on one-year probation, announced officially yesterday, had university officials cooperated fully with the NCAA investigative staff and infractions committee.
"It was not a case of where we found widespread violations," said David Berst, NCAA director of enforcement.
"It is very well possible that had the institution made a better effort at showing the committee they were interested in finding out what happened and, thus, how it could be corrected in the future, the institution would not have been placed on probation."
Only the football program was placed on probation, although the school was found guilty of recruiting, improper aid and administrative violations in both football and basketball. The probation covers this academic year and Howard's football team may not appear in an NCAA- controlled telecast or play in postseason bowl game. The team is 4-5 going into Saturday's final game against Morgan State.
Howard's probation was reported last month, but the failure of Howard officials to cooperate fully with the NCAA came to light yesterday when the NCAA made public for the first time its sanctions and findings against Howard.
Charles Alan Wright of the University of Texas, chairman of the NCAA infractions committee, said Howard's 1973 probation, involving violations in its soccer program, also was considered in levying the lightest penalty. At that time, Howard put the blame on administrative foulup.
"Another significant factor in the committee's consideration," said Wright, "was the finding that the university, in conducting its investigation, did not make an effort to interview did not make an effort to interview all principals involved in the case or to collect related information in all instances even though the university had been specifically requested to do so."
Paul Hathaway, a spokesman for Howard President James Cheek, said university officials would have "no comment at all."
Leo Miles, director of athletics, said, "I'm not making any comment. It's all over with as far as I'm concerned . . . We'll live with whatever is said."
The official NCAA statement lists 11 violations by Howard - seven concerning football, one basketball and the other three Howard's administrative handling of the situation.
Two of the latter are technical violations. Berst said, citing Cheek and Football Coach Doug Porter for Certifying Howard was in compliance with NCAA rules when violations had occured. But, Berst said, "they were in no position to know they violated NCAA rules at that point."
However, the other administrative violation - and the first listed by the NCAA in its summary - cites "violation of the cooperative principle of the NCAA enforcement program."
When a school is first charged by the NCAA, it is directed to launch its own investigation. According to Berst, the school is provided a list of allegations naming individuals and records relative to the case. The school is then supposed to contact each person and try to secure copies of the records.
"Howard failed to contact all people involved in the case," Berst said. "They failed to even ask individuals involved if they would release records to the NCAA.
"It left them (Howard administrators) where they didn't have full data, or as much as the NCAA staff. Usually the school has more data available to it than we do . . . The institution did not do a good job of finding out what the problems were."
Berst said that Howard's explanation for failure to cooperate fully was that the school's legal counsel determined that the university could question or seek records only from people currently employed or enrolled at the university.
"That's a first," Berst said.
However, he said, Howard's lack of cooperation "did not alter the type of case we had against them."
The other eight violations, according to the NCAA, were:
In December 1974 Dr. Ewart Brown, a Howard alumnus, arranged for Tom Spears, pressure a defensive tackle on the University football team, and Dwight Smith, who did not attend Howard, to be provided roundtrip airfare between Calfiornia and Miami for the 1974 Orange Blossom Classic in which Howard played. The the two prospective student-athletes to be given free room, board and entertainment. (Brown and Porter deny
In May 1974 a representative of university's athletic interests was NCAA also said Porter arranged for they violated the rules.) reimbursed for paying the commercial airfare for two prospective student-athletes to visit the University.
In both February 1973 and February 1974 a high school coach from Detroit was reimbursed for driving prospective football players from Detroit to Washington and back.
In September 1972 a then-assistant football coach arranged for a prospective player to be flown commercially to Washington to enroll and begin classes.
During August 1972 a then-assistant football coach used an athletic department van to drive four players from their homes in Florida to Howard so they could report for preseason practice and enroll.
During the 1973-74 and 1974-75 academic years, Ben Harris, a star linebacker, received financial aid in excess of "commonly accepted educational expenses as defined by the NCAA." Harris received a full athletic grant-in-aid as well as Basic Educational Opportunity Grant funds both years.
A prospective basketball player worked out with the university team in the presence of Coach Marshall Emery during the spring of 1974 violating the NCAA "tryout" rule. The player also was given, illegally, athletic workout clothing by Emery.
Two prospective football players, during their official visits to the university during February 1975, were publicly, and illegally, introduced during the halftimes of Howard basketball games.