The fraudulent transcript scandal that first surfaced in November at the University of New Mexico and then spread to five other western schools may be moving east according to sources close to the NCAA investigation.
Since November six New Mexico basketball players and three football players have been suspended. New Mexico fired Norm Ellenberger, basketball coach, and his assistant, Manny Goldstein.
The Sun Devils also had to forfeit their 1979 football victories and several in basketball because of the intelligble players.
Since the Arizona State, San Jose State, Utah, Oregon and Oregon State have been named as schools under investigation by the NCAA and FBI. Arizona State had eight football players suspended and forfeited a number of football victories.San Jose State has forfeited several basketball victories.Assisant coaches at Oregon have resigned. Now, NCAA sources have told the Associated Press that schools east of the Mississippi may also be involved. The fraud centers around athletes receiving credit for extension or correspondence courses in which they either did no work or never attended class.
"We're finding a common thread involved where individuals know each other, individuals who are willing to help each other," the AP was told. "The overall number of schools involved is going to be significantly bigger than what has become public now. It's now all confined to the Western part of the United States."
The scandal first surfaced in late November when it was revealed that an FBI phone tap -- granted during an Albuquerque gambling investigation -- had picked up a conversion between Ellenberger and Goldstein in which the fixing of a player's transcript was discussed.
An Albuquerque newspaper reported yesterday that Goldstein is now cooperating with the FBI and the NCAA in their investigations.
That would indicate that the scandal goes beyond the nine athletes already suspended. A federal grand jury is also investigating the University for possible mail fraud William E. Davis, UNM president, testified earlier this month and said gambling and possible point-shaving were touched on during the questioning.
At Arizona State, FBI agents are investigating criminal violations ranging from mail fraud to illegal gambling by coaches, according to John Schwada, ASU president.
The investigation centers on three major violations:
Charges that football coaches and Sun Devils boosters broke federal gambling laws;
Allegations that the university illegally used the mails to falsify transcripts of the eight suspended football players;
Reports that witnesses in the $2.2 million lawsuit brought by former ASU punter Kevin Rutledge against former Coach Frank Kush were intimidated. Rutledge sued Kush for allegedly punching him on the sidelines during a 1978 game.