Tony Mason resigned today as football coach at the University of Arizona after completion of an internal investigation following published allegations that the misspent recruiting money and filed vouchers totaling $4,800 for trips he never took.
The resignation, according to sources, came under pressure from the university's Board of Regents.
Arizona, which is in the middle of spring football practice, called off those drills for the rest of the week Practice is scheduled to resume Monday, by which time Athletic Director Dave Strack is expected to have named an interim coach.
The internal investigation of charges by the Arizona Star and Tucson Citizen of alleged improprieties by ymason and at least six members of his staff was delivered to Strack during the weekend. Mason, who had coached at Arizona for three seasons, delivered his resignation at 9:30 a.m. today.
According to the Arizona Star, Mason and some of his assistants reportedly filed expense vouchers for airline tickets that never were used. Mason said last week that this was "notfor personal profit" but to cover expenses for which the coaches were not being reimbursed.
It could not be determined today whether criminal charges would evolve from the charges.
University President John Schaefer and other Arizona officials have declined comment on details of the internal investigation. It will be presented to the Board of Regents thisweek and may be made public after that. p
"In view of the events of recent days, I have decided that it is in the best interests of the university and my family that I resign as head football coach," Mason, 50, said in his letter of resignation.
The events that led to Mason's resignation were the culmination of a series of charges of abuses leveled against the Arizona coach by the Arizona Star this year, in the aftermath of investigative reporting that led to the resignation of Arizona State Coach Frank Kush last fall.
The other charges include the allegation that Mason may have misspent football recruiting funds by bringing nonrecruits to Tucson.
Other allegations were that Mason took first-class airline trips rather than flying at coach rates as required by state law; that he received double reimbursement for out-of-state coaching clinics, and that he may have authorized long-distance telephone calls from the univeristy for nonuniversity business.
Several university athletes also have been accused of receiving paychecks from the city of Tucson for work they did not do.