Thirty athletes from UCLA, USC and seven other colleges and universities obtained credits from a small California school for summer extension classes that most did not attend.
Coaches or other members of athletic departments were deeply involved in enrolling the athletes, sometimes without their knowledge.
The number of athletes and the diversity of the schools involved pointed up the epidemic nature of the current intercollegiate sports scandal.
The classes were three extension courses offered by California Lutheran College in the summer of 1977 and purportedly held at the home of a disabled dentist in Los Alamitos, southeast of Los Angeles and 60 miles from the parent school in Thousand Oaks.
All 30 athletes received credits from California Lutheran, but not all the credits were transferred to two schools -- UCLA, because of an apparent internal dispute, and Hawaii, which flatly rejected the California Lutheran transcripts.
Those enrolled in one or more of the California Lutheran classes, an investigation by the Los Angeles Times has disclosed, were:
Ten key UCLA athletes, including three present-day NFL players: Rams' Frank Corral, a placekicker who was the club's top scorer last year, the Eagles' Jerry Robinson and the Cardinals' Theotis Brown; also, quarterback Steve Bukich and five other principals on the 1977 UCLA football team and James Wilkes, a member of last season's UCLA basketball team that reached the final of the NCAA championship tourney.
Three USC track and field stars -- sprinter Joel Andrews, Kenyan middle-distance runner David Atenga Omwansa and Billy Mullins, who was recently declared ineligible because of an unrelated academic irregularity.
A fourth USC track and field man, discus-thrower Darrell Elder, received credit for one of the three classes through a forged transcript, one of a host of intercollegiate athletic infractions currently under investigation by the Los Angeles district attorney's office.
Five University of Hawaii football players, one of whom, Wilber Haslip, now is with the Kansas City Chiefs of the National Football League. At least two were thousands of miles from the classes when they purportedly were held in Los Alamitos.
Seven athletes who attended two schools in the California State University and Colleges system -- three from Cal Poly-Pomona and three from San Jose State, plus one who planned to play football there.
Football and basketball players who attended Pepperdine, Utah, Santa Barbara City College and Nevada-Las-Vegas.
Enrolled in two of the classes were two Nevada basketball players -- Tony Smith, a member of the basketball team that reached the 1976 NCAA semifinals, and Belinda Candler, now center for the Houston Angels. Candler for the last two years has been a member of the Women's Professional Basketball League's all-star team. She is the first woman athlete to surface in the current sports scandal.
Times reporters succeeded in reaching 21 of the 30 widely scattered athletes, either in person or by telephone, including one now living in American Samoa.
Eleven admitted they did not attend any of the three classes. Six claimed they had attended, but they either insisted they took a class on the California Lutheran campus in Thousand Oaks or they conceded they never took a course in a Los Alamitos home. Three insisted they attended but refused to discuss the matter. One, place-kicker Corral, referred reporters to his lawyer, who declined comment. Nine could not be reached.
Among those who claimed to be mystified by the appearance of their names on the class roosters were Robinson, a three-time all-America linebacker at UCLA, and Brown, one of the great running backs in UCLA history.
The three classes were in U.S. history, human anatomy and English grammar.