A report by a Howard University task force has confirmed charges made last spring by several football players at the school that two members of the coaching staff physically and verbally abused players before the 1979 season.
The report, the second issued by the task force since its formation last May, was obtained yesterday by The Washington Post. The report also concluded that student-athletes at Howard are provided "a glaringly insufficient quantity of food for such active persons to be giving their all in the classroom and on the playing field."
The task force has been studying the situation since May, when Coach Floyd Keith and members of his staff were accused by some players of incidents of physical and verbal abuse and forcing the players to participate in an illegal offseason weight-training program.
The task force's preliminary report was completed six months ago.
This latest report concluded, however, that the weight program was opened to all members of the university and was voluntary in nature. It also supported Howard's financial-aid program for student-athletes and its tutorial program, both which have come under sharp criticism.
Howard's vice president for student affairs, Dr. Carl Anderson, said yesterday he couldn't be sure if the report obtained by The Post is the final one.
Howard President James Cheek said more than three months ago he would evaluate the final report and issue a public statement. But Cheek has not returned reporters' phone calls or made any statement regarding the situation. Keith has some repeatedly that he will not comment until Cheek has made his evaluations.
Anderson, appointed by Cheek to oversee the athletic department, said Cheek would decline comment until an intercollegiate athletic committee's investigation of a second of charges (last fall) levied against the athletic department and the football coaching staff is completed.
A spokesman for the 18-member committee, separate from the task force, said yesterday that the committee is probably two weeks away from submitting its findings to Cheek.
"The president will evaluate both sets of findings separately, then make his conclusions," Anderson said. "Dr. Cheek agreed for a committee to look into that second wave of charges, so this process will be complete. It is taking a long time. But, believe me, we are not purposely stalling or putting things off."
The second set of charges against Keith and Athletic Director Leo Miles centered around a walk-on player, running back Ivan Thompson, and his roommate, Ricky Tripplet, being dismissed from the team in October. Thompson was dropped from the squad after complaining publicly about Keith allegedly reneging on a promised scholarship and about a lack of sufficient food, and then refusing to apologize; and Tripplet after disagreeing with Keith about the nature of injuries sustained.