The sanctions in the Atlantic Coast Conference's two-year probation against the Clemson University football program are stiffer than those imposed by the NCAA Monday night and will keep the Tigers out of a bowl games for three years, university President Bill Lee Atchley said yesterday.
At a press conference in Clemson, S.C., Atchley also announced a planned reorganization of the athletic department that would reduce substantially the areas of responsibility of Bill McLellan, but allow him to keep the title of athletic director.
Under the reorganization plan, an associate athletic director would be hired to oversee the football and basketball programs, recruiting, rules monitoring and budgeting. He would have an assistant to oversee other sports programs. McLellan's title would be athletic director and director of athletic business affairs and marketing. In an interview last night, Atchley said that in the reorganization McLellan would delegate more authority, and thus have less responsibility, but would be more involved in policy making under guidelines set by the president. He said the rapid growth of the athletic department necessitated such a move.
McLellan has been athletic director since 1971. The probation imposed Monday night was the second major NCAA penalty against a Clemson program in his tenure. The basketball program was placed on three years probation with sanctions in 1975. The football program received a public reprimand at the same time.
The sanctions imposed by the ACC, combined with the sanctions imposed by the NCAA, make the total package of punishment the stiffest in college football since 1960.
Atchley said the ACC sanctions also will keep Clemson from sharing conference television and bowl revenues for 1983 and 1984, bar them from competing for the conference championship in 1983 and 1984 and prevent results of those games from being used to determine the conference champion in those years.
Atchley estimated that Clemson would lose $300,000 to $400,000 annually as its share of conference bowl and television revenue.
Atchley also said he was imposing stiffer disciplinary action against athletic department personnel ranging "from the top on down" and against five boosters. Last night he said he may discipline three to four additional persons in the athletic department who were not cited by the NCAA. He said there could be some firings, but that Coach Danny Ford will not be fired. But Atchley also said: "As head coach he is responsible for the program and, as an administrator, should know what's going on."
At his press conference, Atchley had said: "I didn't go to the NCAA to defend illegal or sloppy practices, several of which date back to 1977 under a different coaching staff, and two years before I came to Clemson. I do appear here today, as I did then, to tell you that Clemson is one university where athletics will play a proper role . . . And anybody who thinks the tail wags the dog on this campus is in for a shock."
Atchley said Homer Jordan, quarterback on Clemson's national college football champions last season, was one of three current players who were involved in the infractions resulting in the NCAA's two-year probation.
In a much-publicized case, Jordan's promissory note to buy an automobile was cosigned by a Clemson booster in January in violation of NCAA rules. Atchley suspended Jordan for one game this season for what Atchley called a "technical violation." He said the NCAA agreed that suspension was adequate and has reinstated the quarterback. The other players, both unidentified but reported to be juniors or sophomores, are ineligible for postseason play for the remainder of their college careers.
Atchley said Clemson had appealed the ACC probation. "But so far we've come home empty-handed," he said. A spokesman for Atchley said that should be taken to mean that the ACC's executive committee rejected the appeal, but might reconsider after studying the corrective self-policing measures Clemson is putting into effect and the sanctions of the NCAA probations.
As it now stands, the combination of the NCAA and ACC sanctions will:
* Keep Clemson out of a bowl game until after the 1985 season, or when next season's freshmen will be seniors.
* Bar the Tigers from television appearances during the 1983 and 1984 seasons, which would have surely been maximum-exposure years considering the 1981 national championship and an 8-1-1 record going into Saturday's season-ending game against Wake Forest in Toyko.
* Reduce by one-third the maximum number of scholarships the university can give to recruits the next two years, putting a premium on avoiding injuries and attrition. The total effect of this unprecedented penalty will not be known for at least four years, when it is seen how the reduction in scholarships affects Clemson's record and thus its potential television and bowl revenues.
The disciplinary action Atchley said he has taken or may take against members of the athletic department include: probationary periods of one to three years; frozen salary and salary reductions; prohibitions against recruiting; reassignment to other duties; removal from the football program; written official reprimands. Atchley said the university would sever all ties with three boosters indefinitely, with another booster for five years and a fifth booster for two years.
He said that 70 percent of the violations involved only seven recruits over a period of five years, that about 40 percent of the violations involved people who are not employed by the university and that about one-third involved coaches no longer at Clemson.
The combined penalties are considered the stiffest since 1960, when Indiana University was placed on four years probations with sanctions in all sports as a result of a football recruiting case. The university also lost its NCAA vote and was barred from committee membership, according to Dave Berst, NCAA director of enforcement.
Atchley presented yesterday what he considered extenuating circumstances in some violations, such as the one in which Ford and McLellan were cited for paying a player's dental bill. A source close to the investigation confirmed that this was a relatively minor infraction. "We'd do it again, but we would call the NCAA first," Atchley said.
Atchley said that Clemson's opportunity to present its internal investigation during three days of hearings before the NCAA had restored the university's credibility with the NCAA.
Asked to comment on that, Berst said, "The institution did a very good job in the hearing room before the Committee on Infractions. The committee was impressed by the commitment they saw during the hearing."