University of Maryland Chancellor John B. Slaughter has called an 11 o'clock press conference this morning to announce the results of his inquiry into allegations that basketball Coach Lefty Driesell tried to pressure a student into withdrawing her complaint against one of his players.
There were no indications last night that Driesell's job was in jeopardy.
"I cannot conceive of his getting fired," said Tom Fields, the athletic department's fund raiser. "I'd bet my life tonight that he wouldn't be fired as basketball coach. He's hired to fill Cole Field House first and win games second.
"Since I'm the fund raiser, people call me when they want to complain. I have yet to get one single derogatory letter or phone call."
Driesell, who is expected to be at the press conference, has coached at Maryland for 14 seasons.
Today's announcement by Slaughter comes almost two months after the morning the student claims Driesell telephoned her apartment three times in an attempt to pressure her into withdrawing her complaint that junior cocaptain Herman Veal tried to force sexual attentions on her last fall. A student judicial board heard Veal's case and, as a result, he was declared ineligible two days before Maryland's last regular season game.
The alleged telephone calls came the day after Veal's appeals were exhausted.
After the woman appealed to the student legal aid office, Slaughter appointed three faculty members as a fact-finding committee to make recommendations to him. They submitted their report April 20, then Slaughter said he would look into the matter.
Sources familiar with the case expect Driesell to receive an official reprimand, being "chewed out a little probably," as one athletic department official speculated. The woman has said she wants an apology from Driesell.
The panel also was asked to look into leaks of supposedly confidential information from the student judicial review process. It is believed that the panel recommended specific security improvements in that process. It could not be determined whether any action will be taken against Gary Pavela, director of the judicial programs office.
Slaughter was unavailable for comment, and his top assistants declined comment yesterday. Driesell, who has denied pressuring the woman, also was unavailable.
The woman, who has asked not to be identified, has been represented throughout the proceedings by William Salmond, director of the student legal aid office. Now, however, she said she has retained outside counsel in the event she decides to pursue civil litigation.
"Half of me says, 'If they don't do anything, at least it will all be over,' and the other half says, 'You've been done wrong,' " she said yesterday. "But if the administration doesn't believe me, I also wonder who will."
Veal's attorney, Stuart J. Robinson, has asked for specific changes in the student judicial process, including what type of complaints are suitable for review. But Slaughter has said that issue would not be included in the panel's work.
"We'll have to look at the whole thing and decide where we go from here," Robinson said last night. He said the issue is "the integrity of the system."
Salmond has said the issue is "what kind of conduct the university will tolerate from its employes."