Texas Christian University alumnus and booster Dick Lowe, amplifying on his admission of participating in providing improper payments to six football players, said today he will resign from the school's board of trustees and from all activities connected with the Horned Frogs' athletic program.
Lowe, a Texas oilman and former player at TCU, spoke to The Washington Post on the eve of the arrival of an NCAA investigative team that was requested by the university when Coach Jim Wacker suspended all-America running back Kenneth Davis and five others Thursday night.
The players confessed after a team meeting that they had accepted payments while being recruited during the tenure of former TCU coach F.A. Dry, and that some continued to receive money as recently as this fall.
The revelation was stunning, as TCU had thought itself above the morass of several scandals that hit Southwest Conference athletics recently, the most drastic resulting in stiff NCAA probation for Southern Methodist University football for recruiting violations.
Three other SWC schools are reportedly suspected of recruiting improprieties.
Lowe confirmed that he was one of an undisclosed number of boosters making payments. He said he had sent a letter that TCU Chancellor William Tucker will receive Tuesday morning.
"The gist of the letter is that I am resigning from the board of trustees and all involvement with the football team," Lowe said. "It is intolerable to have on the board a member who knowingly broke the rules. My motive is that we have made a mistake, let's own up to it and go from there, and try to make TCU an example for others."
TCU announced that an NCAA investigative team, requested by the school in the early hours of Friday morning, would arrive Tuesday.
Athletic Director Frank Windegger said he had contacted NCAA Executive Director Walter Byers and Steve Morgan, an assistant executive director concerned with NCAA legislative services, yesterday to ask that the NCAA investigate the scandal as quickly as possible. Administrators have been outspoken about their wish for a thorough investigation, and said that the school will comply to the utmost.
"We have requested that they respond as quickly as possible," Tucker said. "We're going to do what's right and take our medicine."
The NCAA team will meet with university officials, players and coaches. The five other players suspended by Wacker, all seniors and four of them starters, are linebacker Gearld Taylor, tackle Darron Turner, safety Egypt Allen, linebacker Gary Spann and defensive back Marvin Foster. Wacker and his staff have not been implicated in any NCAA violations.
Davis, a fifth-year senior, returned to campus and was back in class yesterday after a mysterious weekend retreat. He was unavailable for comment. The potential Heisman Trophy candidate was the school's first consensus all-America since Bob Lilly in 1959. He led the nation last year in rushing average per carry with 7.64 yards, and was third in rushing per game with 146.5 yards and scoring, with 17 touchdowns.
According to the Fort Worth Star-Telegram, quoting unnamed sources, the six players received at least $1,800 a month, with $1,100 going to one player and $700 to another, beginning under the administration of Dry.
Lowe would not confirm those figures today, but said he had described the system of payment in his letter to Tucker and would cooperate fully with the NCAA investigation. He added that he was not the only booster involved.
"I wanted to outline specifically what went on to my knowledge," he said. "And I wanted to tell Chancellor Tucker that Jim Wacker and his staff had absolutely no knowledge of it . . . I'm anxious to talk to the NCAA and tell them what I know. The point is to say we made a mistake and let's do our best to clean it up. There are some honest, reformed alumni, and I'm one of them."
Dry, who was head coach here from 1977 to 1982 and is now an assistant offensive line coach at Baylor, has denied any knowledge of the fund. But another alumnus and former player, Morris (Snake) Bailey, today alleged in the Star-Telegram that he was approached by Dry in 1980 about starting a slush fund of $7,500 a month.
"That's $90,000 a year in cash," Bailey was quoted as saying. "I told him I wouldn't even do that for my wife."
Dry was unavailable for comment today, but Sunday night he told the Star-Telegram that he denied the accusations.
"That's totally a fabrication," he said. "I can't confirm the activities of someone else, but this looks like somebody is trying to get at me or use me to cover something up."
Lowe, 57, has long been known as one of the most influential TCU boosters. He was an offensive lineman under famed coach Dutch Meyer during 1947-1950, a former chairman of the board of trustees athletic committee, and a past president of the Frog Club, an organization of TCU supporters that has no official ties to the university. He has been an active on-campus recruiter for the Horned Frogs.
He said he became involved in the recruiting scandal out of "frustration." The Horned Frogs' appearance in last year's Bluebonnet Bowl was their first postseason game since 1965. Dry's best season was 3-8 in 1982.
"It was frustration, but that's no excuse for breaking the rules," Lowe said. "I've got more sense than that. My loyalties were misguided."