Maryland officials said yesterday they expect NCAA investigators to return to the College Park campus shortly to look into allegations that men's basketball coach Gary Williams and members of his staff conducted prohibited practices prior to the official Oct. 15 starting date.
Maryland reported what Athletic Director Lew Perkins considers secondary violations and expects the upcoming investigation will be "brief." Williams has acknowledged he observed pickup games involving his players on two occasions before official practices began, but did not communicate with the players. He has denied other allegations concerning violations of the practice rules.
Sources said unless Maryland coaches and officials have not been truthful, or other violations are uncovered, it is not likely the NCAA's Committee on Infractions will impose additional sanctions beyond those levied in February. Those include a two-year ban on postseason play and a one-year ban on live television for infractions happening during Bob Wade's three years as coach. Maryland is appealing the severity of the sanctions.
The Committee on Infractions will meet Aug. 11-14 to decide whether the violations involving Williams are secondary or major. The Washington Times reported yesterday the latest on-campus investigation. NCAA sources said yesterday the focus of the investigation will be whether Maryland had institutional control -- the main factor in the harshness of its current probation -- whether the workouts were organized by the basketball staff and whether the staff was forthcoming to the NCAA.
Sources have said at least two persons who said they observed other instances of possible infractions involving preseason workouts have provided written statements to the NCAA.
Perkins, on the eve of publication in January of stories about the alleged violations, announced he had notified the NCAA that Williams had violated the rule banning coaches from organizing or watching their teams practice before Oct. 15. The admitted violations happened while the NCAA was wrapping up its previous investigation. Maryland argued that case before the Committee on Infractions last February and was placed on three years' probation the following month in the first major infractions case in the school's history.
Maryland was handed severe sanctions for 27 violations in 13 categories, mainly for transgressions during Wade's three years.
Williams could not be reached for comment yesterday and Perkins would not elaborate on a statement released by his office.
"At the Committee on Infractions meeting in San Diego in February, it was announced that Coach Gary Williams's secondary violation would be considered separately from the charges that led to NCAA sanctions," Perkins said in the statement. "As a followup procedure to the reported violation, the university prepared a report that we expect to be reviewed by the NCAA. It is not unusual procedure for the NCAA to come to campus. I expect the review to be brief."
An NCAA source said the investigation would provide "a most accurate and detailed" account of the incident, adding any new information.
That includes allegations that Williams watched, and possibly conducted, at least one more practice than the pair of workouts he has admitted to observing. Kim Adkins, wife of former Maryland player and assistant coach Jeff Adkins, was interviewed twice by the NCAA last winter and said in a statement that she witnessed Williams and Perkins watching a workout from the railing above the court at Cole Field House while two assistant coaches stood on the floor.
A university employee reported to university compliance officer Gerry Gurney that he observed a practice in the auxiliary gym at Cole in early September in which the team members were dressed in practice gear and the coaches blew whistles and instructed the players.
Williams has said he only observed two workouts.