We have called this press conference to announce that we will
appeal todayís decision by the NCAA to impose a one-year post-season
ban on Cal football and penalize the program with the loss
of a total of 13 football scholarships over the next five
We take violations of NCAA rules very seriously at Cal.
In the case of academic fraud, there is no university that
takes this issue more seriously. I consider the awarding
of unearned academic credit to violate the most basic principle
of a university. The case of academic impropriety involving
two former student athletes and a professor in the spring
semester of 1999, thus, I consider to be an extremely serious
violation, and a violation fully deserving of a serious
penalty. We self-imposed a penalty that we believed met
that standard and the infractions committee of the Pac-10
agreed. The penalty included the loss of four football scholarships
over two years and probation for one year.
Later, following the arrival of a new athletic administrative
team we discovered the department had failed to require
student athletes on the football team who had made unauthorized
hotel charges to reimburse the university for those charges.
This failure and the failure to manage the related eligibility
reinstatement process had unfortunately been allowed to
persist over several seasons. We immediately initiated our
own investigation of the matter and reported our findings
to the NCAA infractions staff with whom we were already
cooperating in their investigation of the academic fraud
matter. These infractions in and of themselves were relatively
minor, in some cases they amounted to an unauthorized phone
call of 75 cents, in most other cases charges of a few dollars.
It would be difficult to construe these infractions as giving
Cal a competitive advantage since if they had been cleared
up in a timely fashion and the athletes reinstated properly
they would not have risen to a level necessary to report
to the NCAA. The problem is that the infractions were allowed
to accumulate without being addressed and players who were
technically ineligible were allowed to compete.
We recognized that we faced penalties for this failure
of administrative control and expected that this new infraction
would result in additional loss of scholarships. We believe,
however, that the addition of nine scholarships beyond the
four already self-imposed and, above all, the deprivation
of the teamís ability to compete in post-season play this
year is unfairly punitive. For this reason we plan to appeal
the penalties. I do not think it is in the interests of
university sport, or the NCAA, to impose penalties that
appear to be disproportionately extreme.