An enforcement director for the National Collegiate Athletic Association said yesterday that there's probably a simple reason the penalties imposed against the University of Florida's football and basketball teams were less severe than those levied against the University of Maryland basketball team.
"My guess would be that the committee [on infractions] believed that the findings were not as significant as in the Maryland case," said Mark Jones, one of four enforcement directors for the NCAA.
Florida was cited for five direct violations, three of which involved the football team, two of which involved the basketball team and unethical conduct charges against former football coach Galen Hall and former basketball coach Norm Sloan. Two of the violations -- one in each sport -- were considered major.
Both teams were placed on two years' probation, including a ban from postseason competition this year for the Gators' football team and a return of $287,000 in NCAA tournament revenue by the basketball team. Also, the basketball team's 1991-92 scholarship limit was cut by two (from 15 to 13) and its 1992-93 limit by one.
In contrast, the Maryland basketball team was placed on three years' probation by the NCAA in March for 18 violations in 12 different categories committed mostly under former coach Bob Wade. The Terrapins were given a two-year ban from postseason competition and a one-year ban from live television appearances.
On Thursday, Chuck Smrt, director of enforcement for the NCAA, said Florida's case was unique because the school took significant corrective steps after the investigation was disclosed. For that reason, Smrt said, the committee on infractions did not impose the minimum proscribed penalties.
Though the Gators' football team was found guilty of 59 rules violations back in 1984 under former coach Charley Pell, it was considered a first-time offender since those infractions took place more than five years before the latest charges.
Also, the new charges involved a different group of coaches and administrators.
"If those guys would have had that happen again, then who knows what would have happened to them," said Jones.
First-year Florida coach Steve Spurrier, whose team's 2-0 start was dampened by Thursday's news, said he hoped the university would appeal the probation and the ban on a bowl appearance this season.
"It would be a long shot," Florida president John Lombardi said.
In August, Maryland became the third straight school to lose its appeal since the NCAA's toughest set of penalties were first implemented in 1988. The basketball teams at Marist College and Cleveland State also lost their appeals.
Florida vs. Maryland
* Former basketball player Vernon Maxwell accepted money from sports agents and signed a contract with agents while still playing at Florida.
* Former basketball coach Norm Sloan arranged for Maxwell to fly to Boston to attend a summer basketball camp.
* The mother of former basketball player Reed Crafton was allowed to use the return portion of an airline ticket intended for his recruiting visit.
* The university paid for a personal airline ticket used by Crafton. Crafton later repaid the university for the ticket, but the situation is considered an illegal loan.
* Sloan acted contrary to the NCAA principles of ethical conduct.
* Former football coach Galen Hall provided money and transportation for former football player Jarvis Williams to travel to another county to make a child-support payment.
* Former football assistant coach Larry Kirksey arranged a $100 loan between a booster and former player.
* Hall provided supplemental cash payments to former assistant coaches Lynn Amedee and Zaven Yaralian. Amedee received $18,000, Yaralian $4,000.
* Hall acted contrary to the NCAA's principles of ethical conduct.
* The scope and nature of the allegations demonstrated a lack of appropriate institutional control in the basketball and football programs.
* Small cash payments, transportation and a leased car were given to former player Rudy Archer.
* False and misleading information was given to NCAA investigators by then-basketball coach Bob Wade and some members of his staff.
* Complimentary tickets to the ACC tournament were sold by current and former players.
* Clothing from a College Park store was provided to prospective players at a large discount or free.
* The scope and nature of the allegations demonstrated a lack of appropriate insititutional control in the basketball program.
* Football and basketball programs placed on probation for two years.
* Football team is ineligible for postseason play after 1990 season.
* Required to repay $287,561 in revenue from the 1988 basketball tournament, and the NCAA Executive Committee will decide whether the school should return a portion of its receipts from the 1987 tournament.
* Basketball team limited to 13 scholarships for 1991-92 season, two below the minimum, and 14 scholarships for 1992-93 season.
* Records of performances by the Gators and Maxwell in the 1987 and 1988 NCAA basketball tournaments will be deleted.
* Basketball program placed on probation for three years.
* Basketball team banned from postseason play for 1990-91 and 1991-92 seasons.
* Basketball team banned from making live television appearances for the 1990-91 season (which means a ban from the 1990-91 ACC tournament).
* Required to repay about $407,000 earned during the university's appearance in the 1988 NCAA tournament.
* Basketball team is limited to 13 scholarships for 1990-91 and 1991-92 seasons.