UNLV lawyers skeptical of latest NCAA charges

December 21, 1990|By Michael Martinez | Michael Martinez,New York Times

LAS VEGAS -- The newest and latest set of charges facing the Nevada-Las Vegas basketball program have university officials digging in for another lengthy battle with the NCAA.

But lawyers representing the team's coach, Jerry Tarkanian, and one of his former assistants said yesterday they were skeptical of the allegations.

"This is not a kinder, gentler NCAA enforcement division," said Chuck Thompson, the attorney for Tarkanian. "It's the same as it's always been. I see nothing different in their approach or the allegations.

"They just figure if they can throw enough charges at you, you can't disprove everything."

The task of addressing the charges, which were detailed in a 43-page letter of inquiry sent to the school Tuesday, will be left to UNLV, which has 60 days to respond.

Among 29 rules violations mentioned were a lack of institutional control involving the recruitment of Lloyd Daniels, a former New York City high school standout, and the handling of scholarship money for players by assistant coaches Mark Warkentien and Tim Grgurich.

"There's going to be several months of concentrated work on our part to dissect every aspect of it," said UNLV athletic director Dennis Finfrock.

"I don't know if it can be done in 60 days. Each time there's an allegation, there are five or six paragraphs of things they want you to do. A lot of it will have to come out of archives that have been stored away for several years."

Warkentien, now an assistant athletic director, was implicated for his guardianship of Daniels, a Runnin' Rebels recruit who was admitted to the university even though he did not have a high school diploma.

Daniels was later arrested in a televised raid of a Las Vegas crack house. He never played for UNLV.

Warkentien would not comment, but his attorney, Ted Quirk, said: "I've looked through the letter and it looks to me like the NCAA has taken every innuendo and rumor and article they've heard or read and said, 'Disprove it.' I don't think anything was a surprise to us."

Asked about Warkentien's involvement with Daniels, Quirk said, "If he were accorded due process and a fair hearing, he'd come out of it just fine."

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