Holtz needs answers to Minnesota questions

December 26, 1990|By Ed Sherman | Ed Sherman,Chicago Tribune

CHICAGO -- Many questions will be thrown Lou Holtz's way during the upcoming weeks.

Hard questions. Questions that demand answers, straight and to the point.

The toughest of those are likely to come when the Notre Dame coach appears before the NCAA Infractions Committee in February. Holtz is charged with serious rules violations stemming from his days as Minnesota's head coach in 1984 and 1985.

Holtz admitted to a couple of those allegations, in one form or another, Friday when the charges were made public. He issued a 1 1/2 -page statement that answered some questions and raised others.

A call to Notre Dame Monday revealed Holtz won't answer any more questions on the subject. That is a mistake for Holtz and the university as long as it is not absolutely clear what the coach did and why he did it. He needs to deal with these questions.

The first allegation against Holtz says he gave $250 to Jerry Keeble to pay for his correspondence course. The NCAA says this class allowed Keeble to stay in the university, where he had another year of eligibility remaining.

Holtz acknowledges making the payment, but says he did it for "humanitarian reasons." He said Keeble received an A in the course, and he was readmitted to Minnesota.

However, Holtz added he knew it was impossible for Keeble to regain his eligibility, and that he never played for Minnesota that year.


How did Holtz know Keeble would be ineligible? Who did he contact to verify that? How did Holtz know Keeble got an A in the course?

Did Holtz check with anyone within the athletic department or university to see if he was breaking a rule by paying for the course? Was there another way for Keeble to get money for the course?

The second allegation says Holtz gave two $100 bills to a recruit, Roselle Richardson, after the coach was informed the recruit lost his wallet during a visit to Minnesota. The charge says Holtz gave Richardson the money near his high school and in front of another person.

Holtz says he gave Richardson $20, not $200, and that he regrets doing it. He added that he did not intend "to gain a competitive edge by this action."

Richardson was a highly recruited quarterback from Warren, Ohio. He chose Minnesota over Ohio State in 1985 and was considered one of the Gophers' top recruits. Richardson, who played at Minnesota for three years, eventually was switched to fullback. Academic problems forced him to miss his final year of eligibility.


Does Holtz remember another person being there when he gave Richardson the money? Is it possible this person could have corroborated Richardson's story?

L Does he have any idea why Richardson's version is different?

Why, if Holtz knew it was against NCAA rules, did he give Richardson the money? Would Holtz reimburse any recruit who said he lost his wallet?

Because Richardson chose Minnesota, is it possible that Holtz did indeed gain a competitive edge by giving the player money?

The third allegation says Holtz gave $500 to his academic adviser, LeRoy Gardner, to give to Keeble. Gardner, whom Holtz complimented in his statement, was forced out of his job in the aftermath of the Luther Darville scandal.

Holtz vehemently denies this charge. He said he did loan money to Gardner on three occasions, and even has the canceled checks to show for it. Holtz could not explain why Gardner made the accusation against him.


Did Gardner ever repay Holtz? If Holtz was trying to help Gardner financially, does he have any idea why the man wanted to damage his career?

Then there are other questions. Back in 1988, when the #i Minnesota scandal started, Holtz denied he committed any violations. In fact, he was interviewed by Mike Slive, an attorney who conducted the school's internal investigation.

Slive had the Gardner allegation in his lengthy and exhaustive report. But the other charges against Holtz weren't included. In the NCAA's letter of inquiry to Minnesota, those charges are lumped into this category: "Violations alleged by the NCAA enforcement staff."


Did Holtz tell Slive about paying for the correspondence course and the $20 to Richardson? If not, did he reveal this information to the NCAA, or did the NCAA approach him with it?

Back in 1988, why did Holtz publicly say he did nothing wrong, when he knew he gave $20 to a recruit? Isn't that considered a violation?

For Lou Holtz, the questions have just begun. Whether the answers are forthcoming remains to be seen.

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