Sanctions will hurt Clemson badly

December 10, 1992|By Bob Cole | Bob Cole,Knight-Ridder

CLEMSON, S.C. -- The NCAA took more than three years t resolve the Wayne Buckingham investigation at Clemson University, and the Tigers' basketball program likely will feel the effects for much longer.

The NCAA's Committee on Infractions yesterday placed Clemson on probation for two years and levied four sanctions, including the prohibition of any expense-paid visits for recruits during the 1993 calendar year and a limit of only two such visits in 1994. That's a net loss of 22 visits in two years.

This is the fourth time in 16 years Clemson has been placed on probation, twice in football and twice in basketball.

The combination of the lost paid on-campus visits by recruits in the next two years and no off-campus recruiting by any coaches until next August will severely limit the Tigers' ability to attract top prospects.

"We took action that will place significant limits on the basketball program," David Swank, dean of the law school at the University of Oklahoma and chairman of the Committee on Infractions, said by telephone during a news conference to announce the findings.

"It's going to be tough on us," Ellis said, "but Cliff Ellis won't be decimated by this. And our players will handle it. I have a recruiting plan, but I'm not going to tell you what it is."

Clemson also must repay 50 percent of the revenue it received from the 1990 NCAA Tournament, which is $353,361.60, and forfeit both tournament victories.

These sanctions are in addition to Clemson's self-imposed penalties resulting from an internal investigation into the recruitment of Buckingham, which also turned up recruiting violations by former assistant coach Len Gordy involving other recruits.

Those sanctions include:

* The acceptance of Gordy's resignation. The position will remain unfilled until July 1, 1993, leaving head coach Cliff Ellis with one assistant.

* The elimination of all off-campus recruiting activities from August 7, 1992, to August 6, 1993.

* The loss of one scholarship in 1992-93 and another in 1993-94.

The Tigers are eligible for postseason play and are not restricted from playing on television, two possible sanctions under NCAA guidelines.

The NCAA found that Buckingham was improperly certified to play as a freshman when there was sufficient information available that should have put the school on notice of problems ** with his academic credentials.

"This information," the committee said, "was either ignored or not considered, even though it was brought to the attention of the institution on more than one occasion."

Gordy bought the ticket after the school's plane broke down. He arranged for a friend to give the difference between the first-class ticket and a coach-class ticket to the recruit's mother, who then forwarded it to the school. Gordy lied to NCAA investigators about the incident. The NCAA also levied sanctions against Gordy which all but prohibit him from working at an NCAA school before March 30, 1994.

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