CHARLOTTESVILLE, Va. -- The NCAA yesterday imposed a two-year probation and mild sanctions on the University of Virginia, almost two full years after the school acknowledged improper loans to athletes.
The Cavaliers' football program will have its allotment of scholarships cut by two during each of the next two seasons and will lose one graduate assistant coach for one calendar year. Virginia also will be subject to the NCAA's "death penalty" provision, which could mean the elimination of a program if another violation is detected during the next five years.
The NCAA Infractions Committee's 15-page report, released yesterday morning, did not render judgment on NCAA executive director Dick Schultz, Virginia's athletic director from 1981 to 1987. The Executive Committee, which is meeting in Monterey, Calif., is expected to decide Schultz's fate either today or next week.
Schultz, 63, faces an uncertain future as the NCAA's executive director. In August, citing its conflict-of-interest policy, the NCAA announced it had retained Kentucky attorney James Park to investigate Schultz's role. Park's report was separate from the Infractions Committee's and was not released yesterday. But Joseph Crowley, the NCAA president and Executive Committee chairman, said Park's report eventually will be released. He declined to speculate when, and would not discuss the report.
The 18-member Executive Committee ended its scheduled meeting yesterday afternoon, but was expected to remain in California to discuss Schultz's situation. "We all understand the unusual nature of this case," Crowley said. "I'd like to tell you when we will complete our deliberation. But I don't know that. And I believe it would be unwise and unfair to establish an artificial timetable for this decision."
Because of the statute of limitations, only three-plus months of Schultz's tenure at Virginia were studied by the Infractions Committee. Swank said no NCAA violations occurred during that time. Several illegal loans did occur while Schultz was athletic director, but they were before May 1987.
The statute of limitations, however, will not be used by the Executive Committee, and Park examined Schultz's complete tenure at Virginia. It is now up to the Executive Committee and the Joint Policy Board, the NCAA bodies that supervise the director, to decide whether Schultz should keep his job. Schultz's contract runs through August 1995.
The NCAA ruled Virginia's violation of 13 rules as major. The minimum penalties for major violations include recruiting restrictions, a postseason ban and no televised games for one year. But the Infractions Committee, citing the school's thorough internal investigation, imposed less than the minimum penalties.
Since Virginia will not appeal, the two-year probation period went into effect yesterday. During that time, the university will be required to educate its athletic staff on NCAA legislation and submit annual reports.
"The issue that we conclude with today's NCAA announcement has been a long and often very painful ordeal for the university," Virginia president John Casteen said. "We believe the NCAA's process, like the work of our own investigative group, has been an equitable and fair one.
"I think it's important to say that the university agrees with or accepts the university's findings, and we understand and accept the penalties that have been imposed."
Thirteen months ago, Virginia reported its athletic fund-raising arm had violated NCAA rules by providing 45 interest-free loans to 30 athletes from 1982 to 1990. But since the NCAA uses a four-year statute of limitations, the committee considered violations committed only after May 17, 1987 -- exactly four years before Virginia officials first discovered the loans.
Nine loans were extended after May 1987, all to football players, for a total of $3,058.65. Seven have been repaid, one was "written off," the other, for $800, remains outstanding.
The committee found Virginia guilty of 12 other violations and cited 34 instances. Included among the violations: Six interest-free loans were made to graduate assistant football coaches for their own personal use; coaching staff members were not required to report outside income and benefits; athletes were provided improper housing; Virginia Student Aid Foundation funds were misused for recruiting; and the university failed to exercise institutional control over the athletic department and the VSAF.