Maryland probes jobs program Four players paid for work not done

August 22, 1993|By Paul McMullen | Paul McMullen,Staff Writer

COLLEGE PARK -- Acknowledging that four football players were paid for a total of 100 hours of work they didn't perform, the University of Maryland is investigating its summer employment program for student-athletes.

Clerical errors in the payment of the four players were reported in yesterday's Washington Post. Senior running back Mark Mason, junior running back Doug Burnett, sophomore defensive lineman Sharrod Mack and junior cornerback Gene Green were paid for hours worked when they actually were attending class. The money will be reimbursed.

"They [the university president's office] are not investigating this situation, as much as going over the university's whole summer employment program involving student-athletes," athletic director Andy Geiger said. "We expect this [the investigation] to be finalized by the middle of next [this] week.

"Frankly, I don't see a systemic will to break the rules. I don't think there's anything more than an inadvertent violation. If there's more, we'll tell that."

According to the Post report, eight football players and two soccer players were hired for a cleanup program on campus in June and July.

Players would punch a time clock at the beginning and end of each work day, even though part of that time was spent in summer school classes. Forms detailing when players were in class and not due pay were not forwarded to the payroll office of the university's physical plant, and thus the players received pay they weren't due.

The money overpaid will be deducted from the players' pay this month. Green was overpaid $261, Burnett $225, Mack $90 and Mason $36.

"The fact is, people knew they were going to class," Geiger said. The Atlantic Coast Conference was informed of the overpayments on Aug. 10, and if the Maryland investigation finds that NCAA rules were violated, it will inform the national governing body.

Coach Mark Duffner had no comment on the matter.

The athletes were paid $6 per hour, while other part-time employees were paid $5 per hour for working in the special services department, the Post reported. Officials said the difference was because the athletes did heavy labor.

Mason, the Terps' top running back the past two years, missed practice yesterday morning to attend the funeral of Archie Clark, a former roommate and graduate of Oakland Mills who died in an auto accident on campus early last week. Mason participated in yesterday afternoon's inter-squad scrimmage.

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