Morgan admits to violations

May 07, 1994|By Gary Lambrecht | Gary Lambrecht,Sun Staff Writer

Morgan State University has submitted to the NCAA an internal review of its athletic program, in which the school reportedly admits to scores of violations, primarily within its football and men's basketball programs.

A source at Morgan State said the school sent the report to the NCAA earlier this week, and that the report lists more than 100 violations, the majority of them minor infractions.

According to the source, some of the more serious alleged transgressions involve football coach Ricky Diggs and former men's basketball coach Michael Holmes, who each reportedly allowed ineligible players to participate in games. The report also alleges that Holmes sometimes withheld meal money from players and left certain players home during selected road trips, giving the players' airline tickets to acquaintances.

"There's no truth to those allegations. Whoever told you I did that is a liar," Holmes said. "I don't know anything about what's in that report. None of the coaches here do."

"I know of [the report], but I don't know anything about it," Diggs said. "No one has questioned me on anything. I haven't been talked to by anyone about anything I've allegedly done in the program. If someone is accusing me of something, they better be right. I don't play illegal players."

Morgan State President Earl Richardson and athletic director Kenneth McBryde declined to comment on the report. Arlise Cooper, the school's compliance officer, could not be reached for comment.

David Berst, the NCAA's assistant executive director for enforcement and eligibility appeals, would neither confirm nor deny that he has received the report.

Holmes was fired last month after posting a 31-81 record in four years at Morgan State. Diggs, who will begin his fourth season at Morgan State this fall with a 5-28 record, already is a defendant in a $2 million sexual harassment lawsuit filed last year by Elizabeth Stearns, Morgan State's former athletic academic coordinator. That case is scheduled to go to trial in January 1995.

The Stearns lawsuit apparently led the NCAA to initiate a preliminary inquiry into the athletic program.

A source at Morgan State said members of the NCAA questioned coaches and athletic administrators about possible violations last fall, the same time that officials from the NCAA and Morgan State paid a visit to former Morgan State athletic director Leonard Braxton, who hired Diggs and Holmes.

Braxton now coaches track at Arizona State.

"They were here for 4 1/2 hours, so there were a lot of things to talk about. "It didn't surprise me. We just talked in general about the athletic program. I can't remember any specifics," said Braxton, who would not reveal the Morgan State officials who questioned him.

"At this point in time, I'll be the silent partner out of respect to the institution that I used to work for."

This marks a turn down a familiar road for Morgan State. Ten years ago, the school's football and basketball programs became embroiled in an NCAA investigation that centered around violations of entrance and eligibility standards.

The school began its 1984-85 basketball season with several ineligible players, including a 26-year-old who had never enrolled in school. The football controversy centered around quarterback Michael Lindsey, who was not eligible for Division I-AA play.

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