NCAA releases NU swimming, wrestling findings
Nebraska's athletic department was placed on two years probation Wednesday by the NCAA for multiple infractions by former wrestling and swimming coaches.
Former head wrestling coach Tim Neumann gave nearly $6,000 to five wrestlers to help with school expenses and $500 to another wrestler so he could pay off a gambling debt, according to the NCAA's Division I committee on infractions.
As a result, the university exceeded its maximum financial aid limits during 1996-1997 year, according to a report on the NCAA investigation released Wednesday.
The NCAA found that the money used by Neumann to pay his wrestlers was from his personal funds or from his summer wrestling camp.
Several swimming coaches violated NCAA rules by asking swimmers to accept cuts in their financial aid and then later reimbursing the athletes. The coaches also were found to have violated recruiting restrictions involving impermissible tryouts, telephone contacts with prospective recruits and housing arrangements for prospective recruits.
The NCAA committee concluded Nebraska failed to properly monitor and control the use of funds in the wrestling and swimming programs. It also found that the university failed to determine that Neumann had violated the NCAA's code of ethics.
"We recognize the gravity of our violations, as evidenced by our swift and just actions against those involved, and we are confident that our current staff will move forward, upholding the high standards expected of this university and its athletic program," he said.
"At Nebraska, you can't play by the rules on the field and cheat off the field. We do things the right way at Nebraska. These were isolated actions of five former coaches, whose misdeeds in no way represent the integrity of the University of Nebraska. We found numerous instances of mistreatment of student-athletes, and we will not tolerate that."
The Nebraska athletic department also is on notice for the next five years. Any violation by a Nebraska athletic program before January 2007 could result in stricter penalties.
The university conducted internal investigations into both sports programs and presented its findings to the NCAA last year.
Byrne has said that "major infractions" in the swimming program led to the athletic department's decision last spring to drop men's swimming and diving as a varsity sport. The university still has a women's swimming and diving team.
Former swimming and diving coach Cal Bentz and three longtime assistants were suspended in September 2000 when the university began its investigation into that program. Bentz retired three months later.
"While the discovery of these violations and subsequent investigation was a painful process, the fact that the Committee on Infractions found that our athletic department took immediate and thorough action in investigating these violations emphasizes our values of fair play and honesty," Chancellor Harvey Perlman said.
"Institutional control is a major concern in all cases heard by the NCAA and I am very pleased that the committee agreed with our findings that the athletic administration is governing our athletic programs in a manner consistent with NCAA regulations. The NCAA accepted all of our self-imposed penalties and added only those traditionally imposed in cases of major violations."