The University of Montana football program will serve three years on probation and vacate five wins, including one against Montana State University and two playoff victories, as punishment for violating several NCAA rules governing student-athletes.

UM also will have its football scholarships reduced from 63 to 59 for three years, must donate $3,000 to local charities and must have an outside agency review its athletics compliance program.

Concluding an 18-month investigation into the UM football program on Friday, the NCAA found that former head coach Robin Pflugrad failed to monitor the football program, allowing boosters to provide extra benefits, including bail money and legal representation, to players.

The investigation also found the football team had exceeded its coaching limits and that two former players, cornerback Trumaine Johnson and backup quarterback Gerald Kemp, competed while ineligible.

The NCAA handed down sanctions against the UM football program, along with separate penalties to Pflugrad, who now coaches at Weber State.

UM President Royce Engstrom said the findings end what’s been a tumultuous chapter in the university’s history, one that also included an investigation by the federal departments of Justice and Education into how the school handled reports of sexual assault and harassment – some also involving football players.

Many of the incidents go back before Engstrom’s tenure began as president, and all of the administrators involved in the past incidents have been replaced, including Pflugrad and former athletic director Jim O’Day – both fired in 2012.

“We have pledged to build a superior and effective athletic program with students who are known for their contributions to their sport, to the classroom, and to the community,” Engstrom said.

Engstrom appointed Kent Haslem as the school’s new athletic director last year, and Mick Delaney was hired as the head coach. Engstrom said the university began instituting changes to its athletics program before the NCAA released its report.

Among the changes, the school has worked to improve its communications with coaches, student-athletes, staff and boosters – the latter of which also violated NCAA rules – resulting in stiff sanctions handed down against the university.

“We will work to ensure we are in full compliance, and we intend to continue strengthening our culture of compliance,” Engstrom said. “We are proud of our student-athletes, and I consider athletics integral to the fabric of the Montana experience.”

*****

Much of the NCAA investigation focused on the Oct. 23, 2011 arrest of Kemp and Johnson, who now plays professional football for the St. Louis Rams.

After the Grizzlies mounted a 28-24 victory over Northern Arizona University, Johnson hosted a late-night party at his Missoula apartment, where someone complained of noise at 2:40 on a Sunday morning.

Police tried to break up the party and later tased both Johnson and Kemp. They were charged with obstructing a peace officer, disorderly conduct and resisting arrest, and booked into the Missoula County Detention Center.

According to the NCAA report, an unnamed female booster bailed the two players out of jail an hour later. The report said the booster posted a $130 bond for one player and $190 for the other.

The report says the two players also received legal representation from the mother of a student-employee of the athletic department. The report does not name the lawyer, saying only that she was a “shareholder in a Missoula law firm that leases a suite” in Washington-Grizzly Stadium.

Johnson and Kemp were represented by Darla Keck of Datsopoulos, MacDonald and Lind. The law firm didn’t return phone calls Friday seeking comment.

“The Missoula County prosecutor’s office estimated that the approximate value of the cost-free legal service (Keck) provided the two student-athletes was $3,000 ($1,500 per student athlete),” the report says.

It’s a violation of NCAA rules to provide student-athletes with free or reduced-cost services. That includes legal representation and posting bond.

Johnson and Kemp eventually pleaded no contest to the disorderly conduct charges and paid small fines. The other, more serious charges were dropped.

Both players went on to compete in regular and postseason games, despite their ineligibility. Pflugrad and O’Day knew that boosters had provided the players with bail money and legal representation, but failed to inform the compliance office, the NCAA report said.

“The former head coach failed to monitor the football program by not reporting the booster activity surrounding the arrest of the two student-athletes, not monitoring the relationships between boosters and student-athletes, and allowing a student assistant to engage in coaching activity,” the report said.

*****

The NCAA investigation also found that other boosters provided extra benefits to players, including meals, loans, clothing, lodging, transportation and laundry services.

The report found that one woman, known among players as “Griz Mom,” provided hundreds of meals at her residence to numerous football players, including home-cooked meals and free pizza ordered from local restaurants.

The report says “Griz Mom” began the practice in 2003 or 2004. Another booster couple also provided free meals to football players during their tailgate gatherings at Washington-Grizzly Stadium.

The NCAA allows student-athletes to “receive an occasional meal from a representative or athletic interests on infrequent and special occasions.” The report found the “Griz Mom” provided regular meals to athletes “beyond occasionally.”

The investigation also found other NCAA violations, including several by a former assistant athletic director. The administrator became friends with a football player, a relationship that evolved to a “personal level.”

“During the fall of 2011, the assistant athletic director’s interactions with the student-athlete occurred at the staff member’s home on numerous occasions,” the report says. “During these home visits, the student-athlete received meals, snacks, lodging and laundry services.”

*****

The penalties imposed upon UM include public reprimand and censure, and a reduction of four football scholarships per year through the 2016-2017 academic year.

The program must vacate all wins in which Johnson and Kemp competed during the 2011 regular season while ineligible. That includes a 36-10 win over Montana State, along with NCAA Division 1 playoff wins over Central Arkansas and Northern Iowa. In all, UM was stripped of five wins, and its record that year must be amended moving forward.

In addition, UM must remove all mention of its participation in the 2011 NCAA Division 1 FCS championships and the 2011 Big Sky Conference football championship – including banners, media guides, recruiting materials and archives, the NCAA said.

Finally, UM must also make a $3,000 donation to local charities and conduct an external review of the athletics compliance program.

Pflugrad will be suspended from coaching duties at Weber State for the first game of the 2013 season and faces multiple recruiting restrictions during the upcoming season.

He will also be required to attend an NCAA Rules Conference Seminar and cannot recruit off campus during the first three weeks of the 2013 fall contact period.

UM’s response to the report and sanctions was quick and positive.

“The resolution of the NCAA investigation is welcome, and it enforces our focus on excellence at UM,” Engstrom said in a campus letter Friday. “I can assure you that our athletic program has never been stronger.”

“It is good to be moving forward and to have this situation resolved,” said Kevin McRae, associate commissioner of higher education for the Montana University System.

“UM’s student-athletes, athletic department, and administration have the full confidence and support of the Office of the Commissioner of Higher Education and the Board of Regents,” McRae added. “All these folks have worked very hard to get 2011 behind us and to feel good about the future.”

The NCAA said any action by UM that violates the terms of the penalties could result in more severe sanctions, or findings of additional violations. Weber State is also under the restrictions imposed on Pflugrad, as he is now an employee of that school.

“Any institution that employs an individual while restrictions are in effect against that individual, and fails to adhere to the prescribed penalties or violations, subjects itself to ... possible findings of violations,” the report concludes.

Reporter Martin Kidston can be reached at 523-5260, or at martin.kidston@missoulian.com.

More from missoulian.com

(78) comments

concerned person
concerned person

Well, well, well. It was not the team. It was not Pat Williams, it was not the University.

IT WAS THE BOOSTERS! Not all of them. Just the THUG BOOSTERS! (and you know who you are.)

How does it feel to be a Griz Booster who goes around bad mouthing everyone else for not supporting the Griz enough. Then only to find that YOU YOURSELVES are the ones who cost the Griz their downfall with the NCAA.

To paraphrase Pat Williams: "We have far to many THUG BOOSTERS in the Grizzly Camp" Not all, but some THUG BOOSTERS ruin it for all the other good Boosters.

The NCAA should have the power to ban THUG BOOSTERS for life from any Griz game or activity! Then maybe the good kids and fans could enjoy Griz games without the treat of THUG BOOSTERS ruining it for all the rest.

Thanks THUG BOOSTERS. You aren't even real westerners. A real westerners wouldn't be dumb enough to shoot themselves in the foot!

Pistol
Pistol

Thug Boosters! A lady prepares dinner for some players, is a thug? NCAA didn't approve of the traveling party for game receiving cookies? Makes the provider a thug? Concerned person you need help my friend.

likeafox1
likeafox1

If you don't have enough for the entire university then don't bring any treats at all!!!

brahbrahgrizbrah
brahbrahgrizbrah

Synopsis:
Research your history bro's.
Look up the last time the NCAA/Feds were investigating U of M for THE SAME TYPE OF ILLEGAL FUNNELING OF FUNDS TO ATHLETES..AKA the UM work-study scandal in the 1970, Where student athletes were cut checks directly from the university in a basement office on campus!

This community is no stranger to the mob mentality. Ironically even though the school and boosters were caught red handed, The U of M connections ran deep and the federal case brought against boosters and U of M was dismissed. The judge on the case was a former U of M Law school instructor.

Alan Johnson
Alan Johnson

.. and lawyers for both sides probably graduated from UM School of Law, so what? It's the only one in the state. Lots of Bobcats, players and other alumi, have UM Law degrees. Swarthout's case was not dismissed. He was acquitted at trial by a unanimous jury, not by the judge.

likeafox1
likeafox1

Oh no! Alan's unconvinced that a Griz has ever done anything besides the lord's work!!!! You're a great source of entertainment to us all here.... Thank Alan for his comedic relief everyone!

The judge on the Swarthout case (Russell E. Smith) was a personal friend of at least one of the five defendants indicted on 32 counts of ILLEGAL use of federal aid funds by a grand jury! That's what you call a conflict of interest Alan! These were officials and coaches handing checks to athletes for playing at the U of M.

Some might still find this piece of historic and unbecoming Griz activity reminiscent of the current Griz team/faculty members and situation.

You think the NCAA/Feds likes getting kicked outta town for simply trying to make the U of M play by the same rules as everyone else?
What about when the judge on the case writes comments to the detriment of the NCAA/Feds after dismissing the case before him in which his friend(s) were defendants?

likeafox1
likeafox1

I stand corrected, i've been told a full jury of bob cat alum acquitted him... Thats about as legit as it gets right Alan?

dorado
dorado

Every school has the same issue, our local paper just likes to pick on the athletic teams. If a retired professor dies, he gets front page news. I want one thing out of all of this - I want the names of the boosters "Griz Mom" and others who violated the rules. For years when they send out the football tickets, they include a list of does and don'ts for boosters, it doesn't take a UM degree to know what you can and can't do these days. These so called "boosters" need to be identified so the community knows who they can trust.

grizintx
grizintx

"Pflugrad and O’Day knew that boosters had provided the players with bail money and legal representation, but failed to inform the compliance office, the NCAA report said."

O'Day need to come clean NOW, not let it come out in ten years as he has said. Give up Jim, you're no longer the big man on campus in Missoula.

Pistol
Pistol

Are you kidding? It was in the Missoulian at the time that Mr Foley escorted, my word, down to the law office. You would think that wouldn't be a violation. Two out of state minority students being assisted in who would best represent them. Ms Gee is the compliance officier and her office is only a few feet from O'Day's. Why didn't she at the time question whether or not a violation occurred? The penalty imposed is way over the violations committed. NCAA and main hall spent so much money they had to come up with something. Our adminnistration should have asked for an appeal. The way I read the story UM proposed the penalties. Oregon got off easy compared to UM. O'Day and Pflugrad shouldn't have been fired. No money under the table, cars, just some lady fixing meals, and allegations that a law firm gave the student athletes a deal on their legal fees. Wow now the NCAA can determine what legal fees should be.

idiot state
idiot state

"Listen" has it right: the whole state should be investigated. Corrupt, corrupt...Start in Missoula, that little drug infested college town and work out from there. Any parent/student looking for colleges should skip that place and look elsewhere. Can't say enough negative about the whole place.

missionblue
missionblue

idiot state, yes, Missoula is bad and dangerous. Please do not come, visit or move in like everyone else.

Nikki's Niece
Nikki's Niece

A few commentators seem to have missed the main point as to any potential relationship between the athletic department firings and the just released NCAA report. The athletic department firings took place long before the NCAA investigation uncovered the infractions listed in the report. In fact, Athletic Director Jim O’Day and football coach Robin Pflugrad technically were not fired. Rather, they were told their contracts would not be renewed and that a search for their replacements would begin immediately. Both men continued to draw a paycheck until the end of their respective contracts. This decision was one of two alternatives available to Main Hall at the time. In the first alternative, the administration could have chosen to keep the coach and AD on staff and order them to, in effect, “clean house.” This first alternative, however, forced President Royce Engstrom to risk losing his own job. The second alternative, which was followed, allowed him to claim that he was ahead of the game and already introducing changes that might be ordered in the aftermath of any outside investigations. In hindsight, it appears that the name of the game at UM’s dysfunctional Main Hall is a rather cynical, “keep your job at all costs and keep drawing a fat paycheck for as long as you can.” In the last three years, since the beginning of the current administration’s time in office, this university has faced one crisis after another. One can blame the previous president, George Dennison, or the football coach, or the athletic director as much as one likes, but the reality is that the institution suffers from a lack of leadership that is truly astonishing in its breadth. In the coming weeks, UM will be facing major decisions regarding how to deal with a significant drop in enrollment, a potential loss of badly needed classes, and a possible lawsuit regarding the location for proposed construction of the new Missoula College. Who else is to blame for these more recent developments?

David1
David1

Compliance rules by the NCAA should be made into Federal law. You break these rules, you break the law. College athletics is a huge industry, and cheating, in any form, should be a criminal act, whether as a misdemeanor or felony. Let's stop thinking that a private organization like the NCAA has any control over where college sports are, today.

The NCAA can be an investigative arm of the Feds, doing what it has always done, & when it discovers infractions to those rules/laws, turns them over to the Feds for prosecution. This is the only way, I think, to bring player/booster infractions under more control, and instill more trust and respect by the American public for college sports.

Alan Johnson
Alan Johnson

Nah. The Federal Criminal Code is already cluttered stuff that doesn't belong there as it is. Federal District Courts are backlogged. The NCAA is doing the job just fine. Had our comeback against Sam Houston not fallen short in 2011 and we beat ND State, we could have been stripped of a national championship. At least two men lost their jobs over this. I think that's sanction enough. Frankly, I think we got off lucky. Go Griz!!!! and sin no more.

Pistol
Pistol

David1 Your correct hunt down the Griz mom and try her on charges of cooking for a college student. What if during the trial she states, and it is proven she also had other students for dinner? Than it's not special treatment. Holder and his staff wouldn't have time to accuse the news media or investigate Tea Party members for gathering,. The gal in the athletic department would have to testify under oath rather than to the NCAA. Maybe under oath she might testify the athlete she was involved with rather than just giving an athlete special treatment. Etc. etc. I bet the lawyers involved would love to testify. Does anyone really think they would break NCAA rules? To bad our lack of leadership doesn't appeal. If Johnson hadn't stuck up for his rights he would be behind bars. Weren't the charges against Johnson and Kempt dropped or reduced? Yes the Griz under Federal Law outside of legal fees would be found innocent. The NCAA should explain how athletes from families on welfare can wear $200. shoes, and play in tournaments all over the country with there families in attendence? Go get them David 1.

listen
listen

Just think...all this involving such a mom, low fat apple pie and hot dog (Tofu?) goody two shoe institution as the U of M. Actually it's another example of abuse of power which is becoming more and more the rule rather than the exception. Especially here in MT. The whole dam(n )state, from local government up to Helena, should be audited and investigated by some outside source!! Including all their NGO "Partners".

HannahO
HannahO

I'd say the UM was fortunate not to have been assessed the "lack of institutional control" finding and banned from post season play given that the findings included misconduct by administrators, coaches, players, and boosters.

MyPointofView
MyPointofView

There is no doubt we screwed up bad, and many players should have been kicked off the team, if ever allowed to come here in the first place, but...apparently if you see an accident and you know there is a football player involved/hurt, for the sake of the team DO NOT ASSIST, it'll get the team in trouble somehow! and make national news just call the mayor/police AD/NCAA/local news and watch'em bleed

yougotitwrong22
yougotitwrong22

God this missoulian mobile blog page is lame

yougotitwrong22
yougotitwrong22

The booster thing has been going on longer than anyone could know. Um thinks they are above the law. You think college players can pay legal fees them self ha think again. Just another reason griz football is going to be small time for a long time and why they didnt choose to join fbs and stay in fcs mainly because the university knew these sanctions. Mt has been covering up their student athletes problems for years. Remember um was introuble with the ncaa back in the 80's too. Im ashamed to have called my self an x-griz fan. Ill stick with my homestate longhorns in fbs now.

Alan Johnson
Alan Johnson

It was fine until you got here.

observer
observer

There's nothing going on here that's any different at any other college. The difference is you guys can't keep your players out of jail and out of the headlines. If you rub the NCAA's noses in it long enough, they have to investigate to save face, if nothing else. Even college educated folks like you should be able to figure that out.

lakeguy406
lakeguy406

Datstapolous knows better. When does HE pay a fine? BS it is....

Alan Johnson
Alan Johnson

Well, now the firings make more sense. I always thought there must be more to it than just the rape hysteria. It appears the AD and coach were sacked for an ongoing series of abuses that had little to nothing to do with the rape allegations. I thought there had to be more to it. Obviously Engstrom-haters aren't going to let him off the hook, but now I see there was some solid basis behind it all. I think the administration did what it had to do. That's why we got off with relatively light punishment.

MikeyGriz
MikeyGriz

Many of the incidents go back before Engstrom’s tenure began as president.......But not the incidents they focused this investigation on, since Engstrom was UM President since October of 2010. When is he going to take responsibility for his lack of oversight and leadership and resign? I won't hold my breath. I will volunteer to help him pack though!

pegturn
pegturn

It is about time the U of M pays for their dirty deeds. When you allow these kids do what they want and have the University not do anything, I am glad someone will deal with it. Now if only the University learns a lesson, stop bringing in these kids from other states that do not care about anything other than football and bring in kids that care about an education.

Bluehawk
Bluehawk

Seems like too many players, coaches, administration and boosters sacrificed their integrity for a penny-ante football program.

Bruce Hammer
Bruce Hammer

By golly, why can't we just forget about all this and let these kids play some football?? I'm sure after a beer or twelve over at the old stadium the fans will forgive and forget! How 'bout it??!!

Bob
Bob

In other news, dotsopulos McDonald and lynd lay off employees due to lack of work, lol. But seriously this ruling and the doj agreements will help crimp the "life of privilege" griz football players receive in this town.

verity
verity

Sending the University Executive Vice-President on a Sunday to accompany two star football players to an attorney’s office following their release from jail after being tased is breathtakingly stupid. They might as well have sent an engraved invitation to the NCAA to investigate the program. That is especially so when that fact is sufficiently publicly known that it is featured in a newspaper article. I seem to recall that that was followed up by the suggestion that the University knew nothing about how the attorney was retained, or who was paying the bills. Now we know. A booster paid the bail and a member of a firm that “leased a suite” in Washington-Grizzly Stadium furnished the legal representation gratis. If that attorney and the firm didn’t know that that was a violation of NCAA rules, they shouldn’t be permitted to practice law in this state. And they certainly even now shouldn’t be permitted to have any further dealings with UM athletes. It was moronic for the UM to permit this to happen, but worse for these boosters to do that to the program. Thanks a lot.

Bass Whacker
Bass Whacker

NCAA rules were born in response to the days when boosters at large colleges helped recruit and keep players by giving them cars to use, monthly payments for jobs not performed, free trips, lavish dinners, girls.... and when the NCAA got after these practices the boosters strarted giving the perks to the atheletes' families. Coaches and AD's first encouraged the boosters and then sought refuge in being "unaware" of what the boosters were doing. The present severely draconian rules were enacted to get ahead of the next booster attempts to give their schools a competitive edge with recruits. What happened here wouldn't have raised the NCAA's interest 40 years ago. And it's pretty clear neither the coaches' office, AD's office or the President's office could correctly figure out how these rules applied when a player's parent bails out a kid (other player) from jail for that kid's out of state parents, or legal services that are given as part of a firm's pro bono professional obligation. The AD's assistant doing what girlfriends do for boyfriends is also a no-no in this contrived situation. But how any of this fits with the orignal problem of booster benefits to unfairly sway recruiting is just the forest getting lost for the trees. Once again Engstrom caves to the powers from the East, offering self punishment rather than call BS on de minimis infractions. So he surrenders his bride on his wedding night to his overlord to keep his farm. Not sure I like the price at which Engstrom sells his or the University's soul.

Lamplighter
Lamplighter

Wouldn't it would be interesting to hear the comments of Engstrom's predecessor and mentor - George Dennison?

retiredmsla
retiredmsla

This was done on dennison's watch. He was part and parcel of doing whatever you can get away with to win. Good way to teach students about fair play and sportsmanship.

dsrobins
dsrobins

More proof that the U of M's athletics programs are rotten to the core, especially football. Not that this is news, of course. No athlete worth his salt should want to attend the U of M.

dave ajou
dave ajou

Here's your sign.

Digits
Digits

Let's use this as a jumping off point to move forward in a positve way. Griz football impacts students, fans, businesses and everyone in Missoula, including football haters.

All season ticket holders receive a compliance brochure each year with their tickets outlining what is and is not allowable under NCAA.

If one hotdog is okay, then why not ten, or a thousand? And why not substitute dollars for dogs. That' attitude got UM into a work-study scandal in the 1970s. ZERO tolerance and compliance knowledge by administration, students and fans is essential. Go GRIZ!

jus wundrin
jus wundrin

.........or is it double secret probation?

UM should beat the rest of America to the punch and just can football altogether. Its going to happen sooner or later.....concussions ya know. Heck, just ban all sports, and while theyre at it, take a good look at the academic programs & positions, and cut some of them too. I mean what does someone do with a masters in eco-feminism? It would also probably lower tuition costs big time.

Love's Life
Love's Life

Bump in the road, learn, move on. I will be out there supporting the players because the majority of the GRIZ Football team are great upstanding citizens who really do wonderful things in the community. Sometimes those in control of the "system" mess up and sometimes sore losers push for a witch hunt. I will never allow myself to become a "nasty fan" (not naming any names) and kick someone when they are down. Montana Grizzly true fans will remain positive and go out and support the Griz football team through the good as well as the tough times. GO GRIZ, can't wait for the season to begin...going to be a good one!!!!

MiddleFinger
MiddleFinger

"The NCAA found that ... An attorney then provided each with about $1,500 in free legal representation."

Big deal. What? Is that like maybe 15 minutes of advice?

Sharks!

Alan Johnson
Alan Johnson

It depends on the attorney, of course, but on average, $1,500 will buy about 10 hours of legal service in Montana.

MTminded
MTminded

The U of M's primary purpose and responsibility is to educate. If student athletes are not allowed to receive gifts (meals, laundry, bail. legal services, etc) these facts must be expressed to and agreed upon by the athletes. If an athlete has any question as to whether an offering for a meal or, say, bail money is permissible that athlete should politely refuse the offer until its legality or illegality is fully known.

The U of M must next educate its coaches regarding NCAA rules in these matters. And lastly, the U of M must educate its boosters as to the possible damages their good intentions my cause.

retiredmsla
retiredmsla

These rules are well known to the players and coaches. Sadly, the players are taught how to "game" the game. The Griz need to break off their arrangement with the California Youth Authority and recruit players and coaches capable of staying out of jail.

brmoderate
brmoderate

And the U of M, or any college or university, must let their student athletes know under no uncertain circumstances that playing college sports is a privilege no matter how tallented they are. And if there is a violation of team rules, it must be dealt with. If laws are broken, they should be suspended until the situation is resolved. If this happened, I'll be they would police their own and clean up their acts (all athletes, not just UM athletes). Remember, it's a privilege.

mtbluedog
mtbluedog

Ah, my wish came true. The UM athletic program and those bonehead coaches and pathetic wannabe boosters got hammered. Take away the schoarships and the wins!

Sorry to say there are innocent students who got ripped off; academics is always collateral damage when it comes to greedy football programs.

The NCAA ain't perfect, but when it comes to the thugs and illegal money and contributions by a college and by boosters, they have laws to enforce.

UMalumnus
UMalumnus

Actually vacating wins does not give the win to the other team. Never has, never will. It's as if those games were never played. Nice try Cat loser. Also -- these things all happened so far in the past now they have no impact on the present when it really comes down to it.

So let's see. All the investigations are over. Nothing earth shattering came out from the NCAA, from the DOJ, from the DOE. Nothing crippling or even that damaging in terms of punishments. Changes have long since been made. WGS is still standing, the stands will still be filled to capacity from here to eternity, there's an entire season coming up. They took their best shot and we're still here. GO GRIZ!

Brattr
Brattr

Okay all you noisy Engstrom-haters, your apologies are in the mail, right?
(Uh, didn't think so)

bsfarm8
bsfarm8

Absolutely not. In my mind these infractions are minor. The NCAA had to find something. If mistakes were made, I can assure you Pflugrad was not the only one making them. The sexual assault investigations which prompted the NCAA investigation were riddled with missteps and errors in judgement, but Engstrom still has his job.

The focus needs to be on the student athletes we have competing right now. They have endured enough. Although this year's Grizzly football owes nothing to anyone, my prediction is they will make us all proud to Grizzlies again. Engstrom has done his best to tarnish the proud tradition of the Grizzlies, but it will be carried back by the outstanding student athletes who earned it to begin with.

Nikki's Niece
Nikki's Niece

Not so fast. First, apologize to whom for what? The close of the NCAA investigation vindicates no one. The infractions described in the report had not yet been uncovered at the time of Coach Pflugrad and Director O’Day’s firing, so they could not possibly have been the justification for it. The real reasons behind the firings remain unknown. Second, what constitutes an “Engstrom hater”? At the end of the day, the president and his administration are public employees; as such, they work for us, and we have the right to demand better of them. Although it is important to frame our concerns respectfully and constructively, expressing them is not “hate.” In the last six months, UM has faced serious budgetary shortfalls that threaten not only the livelihoods of long-time faculty and staff, but also the integrity of the university’s curriculum. Significant national press coverage of UM’s controversial settlement with the Department of Justice brought with it more bad publicity. Public discussions regarding the siting and purpose of the new Missoula College continue to be mishandled by an administration that should have realized its mistakes by now. Rather than worry about the damage or repair done to President Engstrom’s personal reputation, let’s all worry more about the declining reputation of the University of Montana. It faces considerable challenges that will not evaporate with the issuance of any single report. It is not only our right, but also our responsibility, to demand effective and responsive leadership in addressing those challenges.

dave ajou
dave ajou

An excerpt from The Shame of College Sports. Taylor Branch, writing for The Atlantic. Excellent article on the real thugs, the NCAA.

"The greatest threat to the viability of the NCAA may come from its member universities. Many experts believe that the churning instability within college football will drive the next major change. President Obama himself has endorsed the drumbeat cry for a national playoff in college football. This past spring, the Justice Department questioned the BCS about its adherence to antitrust standards. Jim Delany, the commissioner of the Big Ten, has estimated that a national playoff system could produce three or four times as much money as the existing bowl system does. If a significant band of football schools were to demonstrate that they could orchestrate a true national playoff, without the NCAA’s assistance, the association would be terrified—and with good reason. Because if the big sports colleges don’t need the NCAA to administer a national playoff in football, then they don’t need it to do so in basketball. In which case, they could cut out the middleman in March Madness and run the tournament themselves. Which would deprive the NCAA of close to $1 billion a year, more than 95 percent of its revenue. The organization would be reduced to a rule book without money—an organization aspiring to enforce its rules but without the financial authority to enforce anything.

Thus the playoff dreamed of and hankered for by millions of football fans haunts the NCAA. “There will be some kind of playoff in college football, and it will not be run by the NCAA,” says Todd Turner, a former athletic director in four conferences (Big East, ACC, SEC, and Pac-10). “If I’m at the NCAA, I have to worry that the playoff group can get basketball to break away, too.”

This danger helps explain why the NCAA steps gingerly in enforcements against powerful colleges. To alienate member colleges would be to jeopardize its own existence. Long gone are television bans and the “death penalty” sentences (commanding season-long shutdowns of offending teams) once meted out to Kentucky (1952), Southwestern Louisiana (1973), and Southern Methodist University (1987). Institutions receive mostly symbolic slaps nowadays. Real punishments fall heavily on players and on scapegoats like literacy tutors."

GrizzlyEdd
GrizzlyEdd

I am sorry but I cannot say that the Coach or Athletic Director are completely to blame. I would give them 5% blame..

The real culprits and who in some way need to be held accountable are the "boosters." They KNOWINGLY provided money, services, meals, and God knows what else to athletes. These "boosters" knew very well the muddied waters they were wading in. They were totally aware they were violating NCAA rules. They people (GSA or not) have violated the trust of the State of Montana, Missoula, U of M, Griz Athletes, and fans everywhere. Will they be held accountable for their actions??? NO.. they won't even MAN up or WOMAN up and claim responsibility. They are above it all. They have more money than intelligence or caring for other people. It is all about .... wow, look what a noble thing I have done for the University and the Athlete by violating and coercing and athlete to take favors. If I were in some kind of trouble I would probably reach out for an obviously out stretched helping hand no matter what it contained. Human nature..... so, who are the villains? THE BOOSTERS.....

ric
ric

They are 100% to blame for not reporting the violations and for allowing individuals to play that they should have known were not eligible to participate. Short version = they didn't do their jobs. Once in a while when you break the rules you get caught and there are consequences.

Run - A- Mook
Run - A- Mook

I don't much care about football, but
"UM must make a $3,000.00 donation
local charities." Now were do you think
that $3,000.00 donation is coming
from?" Yes out of the tax payer pocket.
What charities are going to get your
money? You will have No say in were
It goes.

Tiger
Tiger

Hey Datsopoulos McDonald and Lind where are my free legal services?!?

Gustave
Gustave

Honestly if it was just tailgaters giving a player a hotdog or a ride, I would say that the NCAA was overreacting. However, the legal representation is a blatant violation and so is letting athletes play when they are ineligible. People should be upset with both the coaching staff. They should also be upset with people that gave free representation. I'll give you three guesses who that may be.

Go Cats Go
Go Cats Go

Cats beat Griz - as of today the Griz vacate their two FCS playoff wins from 2011, the last three wins of that season that included Cat Griz and their share of the Big Sky Conference championship meaning the Cat's have now Beaten the Griz the last three years and the Bobcats actually made it further into the playoffs in 2011 than the Griz. ‪#‎kickingthemwhentheirdown‬

Weasel777
Weasel777

HAHAHA! Pretty obvious by your misuse of the word "their" that you went to MSU. UM grads know how to spell. For example, an MSU student would write "We got a bogus wyn because they're coach got bich slapped by the NCAA." Where as a UM grad would write: "We have to take a few bogus loses because the holier-than-thous at the NCAA have to look responsible while making millions (billions?) off the back of college athletes." See the difference? If not, got to UM and get a real degree. ;)

pophouse
pophouse

*"a few bogus losses", not "bogus loses."

Run - A- Mook
Run - A- Mook

Now Go Cats Go & Weasel777
calm down no cat and bear
fighting here.

justafan
justafan

Pretty obvious you did not pay attention in class.

yougotitwrong22
yougotitwrong22

Why do you all talk about miss spelling at school? Both those schools stink cause their in fcs.

RSW
RSW

Seriously, you can't bail a kid out of jail? You can't do laundry, or feed a kid playing athletics? Come on what kind of horse manure is this. Totally a Witch hunt that ended with nothing. Congrats on the wasted money. Sour grapes!

justafan
justafan

Well actually the NCAA is very specific on what you can and can not do. This is nothing new. Every School that participates in the NCAA know the rules and it is the schools responsibility to follow the rules. They are rules not guidelines.

RSW
RSW

So it's up to the school to see who's washing the clothes for the athletes? Who's bonding out the kids in trouble? What part of those things did the university have control of?

justafan
justafan

actually it is. Also every student athlete knows the rules or should I say should know the rules. This is nothing new.

TheArmadillo
TheArmadillo

OMG! I know people who will take to their beds over this!

David1
David1

Pat Williams, in his statement to a NY Times reporter, referred to some UM players as "thugs." It's time to recognize that there are "thugs" among UM football boosters, as well. It takes more than just "cleaning up" a program. Boosters have to clean up their act, as well. It's too bad some sort of penalty cannot be laid on these boosters.

I do not know which "Division 1 FCS Championship" has been revoked in this article.

dave ajou
dave ajou

Yeah, those thugs that provide a meal need a good public horsewhipping. The bail and legal representation are serious matters, and any head coach and AD would be aware of that, one would think. However, everyone now with the keen 20/20 hindsight should recall that no one, not one single individual at the time of the contract non-renewals, said anything about legal representation or bond money being an automatic ncaa violation. My recommendation as a long time booster and season ticket holder would be to include ncaa booster guidelines and rules with season ticket purchases. This meal business is a joke, if I'm having a tailgate party and offer a hotdog to a kid I recognize as a golfer, tennis player or basketball player, I am jeopardizing their eligibility. The ncaa is all about the money, and there are plenty of influential people in the hierarchy of college sports that think they need to be gone, for good. I'll bet the farm that out of all the ncaa institutions at the BCS through NAIA levels, that if they are "investigated" for over a year, you could count the non-offenders on two hands and have fingers left over. At least the haters didn't get the rapture of a SMU resolution.

montanamuralist
montanamuralist

OK never mind..just read the expanded story...bail thing and legal representation is pretty serious I guess although I have questions about that. Sounds like we are in the playoffs if we get there...that was my big concern. If a kid is in trouble and removed from the team how is it a violation to help them with legal representation? I really do not like the NCAA much...sound like a bunch of hypocrites to me.

sep924
sep924

I believe the issue in this instance, montanamuralist, is that UM allowed the two bailed-out players to continue to play -- even though they were ineligible because of their arrests. The article likely would have been a lot clearer had the Missoulian had the sports editor or UM sports reporter write the story instead of a relatively new general-assignment reporter.

montanamuralist
montanamuralist

Nothing about what wins are vacated? Does this mean we are ineligible for the playoffs for three years? The NCAA assertion that coaches "failed to monitor players" is a bunch of you know what. They see them a few hours a week during the season and players are suspended for misconduct. I think they really couldn't find much except a few meals given out which is not allowed of course...but like Bill Speltz said in one of his more memorable columns, the NCAA was hiding behind trees offering meals to players as they walked to spring drills. No, this stinks and they are cutting their own throats with playoff money generated if we are not in the playoffs.....just stupid...Johnson was suspended for a year while facing trial on false allegations....if I were UM I would take these idiots at the NCAA to court.

TRichard
TRichard

Anybody still wondering why the coach and AD were let go?

Pistol
Pistol

YES! Vice President of the U stated at the time no extra help was done to assist the players to find an attorney. He was O'Day's and Pflugrad's boss, and wasn't fired. So that said why wouldn't Pflugrad play the players the remainder of the season? The booster stuff can be found at any University. A booster recognizes a player and pays for he or she's lunch. What if the athlete has a non athlete with them and their lunch is paid for too? Then it's not special treatment! $3000. fine, games we won on the field forfeited no bug deal. Loss of scholarships hurts. I hope the U appeals.

Click Here
Click Here

I can't say that I am surprised. You can't be that dominate in college sports and not cheat ...Duke University basketball perhaps being the exception to the rule.

It will be interesting and sad to see those huge crowds at the stadium on Saturdays slowly die as the football team slides into the basement of the Big Sky Conference for the foreseeable future.

justafan
justafan

I suppose you will sulk when they have a great year this year? Basement of the Big Sky? Hardly. Big Sky champs? very likely.

Click Here
Click Here

I'll bet you screen names you are wrong.

missionblue
missionblue

With 5 wins taken away?

missionblue
missionblue

Disturbing, and honestly, saddening, what has become of our UM football team. A second gen UM alumni and avid UM athletics fan, I have really become bummed out by watching many on the football team become so shortsighted and self serving. Folks who think they are above others- a.k.a their fans, and the law.
Back in the Don Reid days the players were my hero's. I remember watching UM players knock the daylights out of others, but then reach down to help the guy up. My dad pointed out that this is who Montanan's are. I believe this. This is how the UM sports teams should behave today.
I see our UM athletes as types of warriors. But a true warrior is actually a helper, a servant to others. They are ambassadors to their schools, and mostly, to their communities. They are warriors because they take on the challenges of full time school, extreme fitness,work, and yes, community service/participation. As much as I would like to see an awesome game by great players, I would also like to see the same players helping out in my community. And when our 3rd string kicker makes a 30 yard field goal in a blizzard in the last seconds of the game-to bring us to the next round- I will again charge into the field with all the other fans- and be very proud of our team. Not just because of that field goal.
Now I don't even bother going to the games. I am very frustrated with our UM Sports right now- and that's too bad, Because there are some great kids with great talent getting over shadowed by other players who have lost the spirit of the game. They are disconnected with their community.
Every player, who is part of UM athletics should be required to take classes on "what it means to be an UM athlete" and "what it means to be a Montanan."
Lastly, if you are to be a Grizzly- then a good example would be to study the bear itself.

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