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Adams’ Job May Still Be in Question

July 26, 1996

EDINBURG, Texas (AP) _ Texas-Pan American men’s basketball coach Mark Adams escaped sanctions from the NCAA for violations within his program, but his future with the university may still be in question.

The university suspended Adams last year after the NCAA launched its investigation. He responded by suing the school and won a temporary restraining order reinstating him as head coach until after the NCAA’s decision.

That decision, announced Thursday, was to place the university’s athletics program on four years’ probation. Adams, who was not sanctioned, said the ruling vindicated him.

``To have the NCAA come forward and impose no penalty on me personally is a great feeling,″ he said. ``My name’s been cleared.″

Whether university officials agree is not clear. UTPA president Miguel Nevarez would not comment on Adams’ future with the university.

Adams said he wants to stay until his contract expires in May 1997, but the outcome may have to be hashed out once again in court.

``My future is here with the University of Texas-Pan American, to fulfill my contract and continue to build a winning basketball team,″ said Adams, whose Sun Belt Conference team went 9-19 last season.

The rules violations centered on charges that two assistant men’s basketball coaches in 1993 improperly helped potential recruits with correspondence coursework from Southeastern College of the Assemblies of God in Florida.

Southeastern College has come under scrutiny by the NCAA in past infractions cases, including two involving the Texas Tech football program and Baylor basketball program.

The NCAA concluded the UTPA coaches improperly received course materials, arranged proctors and sent course forms and a final exam to Southeastern, but said they did not participate in any academic fraud.

While it did not sanction Adams, the NCAA said the head coach violated ethical standards by discussing the investigation against orders and providing false information to the NCAA enforcement staff and university officials.

In addition, the NCAA concluded the coaching staff provided improper benefits for players such as transportation and lodging.

The infractions case was the third brought against the university since 1990 and resulted in the school’s second probation in four years.

``This case was not one in which the violations were numerous, but because of the continued violations, the committee thought it appropriate to impose this lengthy period of probation,″ said David Swank, chairman of the NCAA Committee on Infractions.

Because of its repeat violations, the school had faced the so-called death penalty _ the loss of a program for one or two years. But Swank said the committee opted against such harsh punishment.

``You don’t impose the death penalty in a case in which you have a limited number of violations, which we had in this case,″ he said, adding, ``This is a fairly significant penalty for the university itself.″

University officials called the decision fair and said they did not anticipate an appeal.

``It could have been a lot worse,″ said Athletic Director Gary Gallup.

In its report, the NCAA committee cited the university for a lack of institutional control in failing to adequately monitor its coaches for wrongdoing.

The committee noted the university already had taken measures to correct the problems, including requiring coaches to submit recruiting logs and prohibiting coaches from arranging correspondence courses for athletes.

In 1992, UTPA was placed on a three-year probation for violations in the men’s basketball program, including improper benefits and out-of-season practices. Those violations did not occur under Adams.

Just two years before, the NCAA found recruiting violations and a lack of institutional control involving the women’s basketball program.

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