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Father of Former Player Says Perles Was Aware of Some Grade Violations

April 28, 1996

DETROIT (AP) _ Former Michigan State coach George Perles knew about at least some of the grade-changing going on in the football program, the father of a former player told The Detroit News in a story published Sunday.

Clarence Jackson, the father of former Spartan defensive lineman Aaron Jackson, said he called Perles during the 1992 and 1994 seasons complaining that his son was not attending classes and yet was still allowed to play.

``He said, `We’ll take care of it. Don’t worry, we’ll take care of it,‴ Jackson told the newspaper.

Jackson made the comments in a telephone interview from his home in Pittsburgh on Wednesday. The newspaper did not publish them until Sunday because it was trying to get a response from Perles, who was a river cruise in France.

Perles’ son, John Perles of Grand Rapids, contacted his father on Friday and told the newspaper: ``He doesn’t really have anything to contribute to your story at this point in time.″

Perles had previously said he was exonerated by an NCAA letter saying he was ``not the culpable person″ in the MSU violations.

Perles’ lawyer, Monty R. Story, told the newspaper he could not comment on Jackson’s allegations without conferring with Perles, but added: ``George has steadfastly denied he was aware any of this was going on.″

Two weeks ago, Michigan State President M. Peter McPherson sought to head off tougher potential NCAA sanctions by voluntarily forfeiting all five of the Spartans’ 1994 football victories because of rule violations.

McPherson revealed the allegations of rules violations leveled by the NCAA in a letter of inquiry. They included claims the academic adviser, Greg Croxton, pressured faculty to change grades.

Croxton has said the charges were fabricated.

But Croxton, who was fired by the school, admitted to the newspaper that he did get repeated calls from Jackson about his son.

``But the one who was doing everything was Aaron,″ Croxton said. ``Aaron was slick, a smart kid, almost brilliant. He was doing what he wanted to do.″

Croxton said he did nothing improper on Jackson’s behalf, and did not advise Perles of the father’s complaints.

But Clarence Jackson said he went directly to Perles.

``I told him, Aaron’s been up there two or three years, and he’s not getting his education,″ Jackson said.

Michigan State vice president Terry Denbow told the newspaper that the fact that neither of Aaron Jackson’s parents were interviewed during the university’s investigation was an ``inadvertent lapse.″

``They changed Aaron’s grades every semester,″ Clarence Jackson told The News.

``Not once or twice. Every semester for five years, they changed his grades. He would have failing grades, then they would come up with some kind of solution, get him a higher grade in some other class, something.

``They would come up with a solution to keep him eligible to play football, and I don’t think that’s right.″

Jackson said his son finished the 1994 football season and hung around the campus a bit longer before receiving zeroes in all his subjects, causing his scholarship to be terminated. Aaron Jackson dropped out of school and now is a technician at a medical-supply lab in Pittsburgh.

Jackson said no one from the athletic program contacted his son during his senior year to find out why he wasn’t going to class.

``As soon as he finished football, it was over,″ Clarence Jackson said.

The NCAA infractions committee is scheduled to review Michigan State’s case when it meets June 1-3. The university should learn of any additional sanctions about six weeks after that.

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