NCAA releases report on UM infractions

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The NCAA released its findings from an investigation of University of Montana athletics this morning, stating that the administration and former head football coach failed to properly monitor the program.

University boosters provided extra benefits to football players, including meals, free legal representation and bail bond payments, a small loan, clothing, lodging, transportation and laundry services. Additionally, the football team exceeded coaching limits and two former student-athletes competed while ineligible. As a result of this activity, the university and the former head coach failed to monitor.

UM is being punished with "a three-year probation period, scholarship reductions, a vacation of wins in which the ineligible student-athletes participated and reduction in the number of undergraduate student assistant positions," according to the report. That means five wins in 2011 have been removed, as have all references to that season's conference championship and playoff appearance, says Athletics Director Kent Haslam.

The case was resolved through "a cooperative effort" with the university, involved individuals and the NCAA.

The NCAA report begins by detailing how a booster paid bail for two student-athletes in 2011, a violation of NCAA rules. Former head coach Robin Pflugrad, who is not listed by name in the report, knew of the booster paying bail, according to the NCAA, but the coach did not report it to administrators.

Senior athletics department officials, including the compliance director and director of athletics, were also aware that the booster was providing legal assistance to the student-athletes.

In October 2011, Trumaine Johnson and Gerald Kemp were arrested and Tased for obstructing a police officer, disorderly conduct and resisting arrest. They were released after an hour in jail. Neither Johnson nor Kemp is named in the report.

The report goes on to mention additional violations, including boosters providing free meals and services to student-athletes.

Three married couples, who were university boosters, provided meals for at least eight student-athletes on more than 100 occasions from 2004 through 2012. Additionally, one of the couples provided a student-athlete with free storage space for two months, transportation, apparel and a small cash loan. An assistant director of athletics also committed a secondary violation by providing a student-athlete with meals, snacks, lodging and laundry services.

During the 2011-12 academic year, the football program employed a student assistant that performed activities allowed only for coaches.

UM President Royce Engstrom released a statement shortly after the NCAA posted its report.

"The conclusion of the NCAA investigative process — following last May’s announcement of our agreements with the U.S. Department of Justice on unrelated matters — marks an end to this chapter in UM’s history," he said.

Haslam added in a separate statement: "Being the focus of an NCAA investigation has taught us that our athletic department can always improve its practices and procedures. We can be more efficient. We can be more effective in our training and community outreach. We have emerged stronger and more focused."

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