Missoula, MT (Sports Network) - The NCAA announced harsh sanctions against the
University of Montana on Friday after it found numerous violations within the
The Division I Committee on Infractions said Montana failed to monitor the
program during the two-year tenure of former head coach Robin Pflugrad, who
was fired by the university in March 2012.
The committee said UM boosters improperly provided legal representation and
bail bond payments to two players, reportedly All-America cornerback Trumaine
Johnson and backup quarterback Gerald Kemp, after they were arrested while
police tried to break up a party in October 2011. The benefits made the pair
ineligible while they competed in the remainder of the team's Big Sky
Conference co-championship season.
The boosters also provided players with such benefits as meals, a small
loan, clothing, lodging, transportation and laundry services. In addition, the
football team exceeded coaching limits when a student assistant performed
activities allowed only for coaches.
In delivering penalties, the NCAA said many were self-imposed by UM. They
include a three-year probationary period which began Friday, a three-year
reduction of football scholarship from 63 to 59 beginning with the 2014-15
school year, the vacating of five wins in 2011 (three regular season, two
playoffs) in which Johnson and Kemp competed in after receiving the booster
assistance, and a reduction in the number of undergraduate student assistant
positions by two in each of the next two school years.
In addition, UM will donate $3,000 to local charities and undergo an external
review of the university's athletics compliance program.
Pflugrad, still in the Big Sky as an assistant coach at Weber State, will be
suspended for the first game of the Wildcats' season on Aug. 31 and will not
be allowed to recruit off-campus during the upcoming fall season. He also must
attend an NCAA regional rules seminar next year.
The NCAA said Pflugrad failed to inform UM's compliance department or any
other school administrator of the booster activity with Johnson and Kemp,
although some senior athletics department officials were aware of the booster
involvement. Former athletic director Jim O'Day, like Pflugrad, was fired by
UM last year.
The violations ran deep within the UM program. The NCAA said three married
couples, who were university boosters, provided meals for at least eight
student-athletes on more than 100 occasions from 2004 through 2012.
Also, 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..
The NCAA said the Montana case was resolved through the governing body's
summary disposition process, a cooperative effort in which the involved
parties collectively submit the case to the Committee on Infractions in
The university said it would release statements from president Royce Engstrom
and athletic director Kent Haslam later Friday.
Montana, a perennial power within the Big Sky and nationally in the FCS, is
coming off its first losing season (5-6) in 27 years. The Grizzlies, under
second-year coach Mick Delaney, will begin their season on Aug. 31 at home
against Appalachian State.
The Sports Network