|« Saint Francis University Head Football Coach Dave Opfar Loses Wife Mary Ann After Long Battle With Cancer||Eastern Washington, WSU's Paul Wulff Hit with NCAA Sanctions »|
Wulff Broke NCAA Rules at Eastern Washington
EWU sanctioned for violations under now-Washington State coach.
Eastern Washington football coach Beau Baldwin said he maintains “tremendous respect” for Washington State coach Paul Wulff and does not hold Wulff solely responsible for NCAA rules violations committed during Wulff’s time as Eastern’s coach, which have resulted in sanctions against the EWU football program.
The NCAA and Eastern announced Wednesday that a series of secondary rules infractions from 2003-07 led to a major infractions case against the Eagles.
Penalties include a ban on postseason play in 2009, although Eastern athletic director Bill Chaves said the Eagles are “strongly considering” an appeal of that ruling.
“We were certainly disappointed in that particular sanction,” Chaves said.
The Eagles will be on probation for three years. The NCAA accepted self-imposed penalties of the loss of two full scholarships and one of 11 permissible full-time coaches from fall quarter 2008 through spring quarter 2011.
“I don’t sit here and say, ‘Coach Wulff put us in a bad position,’ ” said Baldwin, an Eastern assistant under Wulff from 2003-06. “When you look back on those years, everyone – everyone – is to blame one way or the other.
“I think we’ve all acknowledged that. The NCAA acknowledged that.”
After a two-year review, the NCAA Division I Committee on Infractions found that Eastern “failed to devote adequate resources to the compliance effort.” The school has since hired its first full-time compliance and academic supervisors for the athletic department.
However, an NCAA news release said Wulff demonstrated “inattention to certain aspects of his program” and “did not report various violations to the compliance office once he learned of them.”
The NCAA ruled that Wulff must attend an NCAA Regional Rules Seminar during each of the next three years “at his own cost.” Also, Wulff cannot have “any contact” with Washington State’s football team the first three days of fall practice this year.
“At no time did I ever intentionally violate NCAA rules,” Wulff said in a statement released by WSU. “As head coach, I take responsibility for the mistakes that occurred and accept the NCAA’s penalties.”
Washington State athletic director Jim Sterk said Wulff is “a person of tremendous integrity” who was “straightforward” with WSU officials when discussing the rules violations at Eastern before he was hired by the Cougars in December 2007.
The NCAA said the proper enforcement of rules at Eastern was made more difficult from 2003-07 because the school had three presidents and five athletic directors. Chaves was hired in the fall of 2007 as Wulff began his eighth and final year as Eastern’s head coach.
Among other NCAA rules violated by the Eagles were the use of an ineligible player in a 2007 game; permitting 13 players to practice when they were not eligible to do so; providing preseason housing and meals to a pair of ineligible players; and having graduate and student assistant coaches fail to take the proper amount of academic credits.
Baldwin and Chaves credited Eastern president Rodolfo Arevalo, who took over in the spring of 2006, with providing the resources necessary for the Eagles to hire more compliance and academic help.
“We’re definitely a lot better now,” Baldwin said.
Baldwin said his players demonstrated a “mature” and “resilient” attitude when they learned of the sanctions, but “it hit them hard.” The Eagles, who play in the Big Sky Conference, have advanced to the NCAA Football Championship Subdivision (formerly Division I-AA) playoffs six times since 1985.
Wulff broke NCAA rules at Eastern
By Howie Stalwick, The Seattle Post-Intelligencier