Barton County Community College faces sanctions

Updated: January 7, 2005, 9:59 AM ET
Associated Press

WICHITA, Kan. -- A former community college coach charged with providing false information about athletes to several schools pleaded not guilty Thursday to 36 counts of embezzlement, fraud and theft of federal funds.

Ryan Wolf, 32, who also is charged with illegally providing athletes with financial help and academic credentials, was released on his own recognizance after a brief appearance in federal court. He also faces a criminal forfeiture count seeking $89,615.

Later Thursday, the central Kansas junior college said the men's basketball team can finish its regular season but can't participate in the Jayhawk Conference Championship or any other postseason tournament.

Wolf allegedly provided false information about athletes to officials at Missouri, San Jose State and BYU.

An indictment charged that from May 1998 to June 2003, Wolf recruited athletes -- including former Missouri guard Ricky Clemons -- to play for the junior college, then used his faculty position to get them grants they were not qualified to receive and campus jobs that paid them for work they did not perform.

The indictment also claims Wolf mailed transcripts containing false information that made players appear academically eligible for play at NCAA Division I schools, forged player signatures on Pell grant checks and defrauded Barton County Community College by falsely stating athletes had received their high school equivalency degrees.

The college, as part of the self-imposed sanctions made in consultation with the National Junior College Athletic Association and the Jayhawk Conference, also will determine if ineligible players were used between 1998 and 2003. If so, the school must forfeit any affected games and championships and return any money it received for participating in affected postseason games.

The school also must reduce the number of out-of-state basketball athletes it certifies for competition from six to five for the 2005-06 season.

Copyright 2005 by The Associated Press

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