LEXINGTON, Ky. -- Former Kentucky head coach Hal Mumme and
one of his assistants claimed high-ranking university officials
knew of NCAA violations being committed by the football program in
the late 1990s, according to a court filing made in a lawsuit by
another former assistant.
The filing was made by attorneys for Claude Bassett as part of a
federal lawsuit against the university's athletic association and
the NCAA. It includes a summary of testimony made by former
assistant Tony Franklin and an affidavit from Mumme.
Franklin testified last week that recruiting violations occurred
both before and after Bassett was hired in 1997, and that Bassett
wasn't the only one at Kentucky who committed violations.
According the Franklin's testimony, violations occurred "with
the implied consent" and "to some extent, with [the]
participation" of administrators including former university
president Charles Wethington, former athletic directors C.M. Newton
and Larry Ivy and the university's current NCAA compliance
director, Sandy Bell.
Franklin alleged that Ivy told him that he "wanted to cover up
these violations and avoid scandal to the university by firing
Coach Bassett," according to the filing, and that Ivy went to
Franklin "specifically looking for evidence to fire Coach
Bassett," which Franklin provided.
Reached Wednesday night, Kentucky athletic department spokesman
Scott Stricklin declined comment on the filing until university
lawyers have seen it. However, he did defend Bell, saying "she's
as thorough, and adheres to NCAA regulations as closely, as any
compliance director you'll find."
Bassett, Kentucky's former recruiting coordinator for football,
was the central figure in an NCAA investigation that led to major
sanctions. He sued, claiming the defendants -- a group that
originally included the Southeastern Conference -- conspired to keep
him from landing another college job, and asked for $50 million in
Bassett resigned in November 2000, shortly before the NCAA began
investigating allegations of wrongdoing in Kentucky's program. In
2002, the NCAA placed Kentucky on probation for more than three
dozen recruiting violations committed between 1998 and 2000. It
banned the Wildcats from a bowl game for one season and ordered the
forfeiture of 19 scholarships over a three-year period.
Bassett, who worked for Mumme, was found in violation of NCAA
ethical conduct bylaws and effectively was banned from working for
any NCAA school for eight years. At the time, Bassett acknowledged
breaking NCAA recruiting rules.
Bassett now is the athletics director and football coach at a
high school in Robstown, Texas, near Corpus Christi.
Mumme, now the head coach at New Mexico State, said in his
affidavit that during a meeting between himself and Ivy the day
after the 2000 season finale, that Ivy "seemed anxious to find
some violation by Bassett."
Bassett later was called to the meeting and asked to resign,
which he did. Mumme said that he understood that in exchange for
Bassett's resignation, "he would not be investigated or prosecuted
for any alleged violations and that any accusations of wrongdoing
would end there."
Mumme also said that Bell later told him "that it would be in
the university's best interest if everything was tied to Claude
Bassett, and that they would dump all the problems in Claude