Editor's note: Following is a statement issued by Randy Howell.
After many days of discussions and studying of the Elite Series rules, a conversation I had with a fellow angler before the polygraph was taken was brought to my attention. I called a meeting with Trip Weldon on Friday of this past week.
In this conversation, I spoke in haste about interpretation of the rules, which after looking back and knowing that I did not know the rules fully as I should have, in this conversation I violated a rule. I spoke in haste and asked the angler to keep it between me and him (when he had seen me standing on the front of my boat being idled by my partner) and this alone was wrong on my part.
Although I said this simply because I wanted to talk to the tournament director first to explain the situation, it did violate rule # 3-vii which states that "each competitor agrees to report to the Tournament Director any violation or infraction of any Tournament Rules. Failure to report violations, or suggestions to another competitor that he or she violate these Rules, or false verification of weigh-in forms will be cause for disqualification".
At the time of the conversation with the other angler, I was waiting to hear from Trip Weldon to explain my situation. Although this in no way influenced the outcome of the event, it is not consistent with the standards I live by. Even though this was a closed case after the polygraph was taken, I felt the only right thing to do was to forfeit my 21st place finish back to BASS after realizing that this was a violation of rule #3-vii.
This information that I gave to Trip constituted a disqualification from the Santee tournament. My integrity and the integrity of the BASS rules are more important to me than anything else. This decision will leave no room for my integrity or the integrity of the rules to be questioned.
I apologize to the angler for putting him in a compromising situation as well as to BASS and for any trouble this has caused them. This will be the only statement given, no further comments will be made concerning this matter. I am ready to put the past behind me and focus on the exciting season ahead.