TSU football guilty of ‘major violations’

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (AP) — An NCAA investigation found Tennessee State coach L.C. Cole funneled about $250 in cash to a player, The Tennessean reported today.
NCAA investigators also said assistant coach Johnnie Cole, L.C. Cole’s brother, lied to them during a 17-month probe that found “major violations” in eight categories, the newspaper reported.
Among the charges, the 15-page NCAA letter of inquiry obtained by The Tennessean said the university failed to “exert appropriate institutional control” of its football program.
Tennessee State has until April 1 to respond and is scheduled to appear before the NCAA committee on infractions on June 4-6.
On Wednesday, university president James Hefner acknowledged receipt of the NCAA document but would not elaborate.
If the university is found guilty of any allegations, the football program could lose scholarships, be limited in recruiting or be banned from postseason competition.
Two weeks ago, Tennessee State officials fired athletic director Vivian Fuller, saying only that they wanted to take the athletic department in another direction.
The NCAA letter says L.C. Cole gave then-assistant coach Jeff Torrence an envelope containing about $250 in cash with instructions to give it to a player. The name of the player was deleted from the document obtained by The Tennessean.
The newspaper said the NCAA accused Johnnie Cole of giving “false and misleading information” to investigators when asked about his involvement in the TSU-Florida A&M game in September 1997. He allegedly violated a university-imposed suspension by meeting with players at halftime.
L.C. Cole was suspended for one game last year for providing a school investigative committee with “misleading and false information” about a player’s participation in a practice. He also is on two years’ probation for urging a volunteer coach to alter testimony to the committee.
L.C. Cole was out of town and unavailable for comment, but Johnnie Cole urged people not to jump to conclusions.
“These are just allegations,” he said Wednesday, adding that investigations don’t always lead to sanctions. “The University of Alabama recently had a lot of violations directed at them, and just yesterday the NCAA dropped all of the charges against them.”