Mason says more investigation needed into whether recruiting broke law, NCAA rules

Media reports have alleged that potential Gophers were taken to bars and a strip club.

Patricia Drey

University football coach Glen Mason said Thursday he has no plans to discipline players who allegedly took high school recruits to a strip club and bar.

At a press conference, Mason said he needs to investigate the issue further to determine what happened and who was involved before he can assess whether any discipline is due.

“Discipline who?” Mason asked, adding that the specific details of the recruits’ visits are still sketchy to him.

Mason responded to news reports quoting high school football recruits who said Gopher players took them to a Minneapolis strip club and several bars during official visits to the University in December.

Mason said he heard rumors that some behavior he deemed inappropriate might have occurred during recent recruits’ visits in early December, and he had a team meeting to address the behavior.

“Some of the information I get comes in the form of rumors sometimes, and you know how rumors are,” Mason said.

Under National Collegiate Athletic Association rules, those hosting recruits can receive up to $30 per day for food and entertainment for the recruit and themselves.

Kay Hawes, spokeswoman for NCAA, said she could not comment on whether the organization would investigate the accusations.

Mason said he does not give players specific guidelines for entertaining recruits. Rather, he said he asks them to adhere to general guidelines such as, “Do the right thing,” and, “If you’re not sure, just don’t do it.”

“I call on them to use common sense,” Mason said.

When new issues arise, he specifically addresses them to the team, he said.

At the University of Michigan-Ann Arbor, where a similar incident involving the basketball team occurred eight years ago, hosts must sign a form listing guidelines for recruits’ visits, said Judy Van Horn, the university’s associate athletics director. The form gives guidelines on NCAA rules and improper behavior, Van Horn said.

The form specifically prohibits prospective student-athletes from violating alcohol and drug laws, according to the document. Student hosts must sign it to receive money for recruit food and entertainment, Van Horn said.

Mason said he is concerned about underage drinking but feels the problem is more widespread than football players or athletes.

“Even President (George W.) Bush’s daughter got cited for underage drinking, and he’s got the Secret Service,” Mason said.

Mason said the recruit, who committed to the University 14 months ago, visited the first weekend in December. Mason would not name the recruit.

According to news reports, recruit Lydon Murtha, who visited during the first weekend, was taken to a bar and the Deja Vu nightclub in downtown Minneapolis by his hosts.

Mason said he has had numerous contacts with the recruit since his visit.

“There was not one single hint of any problem,” Mason said.

However, the recruit decided to go to another university, and Mason said he has not been able to contact him since.

– Molly Moker contributed to this report.