DANNY FORD: THE END
In the immediate aftermath of Danny Ford's resignation, the parting was viewed as a direct response to the NCAA's ongoing investigation of Clemson for recruiting violations.
The front-page headline from The State the next day: "Ford ouster message to NCAA."
On The State's editorial page, cartoonist Robert Ariail scrawled an image of a Tiger wearing a Ford baseball cap. Accompanying the cartoon was a message: Fire Or Receive Death penalty.
Embarrassing scandals and resulting probation had forced the departure of other high-profile coaches in recent years, including Barry Switzer at Oklahoma, Jackie Sherrill at Texas A&M and Galen Hall at Florida. SMU had resumed playing football after a two-year "death penalty" from the NCAA following the discovery of rampant and systemic cheating.
At N.C. State, basketball coach Jim Valvano would lose his job months later after the discovery of major violations. The NCAA also hammered Maryland and its basketball program after coach Bob Wade lied to investigators about providing money and clothing to recruits and players.
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Ford received a settlement of more than $1 million from Clemson. He was due $190,000 annually over the next three years and received $100,000 to pay off the mortgage on his farm. Clemson gave him six season tickets to football games for the next three to five years.
The administration's refusal to specify the reasons for Ford's departure enraged fans. Athletics director Bobby Robinson repeatedly stressed that the divorce was not related to the NCAA investigation. Some reports quickly identified the real problem as Ford's power struggle with the administration.
In the months preceding the 1989 season, Ford publicly criticized his superiors' opposition to a new dorm for athletes. University president Max Lennon and other administrators were moving forward with plans to build a new academic center for athletes instead, and Ford had openly encouraged boosters to make their voices heard.
The Greenville News quoted an unidentified source saying the rift over the dormitory "was the biggest thing between Danny Ford and the school."
"After they fought over that, it was never the same."
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