Danny's Days VII
In February of 1982, Danny Ford broke his long silence on the NCAA's year-long investigation of Clemson.
Ford, a little more than a month removed from guiding the Tigers to the pinnacle of college football, was part of a nine-man coaching panel that met in Kansas City with a group of reporters.
ALSO SEE: Danny's Days | Danny's Days II | Danny's Days III | Danny's Days IV | Danny's Days V | Danny's Days VI | THE STORY OF UIAGALELEI | THE STORY OF UIAGALELEI - Part 2 | THE STORY OF UIAGALELEI - Part 3 | Clemson signees | Clemson's junior commitments
Ford said the NCAA was investigating a "thick" file of complaints from Clemson's competition.
"You don't get investigated until you get turned in by so many people, and you get a file so thick," he told reporters.
"They've done a thorough job on Clemson. But if they did a thorough job on everybody before they got an accusation, they would prevent a lot. I'm taking up for myself, but the head coach knows least of what's going on of anybody in the whole organization. They're not out there in the field, but they're responsible for everybody in the world. I know I've broken some rules, and any coach who says he hasn't is not being truthful with himself."
This was a time when some people believed big-time college athletics was beginning to spiral out of control as a result of big money allegedly lavished upon blue-chip talent. Notre Dame basketball coach Digger Phelps startled many in the winter of 1982 when he said he knew of a number of basketball coaches who were paying a standard rate of $10,000 a year for decorated recruits.
UAB coach Gene Bartow said money was "flowing like water" to top prospects. Penn State's Dick Harter said Phelps' claims were accurate, "but I have felt the price is even higher than $10,000 a year."
In the mid-1970s, the NCAA slapped Clemson's basketball program with probation for major violations committed under Tates Locke. At the time, athletics director Bill McLellan said Clemson would learn from the mistakes that produced those transgressions.
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