White Resigns at Illinois After NCAA Investigation


Mike White, football coach at the University of Illinois, resigned Monday after an investigation by the National Collegiate Athletic Assn. into alleged recruiting violations, a spokeswoman said.

Judith Rowan, associate chancellor for public affairs, said one of three allegations involved payment for lodging to a prospective athlete by an assistant coach.

Rowan said the athlete enrolled at another school and the assistant coach is no longer at Illinois. She declined to identify either of them.


“We are fully committed to compliance to NCAA regulations,” said interim chancellor Morton Weir. “The athletic association board of directors, and I believe that Coach White has responded appropriately by tendering his resignation.”

Weir said White, who just received a three-year $900,000 contract, would be paid about $300,000 as part of the departure settlement.

The interim chancellor said the university’s investigation revealed that White and two assistant coaches had visited the home of a prospective athlete in 1986--at a time of the year when the NCAA does not allow that. But he said White apparently did not realize it would be a violation.

However, Weir said in the case of the cash payment for lodging to a prospective athlete, the assistant coach “knew he was doing something in violation of the rules.”

White, who had a 47-41-3 record during eight years at Illinois, said the alleged infractions were minor, but that he accepted blame for them.

“If you examine these (NCAA) allegations when they become public, you may note that they appear to be minor in nature and date back to 1985,” White said. “While I was unaware of the violation, I take full responsibility for the allegations in my capacity as University of Illinois’ head football coach.”

White’s 1983 team won the Big Ten championship and finished with a 10-2 record after losing in the Rose Bowl. But his team was placed on probation in 1984 after other NCAA rule violations.

“Coach White was called upon to undertake a very difficult task in 1979 when our football program was enjoying very little success,” Weir said. “His teams brought excitement back to Illinois football.”

Illinois was 3-7-1 in 1987, the Illini’s worst record since White’s first season as coach in 1980.