The NCAA Committee on Infractions put the University of Virginia on two years' probation Thursday as a result of improper loans by a school booster group, but sidestepped the issue of whether Dick Schultz, NCAA executive director, had knowledge of the wrongdoing.
Schultz served as Virginia's athletic director from 1981 to 1987, when he was picked to succeed Walter Byers as the NCAA's top administrative official.
Schultz's involvement in the Virginia case, the subject of an inquiry conducted by an independent fact-finder hired by the NCAA, is now under consideration by the NCAA Executive Committee. That panel, responsible for supervising the executive director, is currently meeting in Monterey, Calif.
University of Nevada President Joseph Crowley, the NCAA's president and a member of the Executive Committee, said Thursday that his group needed time to consider the infractions committee's report as well as the report of the independent fact-finder before commenting on Schultz's job status.
The report of the fact-finder, James Park of Lexington, Ky., will be made public by the NCAA when the Executive Committee concludes its deliberations, Crowley said.
In its report, the Committee on Infractions called the Virginia violations major. However, citing the school's "complete and thorough" investigation as well as other mitigating factors, the committee imposed a set of relatively minor penalties.
The sanctions include the elimination of one graduate assistant coach's position in football for one season and the loss of two football scholarships in each of the next two academic years.
Most serious among the violations cited by the committee were nine no-interest loans totaling $3,000 to six football players. The loans were provided by the Virginia Student Aid Foundation (VSAF), a school fund-raising organization.
The university brought those and similar loans by the foundation to the NCAA's attention two years ago. Many of the loans cited by the school were found to have occurred during Schultz's tenure as athletic director.
Schultz has said repeatedly that he knew nothing of the loans, but three of his former colleagues at the school have said he was aware of them.
The Committee on Infractions, citing the NCAA's four-year statute of limitations for rules violations, chose to deal only with violations that occurred between 1987 and '91, effectively eliminating the issue of Schultz's role from its report.
The committee's report made only brief mention of Park's work, stating that the activities reviewed by Park occurred outside the statute of limitations and that his report had been forwarded to the Executive Committee at Crowley's request.
Although NCAA rules allow for the statute of limitations to be waived in cases involving "a pattern of willful violations," David Swank, chairman of the Committee on Infractions, said it was the belief of both the committee and Park that waiving the statute of limitations was not appropriate in the Virginia case.
Citing a lack of institutional control by the university over the athletic department and the foundation, the committee did implicate Schultz obliquely. The committee's report noted that the lack of institutional control started "long before May, 1987."