Page images

In the letter of December 23, 1977, to the president of Oklahoma State University, the university was faced, 2 weeks before the hearing. with an amended report of the committee on infractions, and in effect. ordered to bar a whole list of people from contact with the university's athletic program,

It states that the persons mentioned would not be permitted to participate in person before the council during the university's appeal in this case. Yet, their rights and reputations were inextricably interwoven with the actions and the fortunes of Oklahoma State University.

I think this cry is for some sort of attention from the Nation's Congress. It is shocking to me that their investigators can go and represent themselves as Federal officers with complete impunity. Normally, they should address themselves to the parties who are affected by the inquiry, and seek to secure the information they want.

Mr. Lent, you would like to respond to what I said !
I yield to you for the comment.

Mr. LENT. Well, with respect—it seems to me that we are blowing hot and cold here on what is finding someone guilty and what is not.

With respect to the airplane investigation, it would seem that the committee takes the position that guilt has been established on the basis of an affidavit for which no opportunities have been presented

Mr. Moss. Let's deal with that point. The committee takes no position that there has been the establishment of guilt or anything else. We have an affidavit submitted before another body under oath to that body and not under oath to this committee. The Chair, if he wanted to make an evaluation of the worth of the affidavit, would feel it necessary to bring Mr. Burgtorf before the committee and place him under oath before this tribunal and not before another.

Mr. LENT. I am gratified that the chairman

Mr. Moss. The chairman makes no premature conclusions, Mr. Lent. The Chair is shocked that the NCAA is not equally diligent in protecting the rights of persons.

I might add that each witness here is given copy of our rules of the committee as they arrive. They are supplied them. They are put in front of them. They have them to refer to in their hearings. All we are trying to do is get facts. We are not making any judgments that impose a penalty.

Mr. ÎENT. I am gratified that the chairman does not take the posi. tion that this affidavit establishes the wrongful conduct on the part of Mr. Stratton. I had gotten the impression from the chairman's expression of shock that the Chair assumed that everything in this affidavit with respect to the look at the airplane was, in fact, true.

I just wanted to point out that that was not the case.

With respect to my talking about the guilt of Clarence Wright, that is not something that has simply been asserted. That is something that has been inquired into by both the Big Eight Conference and the NCAA, and has been found to be so.

Mr. Moss. Does the gentleman have any citation of law that invests in either of those bodies the right to find a party guilty of anything without first, at least, being aware of what he is charged with ?

Mr. LENT. Let me say this in response to the gentleman's question. In early 1975, the Big Eight Conference found Mr. Wright to have im

properly transported and entertained a prospective student-athlete during his recruitment. As a result of that finding, it prohibited Oklahoma State from using Mr. Wright's services in recruiting for a period of 2 years.

Subsequently, the NCAA, a separate organization entirely, found evidence of several additional instances of improper recruiting activities by Mr. Wright. They found, for example, that Mr. Wright was the primary party to an unappealed finding of violation in connection with the recruitment of an athlete, Robert Jackson.

Mr. Moss. Mr. Lent, I will not yield further at this time for that, because the Chair is very familiar with that. The Chair still says that there is no finding on Mr. Wright. The Big Eight is a conference within the NCAA. It has no more authority to find him guilty than I have, or that you have.

It may reach a conclusion that in its opinion, without giving him on opportunity to have a hearing that he is guilty, as the NCAA appears to be doing. I always add the qualifier that I do not know whether they have subsequently afforded an opportunity for a 'hearing, I can only tell you that I am not aware of it.

Mr. LENT. Mr. Chairman, an unappealed finding that-
Mr. Moss. It was appealed to a kangaroo court.

Mr. Lent. If Mr. Wright was improperly found guilty, then he had a right to appeal. But he was found to have given Jackson $800 in cash to induce Jackson to sign a Big Eight Conference letter of intent with Oklahoma State. This is uncontroverted. It has been in the newspapers. He had an opportunity to appeal this. He had an opportunity to

Mr. Moss. I controvert it, very definitely, and very specifically. I say it has not been established anywhere, under any procedure that even remotely concerns a due process proceeding. I say it is a shocking offense to due process.

Mr. LENT. What? Giving the $800 ?

Mr. Moss. I say that the whole conclusion that a man is guilty before this kind of an ad hoc, or a kangaroo court, is an offense against my sense of what is right and proper.

Mr. SANTINI. Mr. Chairman, may I be heard?

Mr. Moss. Unless the gentleman has a strong urge, I think the record is fairly clear. We have the record, of course, to comment on and to draw conclusions from.

But the Chair does feel a sense of outrage at some of the patterns that appear to be emerging as we go along.

Does the gentleman desire to make an expression?

Mr. SANTINI. I don't know if I can improve on the salient observation of the chairman, but I think it has to be reflected in this record because it is lost sight of, occasionally, by the distinguished Representative from New York, that not at one time, place, occasion, or circumstance, was Mr. Wright allowed to face his accusers, or participate in the hearings. Mr. Wright is a nonperson. They say, “We find you guilty," and that is the expression the gentleman from New York uses, and he has never once been permitted to participate in any phase of the hearing or in any way, shape, or form, come in and defend himself from very serious accusations that are levied in his backyard.

26-961 0.79.39

As an alternative, they were offered speculative questions that are pursued so ably and well by the gentleman from New York, that the investigator, Mr. Stratton, engaged in this curious ruse, and went in there and inside the hangar to look at this stable, this covey, this bevy of planes, and said, “My, those are pretty planes," and turned around and walked out and asked if you could believe that.

Mr. Moss. I think it would be better now if we reserve coinments of this type for our report. We will deal with them at some length in the report.

Miss TYREE. Excuse me, Mr. Chairman. There is an error of fact which has been quoted. So I would, in defense of Mr. Wright, since I do represent him, I will state one thing. Robert Jackson filed a sworn affidavit with the NCAA that Mr. Wright did not give him $800 cash. It is, in fact, controverted, and there is no sworn statement of anybody anywhere that it did occur.

It is likewise disputed and controverted by Mr. Wright in the only evidence I know of, that the NCAA has with regard to that, the affidavit of the young man who supposedly got the money who says that it is not true.

I feel compelled that the records should show that, so that the committee is aware that the NCAA records, I believe, will reflect that to the committee. The affidavit is there and available.

Mr. LENT. Was not Mr. Wright, your client, requested at some point in these proceedings by the State university to come forward and testify as to his side of the case.

Miss TYREE. No, Mr. Wright-
Mr. LENT. To be interviewed ?

Miss TYREE. No. Mr. Wright was called upon to surrender his personal and private phone records of his conversations with any and every person, whether or not they were an athlete, a student-athlete, a wife, a mother, a business associate, a third party in Oklahoma who might have wanted to make a loan, whose records he cannot release by law and by the rules of privacy.

The opportunities afforded to Mr. Wright were simply to allow OSU to convey to the NCAA what OSŪ would understand that Mr. Wright said.

Mr. LENT. Was he not asked to come and give an interview to the OSU people who were conducting an on-campus investigation as to the truth of falsity of these accusations!

Miss TYREE. He was asked to provide answers to specific questions and to surrender specific documents only.

Mr. LENT. Did he not refuse?

Miss TYREF. He stated that he did not submit to the jurisdiction of them and demanded his right to appear and confront his accusers and retain the privilege of his bank records.

Mr. Wright is much in the position of Bert Lance and others. He is not totally at liberty to hand out other people's financial dealings without facing retribution from those people who do business with him.

Mr. LENT. I think the basic problem of semantics here that seems to be troubling us is this. I am not saying that he did give the $800. I am saying that he was found guilty, or found to have given the $800; that is, following an adjudication. Is that correct? Did they make that finding?

Miss TYREE. Congressman, I do not know. I have never been given a copy of the findings in toto, naming and labeling things. The only thing I have, and Congressman, I would be happy to give it to you, is a press release which does not identfy, for any of the penalties, the individual whom they are saying did it. They simply find that Clarence did something. Any one of these things could have been what they said Mr. Wright did. They do not identify for me specifically, what it is that they say that Mr. Wright did. It appears in this record that they do say that somebody did give some athlete $800.

Now, I hope you understand that I am trying to be as honest with you as I can about why I cannot say that they specifically found Clarence guilty of that particular provision, because they have not so notified me.

Mr. LENT. Of course, our prisons are full of people who say they are not guilty. But in each case they were adjudicated.

What I am trying to find out is whether there was adjudication or not.

Mr. SANTINI. Every one of those persons in the prisons had a heck of a lot more rights than anybody that ever went before the NCAA ever got.

Mr. Moss. We are getting a feel and trying to resolve matters of personal opinion here.

In order that there be no question of the nature of the proceedings, the Chair will order that there be a transcript prepared of the tape relevant to the matters discussed here this morning, and that the transcripts be available to this committee and, if necessary, we will convene the committee for whatever action is necessary to produce by compulsory process those transcripts in their entirety, so that we can make these determinations.

They go to the heart and the nature of the findings.

The letter of December 23 to the president of Oklahoma State, on page 2, sets forth a grab bag of conclusions or findings and a direction to the university to have nothing further to do with a list of people, but it does not say why.

But it does say that “Subsequently, the officers acting for the council concluded that individuals in question," and then it lists them, including Mr. Wright, “would not be permitted to participate in person before the council during the university's appeal in this case," and as I noted earlier, the appeal of the individual was inextricably interwoven with the appeal of the institution.

So, we will have that so that we are not acting on anything but the best available evidence.

Are there further questions?
Mr. LENT. Mr. Chairman, I would like to raise one point.
Mr. Moss. Certainly.

Mr. LENT. You talked about having the record of these hearings. I would like to inquire whether the committee staff has listened to any of the tapes of these proceedings that we have been inquiring into, either this one or any of the others of the committe on infractions of the NCAA. Have we inquired into this?

It seems to me that would be fundamental to our inquiry into the due process issue.

Mr. Moss. The staff could, at best, give us a verbal report. The members have to make the decisions, and render the judgments. I think, therefore, we have to know what is on the tapes, and not depend upon another example of hearsay.

Mr. LENT. I agree with that wholeheartedly, and so much so, that I would like to request that the committee be furnished with transcripts of the hearings that we are going to be concerned with in the future, particularly the one that I was discussing with my colleague from New Mexico, the New Mexico case involving Tarkanian. I'm sorry. The gentleman is from Nevada. It would be helpful to us if we could have a transcript of that hearing made available to us. I am referring to the hearing of the committee on infractions proceedings, so that we could have a chance to analyze that before the witnesses are brought forward.

Mr. Moss. We will proceed to get those transcripts.
Mr. LENT. I appreciate that.

Mr. SANTINI. Is the gentleman aware of an impending investigation into the University of New Mexico because of the relationship!

Mr. LENT. No. I'm sorry.
Mr. Moss. Are there further questions?

If not, Miss Tyree, I thank you for your testimony. You have been a very articulate and able witness. I think you have contributed significantly to the hearing record of this committee.

Mr. EDWARDS. I thank you.

The committee will stand adjourned until tomorrow morning at 10 o'clock.

[Whereupon at 12:15 p.m., the subcommittee adjourned to reconvene at 10 a.m., April 18, 1978.]

« PreviousContinue »