NCAA eyes KSU football
University employee fired in connection with internal probe of program
MANHATTAN — Kansas State University has received a notice of inquiry from the NCAA concerning potential rules violations involving two current football players, three former players and a former university employee.
The letter, obtained by The Capital-Journal through an open-records request, is dated Aug. 9 and informs K-State officials that the football program is under investigation by NCAA staff, including former Washburn athletic director Rich Johanningmeier, now NCAA associate director of enforcement.
Three times in its history, Kansas State has been found to have committed major infractions in its football program:
• 1998: Representatives of the institution's athletics interests provided a football student-athlete with about $3,400 money, most of which was used to buy a car. The player returned the car, donated the money to charity, the university self-imposed the penalty of disassociating itself with seven representatives of the institution's athletics interests and three other individuals involved, and the NCAA extended an ongoing probation one year.
• 1978: From 1975 to '78, K-State was found to have awarded 20 scholarships above its limit. The football program received a two-year postseason ban, docked 20 scholarships and lost one-third of its revenue distribution from the Big Eight.
• 1970: From 1968 to '70, the institution was found to have provided improper transportation; improper recruiting entertainment, inducements and transportation; tryout; excessive time for official visit; improper administration of precollege enrollment tests; academic fraud; eligibility; unethical conduct. Penalties included a three-year postseason and television ban.
News of the investigation, though, came as no surprise to the school.
"The university received information long before this notice of inquiry came to us," said Jacqueline Butler, assistant university attorney. "The information that we received raised some concern about possible NCAA violations, and we immediately started our own investigation into those matters. At the same time, communications were made to the NCAA that we were investigating those possibilities."
Butler said a university employee was terminated as a result of the internal investigation but wouldn't comment on the person's identity.
Since last summer, a joint investigation between K-State and the NCAA has revealed that any allegations against the school won't include a lack of institutional control or failure to monitor, athletic director Tim Weiser said. Further, no evidence has suggested that any coaches, administrators or boosters are involved.
"This investigation centers around one former university employee, three former football players and two current members of the team," Weiser said.
One of the current team members is playing for the Wildcats, ostensibly because he was cleared by the probe.
"We wouldn't ever play somebody whom we had doubts about in terms of their eligibility," Weiser said.
Meanwhile, sophomore cornerback Joshua Moore, who started the final five games last season as a freshman, was declared academically ineligible moments before the season opener against Auburn and hasn't played this season.
"We continue to hope we will get (Moore's status) resolved shortly," Weiser said, "but that has not happened to this point, so we are not able to say how soon we would have resolution."
Further, The Capital-Journal has learned that the investigation has centered on a former university academic adviser and former players Ro Grigsby, Antonio Brown and Alphonso Moran.
Grigsby twice was questioned as part of K-State's internal investigation. Officials, including compliance director David Flores, traveled in April to Athens, Texas, to interview Grigsby, who left K-State after the 2005-06 season and transferred to Trinity Valley Community College, said his father, J.D. Grigsby.
Now enrolled but not playing at Illinois State, Ro Grigsby was investigated for a paper written with the aid of a female university tutor, his father said. University officials wouldn't comment on the position held by the employee who was dismissed.
"They was checking these guys' computers and everything," J.D. Grigsby said. "They was doing like an FBI investigation, you know, going back into e-mails and computers."
Ro Grigsby also was questioned about whether players were romantically involved with the female tutor, his father said.
Messages left with Ro Grigsby weren't returned.
Moran, a defensive tackle who left K-State two weeks before the Wildcats' season opener for personal reasons including the NCAA case, also said he was investigated for a paper written with the aid of a tutor. Reached by phone at his home in Florida, Moran said investigators confiscated papers he'd written, as well as files belonging to the tutor.
Both Moran and J.D. Grigsby said they didn't believe K-State coach Ron Prince was aware of the potential violations until he was informed by officials in the athletic department.
Coach Prince referred all inquiries to the K-State athletic department.
Brown, a wide receiver from Mesquite, Texas, left K-State following the 2006 season. He transferred to Tarleton State University, a Division II school in Stephenville, Texas.
Brown appeared in Tarleton State's season opener but hasn't played since because of an ongoing investigation, said James Gibson, assistant athletic director for compliance at Tarleton State.
"There's been some information that's come to our attention about events that occurred while he was at Kansas State," Gibson said. "Based on that information we felt it was in the institution's best interest to pull him from competition until everything at Kansas State was investigated properly."
Attempts to reach Brown through his stepmother, Stephanie Ruth, were unsuccessful.
Although the notice of inquiry stated that the NCAA hoped to complete its investigation by Oct. 1, Butler, the university attorney, said it was ongoing. Once it is finalized, K-State could receive a notice of allegations. The university then would respond officially and, if the allegations are substantiated and deemed major violations, could appear before the Committee on Infractions.
K-State officials, in conjunction with outside counsel Michael Glazier of the law firm Bond, Schoeneck and King, will continue to participate in concert with the NCAA, Weiser said.
"We have never, nor will we ever, tolerate intentional violations of NCAA rules," Weiser said. "Should it be determined that violations have occurred, we will take whatever steps necessary to ensure that we maintain the highest standard for compliance."
In another article found here, Tarleton State's Gibson states “He is practicing but not competing,” Gibson said by phone. “There was information provided to us by the NCAA we felt could hurt Tarleton State’s future. Until that is over, we’re holding him out.”
The Scoop's Take: At this point it appears that Tarleton State has done everything by the book, and is in no way going to get caught up in any of this. Nice job by Tarleton of doing the right thing and keeping him out just to be sure.
However, if this clears up this season it would be interesting to see Tarleton suddenly add a D1 caliber WR to the mix with Prentice and Guinn already there.
Stay tuned for updates. We have confirmed there is an upcoming article regarding this from the Tarleton area.