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Pflu and O'Day's Input on NCAA Findings

grizfan95

Well-known member
http://missoulian.com/news/local/ex...cle_fee3cea0-f669-11e2-b2f1-0019bb2963f4.html

Together, they’ve taken a lot of the heat for the NCAA’s investigation into the University of Montana football program.

With Friday’s announcement of sanctions against the Grizzlies, former UM head football coach Robin Pflugrad and ex-athletic director Jim O’Day spoke on their own behalf.

According to the NCAA report detailing infractions from 2011, Pflugrad failed to adequately monitor the football program, allowing boosters to provide extra benefits to players, including bail money and legal representation.

Currently the offensive coordinator for Weber State, Pflugrad has been suspended from his coaching duties for the first game of the 2013 campaign. He has also been leveled with recruiting restrictions for the upcoming season.

Pflugrad’s contention is that the NCAA was “extremely technical” in its Montana investigation. Specifically, he takes issue with the word “booster” in one specific instance.

In its report, the NCAA determined that a “booster” – the mother of another Griz player who resides in Missoula – bailed Gerald Kemp and Trumaine Johnson out of jail after their arrest on Oct. 23, 2011. She paid $130 for one player and $190 for the other.

Kemp’s grandfather, who lives out of state, later reimbursed the mother with a personal check for the total amount of the bail. However, under NCAA rules, he waited too long to do so, and Pflugrad failed to inform Montana’s compliance office.

“In the highest degree of technicality, I looked at that relationship, as a mother of a player whose teammate was in trouble, and when does that cross over to being a booster?” Pflugrad said. “If that’s my biggest mistake, then I’m going to move forward with it. Because there has to be some form of humanity in what we do.”

The NCAA also determined that Johnson and Kemp each received $1,500 in free legal representation stemming from the incident. O’Day and Pflugrad say they did not monitor that situation.

“I talked to quite a few coaches in the Pac-12 and the Big Sky Conference,” Pflugrad offered. “Not one of them have ever physically monitored the legal payments of an arrest.

“You know the first thing I did, I made sure none of our coaches had bailed out players. That was my job and I moved on from there.”

Incidents involving Johnson and Kemp were not the only infractions by Montana, according to the NCAA report. But the general consensus is that the NCAA came to town as a result of that situation.

Its 18-month investigation has resulted in the loss of scholarships for upcoming seasons and the vacating of five wins from 2011.

“I understand some of those scholarship losses,” O’Day said, “only in the fact the NCAA has been in here 18 months and they’ve allocated a lot of resources and personnel and time to look at it.

“They absolutely had to come away with something. It’s no different than the IRS when they go in and they are red-flagged on something. They’ve got to come away with something.”

O’Day takes issue with vacating wins, claiming “there’s so much more to the story.”

“Until all of that comes out, which I believe it will, it’s kind of a disappointment,” he said. “It took a lot of hard work and effort by a lot of people on that team. To vacate all that is not fair to those kids.”

***

Although Pflugrad will pay a price for what happened in Missoula in 2011, Weber State head football coach Jody Sears remains firmly in his corner.

“We did an assessment and knew there was a possibility of some things coming down the road,” Sears said. “But like I told (Weber State AD Jerry) Bovee from the get-go, the kind of character and person of integrity Robin Pflugrad is and the amount respect he has in our profession ...

“It was in our opinion he was extremely forthcoming with the potentiality of things. We were looking more at the integrity and character in the man himself than the possibility of things out of our control. We stuck with it and we are extremely happy and blessed to have him on our staff. I still think that.”

Pflugrad will call the plays for Weber State this season, so it’s a considerable disadvantage not having him in that capacity for the Wildcats’ opener at Utah on Sept. 7. But knowing what he does now, Sears would still hire Pflugrad all over again.

“In many ways, he brings a great wealth of knowledge and experience to our program,” Sears said. “From the Xs and Os to discipline and (NCAA) compliance, he’s brought lots of value to our program.”

***

Pflugrad and O’Day were fired by UM President Royce Engstrom in March 2012 without the university giving a reason. The firings came after numerous allegations of sexual assault also surfaced, as well as questions about UM’s handling of those allegations.

In retrospect, Pflugrad takes issue with how that situation was handled.

“There was an overall climate and publicity that assisted in creating a certain atmosphere in which the administration overreacted,” he said. “That resulted in the termination of the athletic director and myself as head football coach.”

Whether Pflugrad ever lands another job as a Division I head coach remains to be seen. Regardless, he holds a place in his heart for Missoula and the Grizzlies. His lasting support was never more evident than this spring when he showed up at Washington-Grizzly Stadium to support his former players at Pro Day.

“That team’s special up there in Montana,” he said. “Those guys are special to me.”

Pflugrad and O’Day are both hesitant to speak off the cuff. Instead, they sit back and hope that someday all the details of Montana’s athletic ordeal come out.

“People wonder how long this will take to clear this up,” O’Day said. “Just like I said when we were removed from our positions, you’ve got to let history tell the story.

“I believe that’s the case here. It’s going to take some time for us to see just exactly what kind of damage it has done to the program and the university. Those are all things we’ll be able to look back on in 10 years and see really what happened.”
 
Excellent comments by Pflugrad and O'Day. The truth will come out one day, but for sure, Engstrom overreacted and damaged the lives of two individuals as a result.
 
Honestly, I don't think I'll ever get over their firings. :evil:

There were so many other ways RE and the administration could have handled disciplining either of them without flying off the handle and firing them.
 
uofmman1122 said:
Honestly, I don't think I'll ever get over their firings. :evil:

There were so many other ways RE and the administration could have handled disciplining either of them without flying off the handle and firing them.

:thumb: :clap:
 
Both men make good points, especially in regards to the use of the word "booster" to describe a parent. I've never known Pflu and am really only an acquaintance to O'Day, but I do know that they are empathetic people who really cared about their players. That might have caused some of these "infractions", but you'll have a hard time making the argument to me that they purposely broke the rules. You can't control what boosters are going to do and you can't babysit players 24/7. 18-22 year olds are going to make mistakes, at times very selfish and harmful ones, regardless of who is in charge or how disciplined the program is.

The one thing we've learned is that their needs to be new or improved policies and procedures in our AD when it comes to reporting compliance issues and communicating potential compliance issues. When BSU had their NCAA penalty, they hired 3 additional compliance attorneys to the University Staff. I'm not sure UM does anything similar, but the NCAA findings did prove that we need improvement in that area and better communication of the rules to players, coaches, and boosters.
 
A few friends who are involved in college athletics have told me, most any school they have been involved with are guilty of parents (they have not considered them boosters either) of players providing meals, and monitoring legal representation. Most schools don't monitor the personal financial legal arrangements. That is a personal matter, and infringing on athlete's and their family's privacy. Sounds like the NCAA certainly stepped over their boundaries.

They believe the only thing the university was truly guilty of was too many assistants. That should have not happened, and no excuses for it. It can be argued on the bail money either way. Fact is, the money was repaid. Sounds like the NCAA should have taken some blame in Kemp's case, because they were the ones dragging their feet in clearing him with the insane minor academic problem. Supposedly U of M was pushing for a decision on Kemp well before the football season started. The NCAA had what they needed regarding his situation right after the Spring semester. Why they sat on making a decision is beyond anyone's guess? Maybe someone closer to the situation can add to this one way or the other. I just don't know how accurate the information I heard might be.

IF the NCAA would have been 100% fair, Montana should have been fined for too many assistant and have a few recruiting restrictions, but no reduction in scholarships, and no wins vacated. Every program better hope their programs are not investigated, because the minor things they found here are going on everywhere. Our results are very minor compared to things going on at many other programs. :thumb:
 
It's time to move on. This media shit show has taken on a life of its own complete with its own narrative. The headline on the front of the gazette read "another set of penalties." Apparently in the ongoing fictional telling of this story this isn't the first time the NCAA has penalized Montana.
The faster UM moves ahead the better. O'Day and Pflu can help that by shutting up and getting on with life. We're already due for another dose of publicity every time Montana plays Weber and probably even when MSU plays Weber.
 
griz4life said:
It's time to move on. This media shit show has taken on a life of its own complete with its own narrative. The headline on the front of the gazette read "another set of penalties." Apparently in the ongoing fictional telling of this story this isn't the first time the NCAA has penalized Montana.
The faster UM moves ahead the better. O'Day and Pflu can help that by shutting up and getting on with life. We're already due for another dose of publicity every time Montana plays Weber and probably even when MSU plays Weber.


It isn't. But the last time involved a large number of felony charges and very nearly the end of athletics at the U of M. In the end it put the National power football program in the crapper for many years. Howver it was intentional lat time. This time was stupidity.
 
I doubt we have heard the last of this. O'day and Pflu will likely fight to clean their names and reputations as much as possible. All be damned if I would sit back and not clean up the mess RE firing them caused. The best thing would have been to let them work out their contracts. I am guessing will take 7 to 10 years for this to run it's course with them.

I did not know Pflu well, but know Jim well, no way he deserved to lose his job. If that justifies a loss of job, many more AD's better be preparing their resumes.
 
What a couple of whiners. Even the scummiest of politicians knows to just say something like "if anything I am perceived to have done in anyway negatively affected blah blah blah, then I apologize for that perception."
 
It's clear to me that Pflu still doesn't get it. In the Standard article, he is quoted as saying the NCAA investigation had nothing to do with their terminations.


“Really, the investigation had no bearing on my termination as a head football coach,” Pflugrad said

WTF?? Of COURSE it did, Pflu. Look, we can argue all day about whether the firings were needed (although I shudder to think about the severity of the penalties the NCAA would have leveled if Jim and -- particularly -- Pflu were still around), to even suggest that his role in the dealings which brought about the investigation didn't lead in part to his termination shows a complete lack of understanding, and I'd be VERY concerned if I were Weber right now.

http://www.standard.net/stories/2013/07/27/wsu-offensive-coordinator-suspended-action-stems-violations-montana-coach" onclick="window.open(this.href);return false;
 
tnt said:
griz4life said:
It's time to move on. This media shit show has taken on a life of its own complete with its own narrative. The headline on the front of the gazette read "another set of penalties." Apparently in the ongoing fictional etelling of this story this isn't the first time the NCAA has penalized Montana.
The faster UM moves ahead the better. O'Day and Pflu can help that by shutting up and getting on with life. We're already due for another dose of publicity every time Montana plays Weber and probably even when MSU plays Weber.


It isn't. But the last time involved a large number of felony charges and very nearly the end of athletics at the U of M. In the end it put the National power football program in the crapper for many years. Howver it was intentional lat time. This time was stupidity.

I think you're alone in connecting current events with something from decades earlier.
 
EverettGriz said:
It's clear to me that Pflu still doesn't get it. In the Standard article, he is quoted as saying the NCAA investigation had nothing to do with their terminations.


“Really, the investigation had no bearing on my termination as a head football coach,” Pflugrad said

WTF?? Of COURSE it did, Pflu. Look, we can argue all day about whether the firings were needed (although I shudder to think about the severity of the penalties the NCAA would have leveled if Jim and -- particularly -- Pflu were still around), to even suggest that his role in the dealings which brought about the investigation didn't lead in part to his termination shows a complete lack of understanding, and I'd be VERY concerned if I were Weber right now.

http://www.standard.net/stories/2013/07/27/wsu-offensive-coordinator-suspended-action-stems-violations-montana-coach" onclick="window.open(this.href);return false;

EG,

I guess the jury is still out for me, and probably always will be, regarding the firings. I think a lot of it comes down to what RE knew and when he knew it. I believe I read on here that the U was notified of the NCAA investigation in December of 2011. It would be interesting to know when UM thought that they had violated or potentially violated the rules around reporting the bail money and the legal services.

At the time of the firings the school was under intense scrutiny in the press and the public's perception for the allegations of multiple rapes. At the end of the day, 18 months later, there was the single Beau Donaldson conviction. At the time allegations were rampant and the U faced a serious public relations problem. This was made worse after Pflu's comments to the press about JJ. I still think this was likely the straw that broke the camel's back for Pflu and JOD.

It comes down to not reporting some of these infractions. We didn't and it's time to pay the piper and try to put into place policies and procedures so this never happens again. Was this a hanging offense for Pflu? With the firings he is a convenient fall guy for both the U and the NCAA. I'm just not convinced that the knowledge of the violations was the reason RE decided to pull the trigger. We will likely never know.
 
I dont this the ncaa investigation played much of a role in the firings. It was 90% caused by the jordan johnson pr nightmare.

Engstrom lucked out that the ncaa leveled a penalty to vindicate his actions.
 
wbtfg said:
I dont this the ncaa investigation played much of a role in the firings. It was 90% caused by the jordan johnson pr nightmare.

Engstrom lucked out that the ncaa leveled a penalty to vindicate his actions.
I think they kinda jumped the gun...
 
wbtfg said:
I dont this the ncaa investigation played much of a role in the firings. It was 90% caused by the jordan johnson pr nightmare.

Engstrom lucked out that the ncaa leveled a penalty to vindicate his actions.
Correct; they were fired because of pressure regarding presumed sexual assaults (to include accusations of gang rape and Donaldson. It was not just JJ, but Pflu stuck his foot in his mouth regarding JJ, which fired up pressure from the media, the female faculty and dipsh*ts like Pat Williams. Nothing to do with the NCAA investigations.

This just in: RE does not respond well to pressure.
 
Make no mistake, Pflu and ODay were not fired solely because of the NCAA investigations. But to suggest it didn't play any role is crazy. There was a LOT of bad shit happening with the program at that point (hell, I was yelling "Fire his ass!!" more than once when waking up seemingly daily to more bad news). But I assure you that by the time Engstrom pulled the trigger he knew enough about what the NCAA was looking into to consider it in his decision.

In retrospect, he clearly made the correct decision. If Pflu were still with the program, the penalties would have been far more severe. Say what you will, but the decision was the right one at the right time. And it took big balls to make it. I'd say Engstrom has handled the shit storms at UM well. Has he been perfect? Nope. But he's guided the U well through what could have been a disastrous period. Now, though, we're done with all of it and moving forward to a deep playoff run.
 
wbtfg said:
I dont this the ncaa investigation played much of a role in the firings. It was 90% caused by the jordan johnson pr nightmare.

Engstrom lucked out that the ncaa leveled a penalty to vindicate his actions.
This. :clap:
 
HighLineGRIZ said:
Both men make good points, especially in regards to the use of the word "booster" to describe a parent. I've never known Pflu and am really only an acquaintance to O'Day, but I do know that they are empathetic people who really cared about their players. That might have caused some of these "infractions", but you'll have a hard time making the argument to me that they purposely broke the rules. You can't control what boosters are going to do and you can't babysit players 24/7. 18-22 year olds are going to make mistakes, at times very selfish and harmful ones, regardless of who is in charge or how disciplined the program is.

The one thing we've learned is that their needs to be new or improved policies and procedures in our AD when it comes to reporting compliance issues and communicating potential compliance issues. When BSU had their NCAA penalty, they hired 3 additional compliance attorneys to the University Staff. I'm not sure UM does anything similar, but the NCAA findings did prove that we need improvement in that area and better communication of the rules to players, coaches, and boosters.

Maybe you should read the report, the NCAA detailed out that "representative 2" was a booster before her son was a student athlete and that the she had that relationship with the grandfather of student athlete 1 before her son was a student athlete, therefore the relationship was as a booster to family member of a student athlete rather than family member to family member
 
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