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Two players accused of academic fraud

The Associated Press
Tuesday February 27, 2001


The University of California, Berkeley, concluded an academic fraud investigation Monday by reporting that two student football players were given credit for work they did not do. 

The school told the Pacific-10 Conference that the two students should not have been allowed to play during the 1999 season because they enrolled retroactively in a class in which they did no work. 

The university recommended to the conference that as punishment it lose four football  

scholarships for the next two years and a two-year probation period. 

The investigation found none on the coaching or athletic program staff was involved – the school said head football coach Tom Holmoe told officials he thought the credit might not be deserved. 

“I’m gratified that the report shows it to be an isolated case and that our staff played no role in the improprieties,” Holmoe said in a statement Monday. “There is some pain we’ll feel in the proposed sanctions, but it’s not going to undermine our goal to achieve major success over the next few seasons.” 

UC Berkeley spokesman Matthew Lyon would not name the two students or professor involved, citing confidentiality concerns. The San Francisco Chronicle said wide receivers Michael Ainsworth and Ronnie Davenport, and Chicano Studies professor Alex Saragoza were involved in the case. 

Lyon said neither of the students is at the school now. He was not sure if they had graduated. The Academic Senate is examining the professor’s conduct and will decide what to do. 

The university’s investigation began after an anonymous letter to the conference. The school concluded its first investigation in January 2000, but the Pac-10 said it still had cause for concern. 

The university then hired independent investigator Michael Glazier of the Kansas law firm Bond, Schoeneck & King. He found the initial investigation was incomplete. 

The Pac-10 will recommend any sanctions in June to the NCAA, and the NCAA will make a final decision. The conference does not need to follow the university’s recommendation, and the NCAA doesn’t need to follow the conference’s recommendation. 

“Though an isolated incident of academic impropriety, its seriousness must be acknowledged in order for us to restore Berkeley’s integrity,” Chancellor Robert Berdahl said in a statement.