Howard University has suspended all of its intercollegiate athletics teams for what appears to be a violation of NCAA rules. University spokeswoman Kerry-Ann Hamilton issued this statement:
It is with great regret that we have temporarily suspended intercollegiate athletic competition. This is a self-imposed action while the University conducts a review. We are working quickly to resolve this issue.
More details have emerged throughout the day about the investigation
UPDATE 3:21 p.m. Coppin State athletics spokesperson Roger McAfee tells us that he hasn’t haven’t been informed whether the school’s upcoming softball matches with Howard have been suspended. Howard lacrosse is also scheduled to play at Wesleyan next week. A rep at Wesleyan tells us, “I’m not aware that they have suspended our upcoming game.”
UPDATE 3:27 p.m. Here’s the reaction from one Howard athlete, who didn’t want to be identified speaking publicly about the situation: “This whole situation is frustrating, and it shows how things within athletics need to be reformed and fixed. Many athletes have had their eligibility taken away and that has affected many sports dramatically. This needs to serve as a learning experience for both the athletes and the department.”
UPDATE 3:44 p.m. A member of the Howard bowling team says a senior athletic administrator told the team the university is investigating problems with textbook vouchers given to athletes. According to the bowler, the university allowed athletes to spend money that they didn’t use on books on whatever they wanted, a possible violation of NCAA rules. The bowler says the university is demanding that any money spent improperly be repaid to Howard and that athletes won’t be able to register for classes until they clear up the matter.
The university, which hasn’t yet responded to requests for detailed information, has not confirmed that account.
UPDATE 4:32 p.m. An NCAA compliance officer at another school, who would only discuss the situation under condition of anonymity, tells us that while colleges expect to have some rule violations, their job is to self-police and then report to the NCAA for further recommendations, if any. The officer says Howard’s suspension suggests problems that go further than a book voucher problem with one team: “For [Howard] to self-impose complete suspension, they must not have been doing anything in compliance.”
UPDATE 4:49 p.m. A former Howard football player says he, at least, never saw any unspent book voucher money. Branden Bufford, 24, who graduated in 2011, tells City Paper the athletic department used to forward his class schedule to the university bookstore, and books would be purchased for him. But Bufford did say he’d heard some student-athletes would register for extra classes, get the books, then drop the classes and sell the books.
“It’s unfortunate that the athletes may have to miss games because of this,” he says. “I don’t know why they’re up in arms about something that happens all the time, and worse things have happened. I guess the new sports administration is trying to put their foot down early.”
The NCAA has some real fawkin’ nerve! Imposing these petty rules on the players that makes them hundreds of millions of dollars every year!More On Bossip!