Thursday, April 17, 2008
Former Lobo assistants identified in NCAA case
ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. -- Former New Mexico assistants Lenny Rodriguez and Grady Stretz have been implicated in an academic fraud investigation, The Associated Press has learned, and both are expected to attend a NCAA infractions committee hearing Friday.
The hearing is in Indianapolis, where New Mexico athletic director Paul Krebs will lead a five-member university delegation that includes president David Schmidly and head coach Rocky Long.
Three people involved in the case confirmed the involvement of Rodriguez and Stretz in the investigation to the AP. Each spoke on condition of anonymity because the case is ongoing.
It wasn't immediately known what either former assistant will tell the committee. Neither Rodriguez nor Stretz returned telephone messages seeking comment Thursday.
Rodriguez and Stretz are accused of helping four prospective student-athletes and one student-athlete already enrolled at New Mexico improperly obtain credits through correspondence courses at Fresno Pacific University.
Rodriguez, who coached at New Mexico from 1998-2006, is now an assistant at Mount San Antonio College in suburban Los Angeles. Stretz, at New Mexico from 1998-2005, coaches Arizona State's defensive line.
New Mexico faces three rules violations in the case.
After receiving notice of the NCAA allegations, New Mexico conducted an internal investigation. It confirmed NCAA charges of impermissible registration assistance and helping the student athletes obtain academic credits without completing required coursework.
No current players are tied to the investigation, which dates from the spring of 2004 and fall of 2005, and only two of the five played for the Lobos.
New Mexico self-imposed penalties on the three counts, including two years' probation, the reduction of two scholarships for next season and cutting the number of coaches who can make off-campus visits over the next two seasons.
Earlier this week, Krebs declined to say if he believes committee members will accept New Mexico's actions. The committee can impose additional penalties if members determine they are warranted.
"We'll just go through it and make our presentation," Krebs said.
The committee is expected to announce its findings in six to eight weeks.