The NCAA on Thursday placed Arizona State’s athletic department on two years probation for improper financial aid and lack of institutional control after an investigation involving former football player Loren Wade.
The penalty — which, for the most part, echoed a Pacific-10 Conference punishment levied in June — does not result in lost scholarships, television games or postseason appearances.
"This is a probation for the university, not a specific athletic program," said Virgil Renzulli, ASU vice president of public affairs. "The teams and coaches will be able to continue functioning as they have been. And this was for violations that we turned ourselves in for."
A lengthy investigation was launched in September 2004 after the school reported infractions involving Wade and a former compliance assistant. Wendy Adams illegally arranged excessive financial-aid awards for Wade, gave him use of her car and arranged for his utilities to be opened in her name (saving Wade a $200 deposit), among other violations.
Adams was fired and Wade later dismissed from the team after his involvement in the March 26 shooting death of former ASU football player Brandon Falkner at a Scottsdale nightclub.
"This was a serious matter," said Gene Marsh, the NCAA Division I committee on infractions chairman. "The compliance assistant violated the very rules she was to be enforcing with purposeful and deliberate actions."
During the investigation, ASU discovered that 61 other athletes received too much financial aid from 2002-04. That led to the lack of institutional control finding by the NCAA.
The excessive disbursements — ranging from $4 to $833 — were a result of an inadequate computer system which did not properly calculate financial aid in the wake of tuition and fee increases, the school said.
"We’ve made the adjustments necessary, whether in system, personnel or organizational structure," Renzulli said. "We’re determined to not have a situation like this happen again."
DUE FOR A WIN?
Bill Clinton was still president the last time ASU won a Pac-10 game in California, beating USC on Nov. 6, 1999. The Sun Devils have lost 11 straight league contests in the Golden State.
The Sun Devils visit UCLA on Saturday.
"We’ve talked about it, how nobody on the team has won from California," said wide receiver Derek Hagan, a senior from Palmdale, Calif. "This is my final year, and I would love to get a victory in the Rose Bowl."
Koetter said he can understand the magic behind UCLA’s amazing late-game rallies earlier this season because former quarterback Andrew Walter delivered similar heroics for ASU.
Last year, Walter guided the Sun Devils to late comeback victories against UCLA and Stanford.
"Teams in general, especially teams with an experienced quarterback that makes plays, feel like they are never out of a game," Koetter said. "I know we felt like that with Andrew, and I figure that (Bruins QB Drew) Olson is the same way."
When asked if the Sun Devils’ injury situation has improved, Koetter said, "It’s a mixed bag. There are more." The coach would not elaborate, saying he does not want to tip off UCLA.