Work in Sports
Nebraska QB Crouch resolves issue of free trip, lunch
Posted: Wednesday June 07, 2000 03:06 PM
LINCOLN, Neb. (AP) -- Eric Crouch is back on the Nebraska football team after paying for a plane ride and ham sandwich he recently received that raised some questions with the NCAA.
The team's starting quarterback was temporarily suspended from the team after the university learned he had not paid for the ride and sandwich, which is not permitted under NCAA rules.
Nebraska director of compliance Bob Burton said Crouch's seemingly innocent mistake was quickly rectified when the quarterback recently wrote a check to charity for the amount of $22.77.
With the NCAA's clearance, Crouch was reinstated on the team Tuesday.
"He did not intend to break the rule about extra benefits," Burton told the Lincoln Journal Star. "He has made restitution and the issue is resolved."
The NCAA called the university about two weeks ago asking if it knew Crouch participated in a campaign trip for NU Board of Regents candidate Jay Matzke, and that Crouch possibly received extra benefits not allowed under NCAA rules. Nebraska investigated the incident and reported to the NCAA that Crouch flew with Matzke on a private plane to Seward, Beatrice, Hastings and York in early May. Crouch also received a ham sandwich at the home of a friend of Matzke's in Hastings.
The value of the flight was set at $67 for fuel and oil. Because of federal rules, the pilot was not allowed to charge beyond fuel, oil and landing fees. The NCAA determined that Crouch owed $18.77 for the trip. He also had to cover the sandwich's cost, set at $4.
"Since Eric had asked us about the campaign before he left and since the NCAA said there was no problem as long as he did not represent the university, the whole incident was seen as very innocent," Burton said. "We had to self-report and, technically, suspend Crouch until the NCAA ruled otherwise."
Crouch was unavailable for comment. Burton said he did not know who originally called the NCAA, which does not forward that information.
Matzke, a Seward physician and Crouch's friend, said he was relieved that Crouch was cleared.
"It got to the point where my kids and my friends were making ham sandwich jokes all the time," Matzke said.