Free and clear
NCAA finds no evidence against Vols in Tee Martin casePosted: Wednesday January 08, 2003 8:11 PM
KNOXVILLE, Tenn. (AP) -- The NCAA has found no evidence of violations involving payments former Tennessee quarterback Tee Martin received from an Alabama sportswriter in 1999.
The NCAA also accepted Tennessee's self-imposed penalties for recruiting infractions related to former player Eric Locke. The university will give up two football scholarships in the upcoming signing period and has banned two boosters from contributing to the athletic department for three years.
The university and the Southeastern Conference looked into possible infractions after sportswriter Wayne Rowe told The Mobile Register last May that he wired $4,500 to Martin on behalf of insurance agent Dianne Sanford in February 1999.
The investigation took so long to close because of the change in commissioners at the SEC.
"This incident has been put to rest from an investigative process and from a process of judgment on that previous investigation," athletic director Doug Dickey said Wednesday. "It has been a long time. A lot of people have spent a lot of time on this."
Rowe told SEC investigators he cashed two checks from Sanford and sent them to Martin. Sanford told Rowe that Martin needed money to repair his car, Rowe said.
The NCAA enforcement staff found that neither Rowe nor Sanford were considered boosters at the time, and no one considered a booster was involved. The only violations that could have occurred would have involved NCAA amateurism bylaws, which would not affect the university.
Dickey said last May that the university investigated the case in 1999 and found no improprieties.
At issue was whether Sanford would be considered a booster. She has said she's been to several Tennessee games, but does not hold season tickets and did not attend the school.
Sanford said she met Martin when he was in high school and remains friends with his mother, Marie Martin. Sanford employed Marie Martin as a housekeeper.
Dickey said the university never thought she was a booster.
"This has been our position," Dickey said. "At no time did we feel like we had information that changed."
Dickey said he tried to contact Martin on Tuesday but was unsuccessful. Martin led Tennessee to the 1998 national championship.
"I'm delighted our program again has validated itself from a credibility standpoint," coach Phillip Fulmer said. "We will continue to do the things necessary to make sure we follow the rules and regulations of the NCAA and SEC."
In the Locke case, Fulmer was admonished for meeting with Locke's father even though the player was not released from his scholarship at Alabama.
Locke's father, Juicy, contacted two boosters to help his son find a summer job.
Locke was expelled from the university in 2001 for stealing a teammate's ATM card and withdrawing $2,400.