While on a recruiting trip to Gainesville, offensive line prospect Jason Respert of Warner Robins, Ga., is arrested and charged with burglary and attempted sexual battery for an incident that occurred after he'd been drinking in a bar with a fellow recruit and a Gators player. Respert pleads to lesser charges of criminal trespassing and simple battery. He's now a junior at Tennessee.
The NCAA bans the Crimson Tide from postseason play for two years for violations that include players inviting strippers on campus to entertain visiting high school recruits from 1997 to '99.
During his recruiting visit to Eugene, blue-chip running back Lynell Hamilton of Stockton, Calif., is taken to parties where, he says, he's offered alcohol, marijuana and sex. Hamilton is turned off by the experience, telling the Stockton Record, " Oregon was my number one choice, but they blew it for both of us." He signs with San Diego State and rushes for 1,087 yards as a freshman in 2003.
Several Gophers players take top offensive line recruit Lydon Murtha of Hutchinson, Minn., to a strip club during a December campus visit. Murtha later rescinds his verbal commitment to Minnesota and signs with Nebraska, though he tells the Minneapolis Star-Tribune that the club visit had nothing to do with his decision. Other 2004 recruits later say that they too were taken to the establishment on their visits and supplied with alcohol. The university is investigating the charges.
Provo, Utah, police probe allegations that a sex crime occurred at a late-night party for Cougars recruits in January at a house shared by three football players. Investigators find no basis for criminal charges but turn up evidence of other recent football parties that included sexual advances and alcohol. Consuming alcohol and engaging in nonmarital or extramarital sex violate the school's honor code, and university officials are investigating.
2004 COLORADO STATE AND OTHERS
Steve Lower, owner of Denver-based Hardbodies Entertainment, tells the Rocky Mountain News that his company, which has branches in Houston and Las Vegas, has sent strippers to entertain recruits at parties at Colorado State, Houston, Northern Colorado, Rice and UNLV, in addition to Colorado. Officials at all the schools involved deny knowledge of such activity. Says Rice president Malcolm Gillis in a university statement, "I can't believe any of our athletes are that stupid."