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The resignation under fire of football coach Galen Hall on Oct. 8 didn't end the troubles at the University of Florida. The NCAA said last week that it has been looking into the Gator athletic department since June and may not complete its probe until 1990.
Florida has been hit by a series of damaging revelations. Last year former Gator athletes were linked to drug use by a federal grand jury investigating a cocaine ring; testimony in that case alleged that basketball coach Norm Sloan paid players, a charge Sloan has denied. In May four sports agents were indicted for allegedly paying former Gator football and basketball players. The agents pleaded guilty to reduced charges, but not before their lawyers portrayed Florida athletics as a morass of rules violations.
The NCAA may decide to shut down the Gator football and/or basketball programs for one or two years. Under NCAA rules, any school found to have committed major rules violations in its programs twice during a five-year period automatically qualifies for this so-called death penalty. Florida football was slapped with three years' probation in January 1985 for violations that included improper recruiting activities and payments to players. The NCAA has the power to apply the death penalty even if the five-year cutoff has passed.
Hall has admitted to at least two NCAA violations: directing a graduate assistant to drive defensive back Jarvis Williams to an unnamed city in January of '87 to face charges of nonpayment of child support, and paying two Gator assistant coaches $22,000 from his own pocket in 1986-88. An NCAA rule stipulates that only the school can pay an athletic-department employee. "In the easiest example to understand, it prevents one booster downtown from running a program," said NCAA assistant executive director David Berst. "But the same thing applies in the case of a head football coach making payments to his staff members.... [By doing so] he would determine policies and create loyalties rather than the institution."
At 6'10" and 420 pounds, 17-year-old lineman Chris Perry of Covington (La.) High makes Refrigerator Perry, who is no relation, look like an ice bucket. Chris wears a size 19 shoe, a size 8? helmet and double-extra-large pants. This season he has toiled mightily to improve his fitness, paring his mile-run time from 25 minutes to 9:30 and doubling his bench press to 300 pounds. "Nobody on our team has better work habits," says Fighting Lions coach Jack Salter. "If we run up the stadium steps 10 times, it might take him longer, but he won't miss a step."
Chris, a senior, plays part time in the offensive line and at nosetackle. He has shown more interest in football than did his older brother, 6'7", 350-pound Ronald, who played sparingly and then quit the Fighting Lions before graduating in 1988. But the most promising Perry won't be eligible to suit up for Covington until next year. Adam, a 6'2", 270-pound ninth-grader, has more conventional dimensions for the game—at least for now.