Why would Wolf work to get Clemons eligible when Clemons never had any intention of playing for Barton? "The only reason for [Wolf] to be doing those things is that it helps him further his career because he is doing someone a favor," says Randy Henry, the lawyer who led Barton's internal investigation of Wolf.
Wolf allegedly orchestrated a similar cascade of credits for point guard Randy Pulley. Pulley came to Barton in the summer of 2002 after a year at Saint Louis University, where he had amassed 21 credits but had a 1.0 GPA. He got A's in all three courses (Weight Training, Elementary Physical Education and Psychology of Sport) he took at Barton that summer despite spending no more than four days on campus, according to the indictment. He played the '02-03 season for Wolf, then followed Clemons to Missouri, leaving Barton with 70 credits and a 2.32 GPA.
In June 2003 Wolf landed a Division I job. A Barton athletic department employee stumbled upon a news release posted on the Murray State website. It announced that Wolf had joined the staff of new coach Mick Cronin. Wolf hadn't told anyone at Barton--not his assistants, not his players, not his boss--that he was leaving. Wolf's time at the Division I level was brief. With the federal indictment looming, he resigned after one season. But it is still worth following the trail that ends at Murray State. Cronin was the associate coach at Louisville when Barton center Nouha Diakite committed there in 2002. Earlier, Cronin was the recruiting coordinator at Cincinnati when that staff landed power forward Jamaal Davis, another of Wolf's players. ( Cronin did not respond to SI's requests for comment.)
"The truth is, the four-year guys prostitute the junior college coaches," says Campbell, who worked as an assistant at Duke, Tulane, Clemson and Nebraska. "That's not a good word to use, but that is what is going on."
When veldon law talks about Barton's former coach, he refers to him only as "Wolf." It's fitting because Law and others at Barton portray themselves as lambs. "There was a betrayed trust," Law says.
There were abundant signs, however, that Wolf's program was out of control. During three months in '02, one Barton player broke a teammate's jaw at practice; another was suspended for spitting at an opponent; and after a home loss to Seward County C.C., four Barton players went to the parking lot, where one opened a door to Seward's bus and punched a player. Barton instituted a drug-testing program, but only after Campbell arrived and voiced concern.
Law, whose father, Vernon, won the 1960 Cy Young Award while pitching for the Pittsburgh Pirates, has a portrait of his hero, Roberto Clemente, hanging behind his desk. "I believe in sportsmanship and honest, fair play," Law says, "not only in athletics, but in one's dealings in life." Law has made some changes at Barton. Coaches and their assistants no longer can teach courses taken by their athletes. Nor can they be academic advisers to their players or supervise their employment. Still, many of these practices are permitted throughout the conference. Law wonders if any amount of prohibition can clean up the Jayhawk. "Is this just how J.C. basketball is?" he asks.
He may already have his answer.
Less than a month after Campbell was hired to succeed Wolf, he paid $564 to a friend in Atlanta to house J.P. Batista, a Brazilian forward Campbell had recruited and who is now at Gonzaga. Batista needed a place to stay until he could get into Barton's dorms. But what does it say when the coach charged with cleaning up the program, a coach who was inducted into the NJCAA Hall of Fame the spring before he came to Barton, commits a major rules violation (for which the school suspended itself from the postseason and forfeited a scholarship) in his first month on the job?
It says that in the Jayhawk, the Wild West of juco basketball, there may be a little bit of Wolf in everyone. ?