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Though he was aghast at what he'd engineered, Locke felt powerless to stop. "Sneaking Bo Hawkins into Clemson was the worst thing I had ever allowed myself to be party to in my years of college coaching," admits Locke in the book. But the thrill of taking the short road up outweighed any ethical concerns. In his book Locke describes the sensation as being like the real-life opening of Pandora's box, a sinister high akin to drug addiction: "After you get the one kid, you want two. Then you get the second prospect and you want another...and another. It snowballs. By then you've lost control."
Locke states—and a former assistant confirms—that the second academic trick involved Jeff Reisinger, a 6'6" junior college All America. Locke says that in 1973 a Clemson coed agreed to take a correspondence course for Reisinger to help him get in to Clemson. Though Reisinger may not have been aware of all the clandestine help he received, Clemson Assistant Coach Bill Clendinen was. "The basketball staff was responsible for getting that grade," admits Clendinen, now a coach at Winter Park (Fla.) High School. "There were efforts to get Jeff academically eligible; the grade received in that correspondence course was not the work of Jeff Reisinger."
Locke found plenty of other ways to cheat. Another illegal recruit was Wayne Croft, a 6'9" 220-pounder who many people felt was the best high school prospect in South Carolina in 1971. Locke started off by paying Croft's way to the Clemson basketball camp the summer before, a direct violation of NCAA rules. Locke also enlisted Alvin Cooler, a fellow student at Croft's high school, to keep him informed about the player's activity. Nothing illegal there, just smart recruiting.
"We learned early that enticing Croft wasn't going to be an easy job," writes Locke. "A couple dozen schools were sending him groceries, turkeys and other foods. I finally saw we had two choices: Either go in there and do the job illegally or get the hell out and forget about Wayne Croft. There could be no in-between. I told members of the Clemson alumni the Croft family needed help. They agreed with me."
Locke or some Clemson representative began flying to Croft's hometown regularly to talk up the Clemson deal with the youth. At one point Freshman Coach Cliff Malpass took Cooler, Croft and his father on a fishing trip to hide Croft from other recruiters. When Croft finally agreed to attend Clemson, Locke says he was so thrilled he gave Cooler a scholarship to the school as manager of the basketball team.
Today Croft admits he was given "extra spending money" and other favors while at Clemson but says the emotional trade-off involved may not have been worth it. "I'm a little disappointed that somebody at Clemson didn't take charge and clean things up," he says. "I'm not saying we players weren't mature enough to know right from wrong, but we were 18 or 19, and people in the athletic department still had the power to control us."
As Locke continued to cheat, pride at Clemson continued to grow. Locke says that Clemson President Robert C. Edwards sometimes came into the locker room before games to psych up the players. After one big Clemson home victory, Locke looked into the stands and was startled by what he saw. "There was President Edwards, along with the athletic director, Bill McLellan, and a bunch of other administrators, dancing in the aisles," Locke writes.
Clemson's increasing success wasn't entirely a result of Locke's cheating. He had others cheating for him. He knew the importance of having alumni assist him in working illegal "programs" on blue-chip players. One of the most effective of Locke's recruiters at the time was a former Clemson football player by the name of B.C. Inabinet.
Inabinet is a drawling, outspoken, huge man—6'8" tall, 345 pounds—and wealthy enough to make his opinions count around Clemson. He owns Defender Industries of Columbia, S.C., an industrial maintenance company which, according to Inabinet, employs 7,000 people in 28 states. Proud of both his financial and physical stature, Inabinet has joked, "How can you forget a man like me? I went to a Ku Klux Klan rally and a man said, 'I don't know who anybody is under those sheets, but there's ol' B.C. over there!' "
Inabinet used to arrive at Clemson home football games in a custom-built bus equipped with leather and teak bars, a TV set, stereo equipment and a P.A. system. In the back of the bus was a large seat, a "throne," where Inabinet would sit and preside over the festivities, speaking to his entourage through a microphone. Though Inabinet was one of three Clemson boosters ordered by the NCAA in 1975 to disassociate themselves from university recruiting programs, he says he is still "Clemson's official worldwide ambassador appointed by the president of the university."