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Actually, the horse ran almost too well. The FBI had intentionally selected an undistinguished thoroughbred who wouldn't draw much attention and might attract someone looking to set up a fix. But according to bureau officials, the undercover horse finished in the money in about half of its races and on at least one occasion came home first. "When we started winning, it kind of got us a little nervous," says Langford.
For whatever reason, the horse didn't attract any fixers. However, the agent-owner did come upon information about an alleged fixing incident; as a result, a jockey, two trainers and the former wife of one of the trainers will go on trial next month on charges of wire fraud and conspiracy to fix a race.
A 5-year-old mare named Zachregard seems to fit the description of the unidentified equine agent, but the bureau says only that its horse has been retired from FBI duty and sold. Says special agent Dale Anderson, "We wish him [sic] well. He served as a real good representative of the bureau."
DON'T CALL ME, I'LL CALL YOU
These days most schools under NCAA investigation almost reflexively get rid of coaches or athletic officials who might be implicated in wrongdoing. That's because such housecleaning can lead to lighter NCAA sanctions.
But according to NCAA director of enforcement Chuck Smrt, the mildness of the sanctions imposed on Clemson's football program last week—a year's probation, with no ban on postseason or television appearances—was not Clemson's reward for forcing coach Danny Ford to resign in January. The penalties were minor because Clemson cooperated with investigators and because the NCAA found no pattern of rule breaking (the only significant violations were that in 1985 a player took cash from an undetermined source and distributed it to a teammate and that in 1987 a booster gave that second player $50).
Ford was not even mentioned in the NCAA report, raising the question once again of why Clemson squeezed him out, given his popularity among Tiger fans and his 96-29-4 record. The answer is that even if he didn't personally violate rules, Ford placed athletics ahead of education and felt that he, not Clemson president Max Lennon or athletic director Bobby Robinson, should have the power to determine what was best for the Tiger football program (SCORECARD, Jan. 29). No respectable university can tolerate a coach who thinks he's above the school president.
That's not to say that another school won't hire Ford. Under Ford's buyout agreement, Clemson will pay him until at least 1992 if he doesn't accept another college head coaching job, and he could take home $1 million from the deal. Yet after the NCAA report came out last week, Ford, saying that his name had been cleared, declared, "If there is a school out there looking for a good head coach, I'm available."