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20 years....

Ford to Hatfield 

 - Video File Link, if you have not seen this before you should.

Jan 9 1990, Clemson reveals it is under NCAA inquiry also here

The Clemson University football program is being accused by the National Collegiate Athletic Association of more than a dozen illegal recruiting contacts and of giving players up to $150 in cash from 1984 to 1988, an N.C.A.A. report released today said.

In the most damaging recruiting allegation, the N.C.A.A. says that from November 1984 to September 1987, six coaches made 11 illegal recruiting contacts, which included meeting with four high school juniors and one sophomore. The N.C.A.A. does not allow college coaches to recruit players in person until after the players are no longer juniors.

Jan 19, 1990 from the NYT

Danny Ford, armed with a $1 million settlement from Clemson, resigned under pressure today, ending an 11-year coaching tenure that attracted national prominence and a National Collegiate Athletic Association inquiry.

''I deny any wrongdoing on my part,'' Ford said today. ''And I am confident that an impartial review of the facts will so prove.''

''We have honest differences of opinion on certain basic aspects of the football program,'' Robinson said. ''A separation under any terms would be difficult. An amicable parting is certainly less painful for all involved. That is why we felt it was in the university's best interests to agree to a fair settlement under the terms of Ford's contract and bring the matter to a close.''

While the last post was backed up by more fact, there is much more to the firing of Ford than will ever be written anywhere and factually proven to be true. Some of it shouldn't be written about. Per Ford himself, Robinson wasnt even in the room when he was let go, it was between him and President Max Lennon. The NCAA investigation was a cover and an excuse for Lennon to remove him, and a plausible one after SMU had just been demolished by the Death Penalty. 

All we know for sure is that Ford was kicked out and later 1988 recruit and top player in Louisiana, QB Michael Carr, transferred in Spring of 1990 to UTEP, and later got on dope, and quit football altogether in 1991.

How hard others in Ford's program have worked is apparently up for debate, because just before this season began the NCAA opened a preliminary inquiry into Clemson's recruiting of redshirted freshman quarterback Michael Carr from Amite. La. In August, Carr's high school coach, Gary Hendry, accused Clemson of cheating when it wooed Carr, specifically questioning how Carr, from humble environs, had obtained a Toyota Supra. Later, Carr's brother said the car was his. Carr left campus and went home briefly to Amite. When he returned to Clemson, he called Hendry a liar and said Hendry was merely bitter because the coach had wanted Carr to go to LSU. The furor has died down, but the NCAA is still investigating the program.

From SportsIllustrated dated 10-23-89, also dated August 21 1989 is another news article about Carr where he denies anything, as well as his brother.

Most of these articles require you to be a member/subscriber or to purchase the article to read the full extent, but the general idea is pretty clear.

Bobby Robinson had little to do with hiring Ken Hatfield, but that doesn't make me forgive him, you see his weaselness in the clip. His first choice for the job was probably Fisher DeBerry, instead of DC Bill Oliver or Chuck Reedy. I believe if you're going to fire the best coach in school history, you should stick to hiring from within the first time. As such, Lennon picked Hatfield, and most of us despised him from day one. The Board publicly stated in 1990 that they backed Lennon 100%. I doubt Robinson could've come to the conclusion of Hatfield within 4 days, even in the midst of recruiting season, so I lend some belief to this argument.

Even if some BOT members opposed the firing, as I'm sure some did, they are on record with this statement. They share Lennon's guilt. Robinson's weaselish comments at the time implicate him in my eyes too, no matter what any other fan or former player says. He only refused Hatfield's contract extension because IPTAY donations had fallen like a rock.

On May 31, 1990 Clemson was given a slap on the paw.

In brief, the committee found that on at least two occasions during the fall of 1985, one student-athlete in the sport of football received and distributed cash payments ranging between $50 and $70 to another student-athlete in the sport of football under circumstances that the university acknowledged as a violation and for which the university accepted responsibility. In addition, the committee found that in the spring of 1987, the same student-athlete who received the foregoing payments received an additional $50 cash payment from a representative of the university's athletics interests. Finally, the committee found several secondary violations, including: a violation concerning the length of official visits; an illegal recruiting contact by a representative of the university's athletics interests; two instances in which student hosts furnished souvenir items to recruits during official visits, and several instances of members of the athletics department staff providing impermissible local automobile transportation and, on one occasion, arranging a meal for a prospective student-athlete who was attending a session of the university's summer football camp.


The committee determined that the three instances of cash payments to an enrolled student-athlete in the sport of football constituted major violations of NCAA legislation.

Since Carr was in HS at this time, he does not appear connected in any way to the NCAA violation. However, as you'll see below, the violations occured at the Independence Bowl in 1985.

1990 Sanctions against Clemson - full document

Normally major violations would've subjected us to further punishment, but the NCAA deemed the case unique.

Three factors led the committee to find that this case was unique to some degree and to impose penalties that differed from the list of minimum penalties set forth in NCAA legislation. First, as mentioned previously, the case presented to the committee for hearing consisted of only two major violations, involving three limited cash payments to an enrolled student-athlete, together with several secondary violations that were not argued to amount to a major violation. Absolutely no evidence of any other violation was presented to the committee. The two major violations were somewhat limited in nature, and no pattern of cash payments to enrolled student-athletes was established. Secondly, the major violations that were established do not, in and of themselves, demonstrate a lack of institutional control under the circumstances found in this case and were violations that otherwise could have occurred in a program that was operating in accordance with NCAA legislation.

The Specific rules violations

A. [NCAA Bylaw]


On at least two occasions during the fall of 1985, a student-athlete received and distributed cash payments, which ranged from between $50 [Page 4] and $70, to a selected member of the university's intercollegiate football team; further, at the hearing, the university admitted that given the circumstances surrounding the payments, a violation had occurred, and the university accepted responsibility for it. Specifically, during the fall of 1985, at the time the university's intercollegiate football team was participating in the 1985 Independence Bowl football game, the student-athlete gave an undetermined amount of cash to another student-athlete in the young man's motel room in Shreveport, Louisiana; further, on one other occasion during the fall of 1985, the first student-athlete gave an undetermined amount of cash to the second student-athlete for the young man's personal use.

An enrolled student-athlete giving money to another who happens to be on the football team? Possibly related to the bowl payout or prize.

B. [NCAA Bylaw]

On one occasion in the spring of 1987, a representative of the university's athletics interests gave $50 cash to a student-athlete for his personal use. Specifically, the representative gave $50 to the young man on the university's football practice field at the conclusion of an intrasquad football scrimmage.

A booster gave money to a player.

C. [NCAA Bylaw 13.6.2]


In November 1985, following the official paid visit to the university's campus of a prospective student-athlete, the young man was permitted to use the airline ticket provided by the university to return home, even though the young man remained on the university's campus for one night after the permissible 48-hour period.

D. [NCAA Bylaws and]


During the summer of 1987, a representative of the university's athletics interests (booster) personally contacted a prospective student-athlete off campus for recruiting purposes at the young man's home during a period in which an in-person recruiting contact was not permissible.


There is no record I can find of who this booster might be, or which player is involved. It could possibly be Carr. The 1985 violation could not have been Carr.

The rest of the violations are secondary to my knowledge, and involve things like gifts of hats or apparel to recruits from assistant football coaches, or a ride to the airport, or a cheap meal. These things continue even today and are self-reported.

Ford's staff was fully cleared in 1990 of wrongdoing, as they had to be at the time to attain another NCAA job within 5 years. Why do you think Danny was able to even be hired at Arkansas?

Max Lennon was forced to resign in the February of 1994, when the faculty finally became fed up with his policy of hiring more and more administrators and giving them much bigger raises than faculty members were getting. It was the Faculty Senate President at Clemson who persuaded the Senate to call off a resolution of no confidence, then upped the ante by telling President Lennon that he would call a General Faculty meeting to consider the no-confidence resolution if Lennon did not resign. A major rumor about why Lennon was let go has to deal with his "cooking the books," there may be some truth to this, but we may never know. Lennon eventually ended up at Mars Hill.

Rumors say Danny was asked by a few Board members in 1999 to take it after Tommy West was fired, and told what he had to do to get it back. They've (people like Joe Cobb, or Scott Rhymer) heard the words from Ford himself. I never asked the man to find out when I had breakfast with him to confirm or deny any of this, because I figured it was best to let it be and he'd be tired of such talk by now. Some say Robinson tried in vain to get him back. The public proclamation of doing it for free, before Bowden was hired, was part of that. Then quickly, in secret, they held a meeting whose outcome was the statement that "the new coach cannot have been investigated by the NCAA."

They stabbed him in the back again. It was the members of the BOT, who had the final say, who were also still in Lennon's corner (though he was fired in '94) over the ordeal, who stabbed the man in the back. Still, they were scared of this man and what he could do with the support of the Clemson fanbase. What other reason is there?

Had this not happened in '99, Danny Ford would be back in some capacity for Clemson right now. If the University is going to allow Dabo Swinney to create support staff positions, then why don't they get their act together and give Danny Ford something? Its time to heal those wounds.

Frank Howard was an "Ambassador" for Clemson from the time he retired until the day he died, and Coach Ford's legacy will live longer than any administrator we've had in the last 75 years, the man deserves to be acknowledged.

There would be nothing better for me than to see Coach Ford rolling around campus on a golf cart shaking hands in his muddy high-water jeans.

Make it happen Dabo.

Danny Ford Retirement Banquet - Rodney Williams

Danny Ford Retirement Banquet speech