Court documents filed Friday portray former Marshall coach Bobby Pruett as having direct involvement in academic fraud and overpayment of athletes working while at the school.
Affidavits filed as part of an ongoing lawsuit by former Marshall compliance director David Ripdath tie Pruett to violations that Marshall was penalized for in 2001. Pruett was not named in the original NCAA infractions report.
Ridpath originally sued Pruett and Marshall administrators in 2002 after he was reassigned from his compliance job to director of judicial affairs three months before the NCAA penalties were handed down. Ridpath disputes that the reassignment was listed as a "corrective action" by Marshall in the NCAA case.
The defendants are seeking summary judgment of the lawsuit. The affidavits emerged after Ridpath's lawyers filed a resistance to summary judgment last week in West Virginia federal court.
Pruett, now the defensive coordinator at Virginia, could not immediately be reached for comment.
Mike Jenkins, a former Marshall flexibility coach, says in his affidavit "Coach Pruett assured the staff that certain football athletes ... would be eligible for the Fall 2000 season because 'they were guaranteed to get A's ...' "
Jenkins is now on the strength staff at Memphis.
Former Marshall player Sam Goines said that in order to keep his eligibility he was told by Pruett to sign a statement saying he made $12.50 per hour at a local Huntington, W.Va., printing company. Goines stated that he, in fact, made $25 "$200 per 8-hour day."
"We were instructed by the coaching staff ... that we should not talk about the job(s) or tell anyone about the job and keep it in the football family," Goines stated.
At issue, now, is whether the NCAA chooses to open a case after its statute of limitations has expired. The NCAA Manual states that a notice of allegations shall be limited to possible violations occurring "not four years before the notice of inquiry is forwarded ... "
The NCAA penalized Marshall for infractions that occurred from approximately 1996 to 2000.
The NCAA states the following are not subject to the four-year limitation: Information that indicates "a pattern of willful violations ..." or "a blatant disregard for" NCAA rules and "an effort to conceal the occurrence of the violation."
The NCAA has gone back into several cases after the statute had expired. One notable case included Jim Tressel's Youngstown State program in the 1990s. However, a veteran college athletic administrator familiar with the Ridpath lawsuit and the NCAA process said it is "not likely" the NCAA would come back in on Pruett.
Marshall was put on probation for four years in 2001, charged with impermissible employment of academic non-qualifiers, academic fraud and lack of institutional control. Scholarships were reduced in football and basketball after it was determined that the non-qualifiers were being employed off campus at four times the normal rate. Pruett retired at Marshall in 2005 after posting a 94-23 record. He was named the Cavaliers defensive coordinator in February.
Ridpath is currently an associate athletic director at Ohio University. He is seeking financial damages from Marshall and Pruett. Ridpath says he was on track to become an athletic director before the transfer of jobs. The damages, if they ever come, could be calculated from the amount of income he lost by not becoming an athletic director.