Marshall's job scheme for non-qualifiers may extend back to 1990 under former coach Jim Donnan according to a recently filed deposition. But a prominent Marshall booster disputes whether any NCAA violations occurred.
The booster, Huntington, W.Va. businessman Marshall Reynolds, said in a 90-page deposition filed on Friday that Donnan suggested to him that three to four football players per year be given jobs. Reynolds said he believed they were all non-qualifiers and giving jobs to such players would not constitute an NCAA violation.
Marshall was penalized by the NCAA in 2001, in part, for impermissible employment of non-qualifiers from 1996-2000. The earliest violations cited by the NCAA occurred six years before Donnan came to the school in 1990.
"He (Donnan) probably asked me (about jobs) his first year here," Reynolds is quoted as saying. Further, Reynolds stated that a Marshall "compliance guy" said the practice was "fine ... after we got it set up."
CBSSports.com reported Sunday that another former coach, Bob Pruett, was implicated in academic fraud and in one case was involved in a cover up of impermissible employment of non-qualifiers. The claims came from former Marshall players and a former Marshall strength coach in affidavits filed Friday by lawyers representing Marshall's former compliance director. The alleged misconduct occurred in the late 1990s and early 2000s.
Donnan coached at Marshall from 1990-95 at the then-I-AA program. Reynolds describes in the deposition how the practice of giving jobs to non-qualifiers continued when Pruett took over in 1996. In that 2001 infractions report, the NCAA stated, "This involvement preceded the tenure of the current head football coach."
Reynolds also says in the deposition that some non-athletes made the same amount of pay -- $100 per day -- as the non-qualifiers. In affidavits filed Friday, other Marshall players contend they were paid $25 per hour, $200 a day. The infractions report contends players were paid at four times the going rate.
Reynolds said that he had a longstanding practice of providing summer jobs for kids from local high schools.
"When Donnan made this request ... the only difference is you are trading white kids for black kids," Reynolds says. "None of them were very good workers. That's it."
Providing jobs to Marshall non-athletes could be a mitigating factor in determining NCAA violations. Also, since the new allegations fall outside the NCAA's four-year statute of limitations, a decision would have to be made by the association whether to start a new investigation.
When contacted by CBSSports.com on Tuesday, Reynolds said that he gave jobs to twice as many regular Marshall students as he did athletes.
"Jim Donnan and Bobby Pruett are first-class human beings and essentially have done an awful lot of things to help youngsters," Reynolds said.
Asked if he considered the jobs to non-qualifiers NCAA violations, Reynolds added, "Absolutely not."