POCATELLO, Idaho (AP) — Officials at Idaho State University are severing ties with an athletics booster accused of offering money to potential basketball recruits and their coaches, an eastern Idaho newspaper reported in story Sunday.
The Idaho State Journal obtained a letter the university sent to Matt Jolley notifying him that he was banned from attending any events, games, fundraisers or activities held by the university, the newspaper reported (http://bit.ly/vqRARX) it.
The university also told Jolley an internal investigation determined he had violated NCAA rules, according to the letter dated April 27. The letter was signed by the university's associate general counsel, Darlene Gerry, who didn't return phone calls from the newspaper.
The university's athletic director, Jeff Tingey, declined to comment.
Jolley, who owns an insulation company in Pocatello, issued a statement saying he was deeply saddened by the decision
"For the past 15 years I have passionately followed ISU athletics," Jolley said. "I feel that my disassociation from ISU athletics is both unfair and unwarranted."
Any mistakes on his part were unintentional, Jolley said.
The newspaper reported in June that an NCAA investigation was prompted, at least in part, by a letter written by a former interim men's basketball coach warning of a booster willing to pay quality basketball players money to get them to the school.
That former interim coach, Deane Martin, sent the letter on March 6, a day after he was told he didn't get picked as the permanent men's basketball coach.
In his letter, Martin told Tingey that a booster told him "in the presence of another witness, that he wanted to insure that ISU got the best recruit we could, and he offered his support." Specifically, Martin said, the booster indicated that if it took a "money handshake" from him to a coach or a recruit, to seal the deal, he was happy to do that.
Martin also wrote that the booster "has personally involved himself with the families of potential recruits, and made similar offers to them. He also has made those offers to junior college coaches, that it would be in their best financial interest to steer their players to Idaho State University."
Tingey said he would forward the statements onto university attorneys for their involvement and alert the NCAA, which started its own investigation. Tingey has said the NCAA investigation extends beyond just the men's basketball team, with investigators trying to determine which teams, if any, might have violated rules.
Jolley was a friend of Tingey's and a member of the search committee tasked this past winter with finding a new head coach for the ISU men's basketball team. Former head coach Joe O'Brien said that Jolley traveled with the team to away games and would come to practice from time to time.
The university told Jolley that as a result of the internal investigation, any relationship he had with the university's sports programs will have to end.
"As a result, effective immediately, Idaho State University athletics must disassociate itself from you until further notice," the letter said. "We ask that you not have any contact with the ISU athletic department, its coaching staff, athletes, and its recruits."