CLEMSON, S.C. -- Clemson University football coach Danny Ford says the NCAA's harsh two-year sanctions for recruiting violations will not force him to change his style of finding new players for his defending national championship team.
The NCAA has placed Clemson University on a two-year probation for football recruiting violations spanning five years.
The penalty, announced by the NCAA's Committee on Infractions Monday night, prohibits the defending national champion Tigers from playing in post-season bowl games in 1982 and 1983 and from appearing on any live football telecasts during the 1983 and 1984 seasons.
The NCAA also stripped 20 grants-in-aid from the school in its future recruiting efforts.
'I'm not going to have to change my approach to recruiting,' Ford told South Carolina Network in an interview. 'I don't believe I have to worry about my honesty or my sincerity or how I recruit.'
The coach of the 10th-ranked team, however, said he accepts the blame in the same way that a president accepts responsibility for a nation going to war because of mistakes by a previous administration.
'If you go to war, you don't blame the previous president for getting in trouble. I think it's the same way,' Ford said.
He also used an analogy from the business world. 'If a company goes bankrupt, whom do you blame?' he said.
An NCAA official said the sanction on the number of scholarships was the harshest every imposed by the association.
'The (reduction of) 20 scholarships for a two-year period is stiffer than any scholarship limitation ever imposed,' NCAA Enforcement Director David Berst said in an interview from his Prairie Village, Kan., home.
'There's been encouragement, if encouragement is the right word, from coaches around the country that indicated stiffer penalties (in general) should be imposed and that one effective penalty is scholarship limit.'
Clemson President Dr. Bill Atchley planned a 2 p.m. news conference today to present 'a formal and comprehensive statement' on the charges. He also is expected to announce sanctions imposed by the Atlantic Coast Conference.
By reducing the number of scholarships Clemson can offer in the 1983-84 and 1984-85 academic years from 30 to 20 each year, it will 'offset any recruiting advantage that was gained improperly by the university,' Infractions Committee Chairman Alan Wright said from NCAA headquarters in Mission, Kan.
Berst said the scholarship limitation was used about a year ago when the University of Miami (Fla.) football program lost 10 scholarships in a one-year period.
Atchley announced last week that the 10th-ranked Tigers, 8-1-1, would not accept a post-season bowl bid. The team departed today for Tokyo where it will conclude its regular season in the Mirage Bowl against Wake Forest Saturday.
An NCAA probe of the Tigers' football program had been underway since January 1980 when two Knoxville, Tenn., high school football players said they were given $1,500 in cash and promises of other gifts to sign with Clemson.
The NCAA charges that between 1976 and 1981, a former Clemson assistant coach, two current assistant coaches and four athletic representatives violated NCAA bylaws by offering student-athletes money and gifts to play for the school.
The NCAA said prospective athletes were offered substantial amounts of cash, scholarships and favors for friends and family members, television sets, wardrobes, medical care, phone service, complimentary game tickets, meals and transportation.
The accused assistant football coaches were not named in the announcement, but the NCAA said they have been placed on probation for three-year and two-year periods. They also have been prohibited from participating in the university's summer football camps and from receiving salary increases.
The four athletic representatives have been banned from recruiting activities for at least two years.
Atchley, who came to Clemson in 1979, earlier promised there would be no coverup and said he would take any measures -- including firing Clemson employees -- to ensure the Tigers follow the rules.
After charges surfaced this fall that the NCAA was interested in the financing of quarterback Homer Jordan's car, Atchley suspended the standout signal-caller from playing in an Oct. 2 game.
Atchley announced before the game possible 'technical violations' of NCAA rules had been uncovered in the financing and purchase of Jordan's 1982 Monte Carlo.