The Norman Transcript

National Sports

July 28, 2013

Ex-Montana coach defends record after penalties

MISSOULA, Mont. — Penalties to the University of Montana football program following an investigation are the result of the NCAA being “extremely technical,” former head coach Robin Pflugrad said.

Ex-athletic director Jim O’Day said the NCAA spent so much time investigating that it had to find something wrong.

The NCAA on Friday said the school and Pflugrad failed to monitor the football program, allowing boosters to provide benefits to players, including bail money and free legal representation for two players. The NCAA also said in the results released following a yearlong investigation that other player perks provided by boosters included free meals, clothing, lodging and transportation.

The penalties, many self-imposed by the school, include a three-year probationary period, the loss of four scholarships in each of the next three seasons and vacating five wins in which ineligible players participated after receiving help with their legal problems that is not allowed under NCAA rules.

“I understand some of those scholarship losses only in the fact the NCAA has been in here 18 months and they’ve allocated a lot of resources and personnel and time to look at it,” O’Day told the Missoulian in a story on Saturday. “They absolutely had to come away with something. It’s no different than the IRS when they go in and they are red-flagged on something. They’ve got to come away with something.”

Pflugrad and O’Day were fired in March 2012 without the university giving a reason. The school was notified of the NCAA investigation in January 2012, but it was not announced until May.

Pflugrad, who is now the offensive coordinator at Weber State, is suspended from coaching during the first game of the 2013 season and faces recruiting restrictions this season. He also must attend an NCAA regional rules seminar in 2014.

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