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VALLEY / VENTURA COUNTY SPORTS

NCAA Sets Hearing for Northridge Case

College football: Officials will meet April 14 with university administrators, when penalties could be handed down.

March 21, 2000|VINCE KOWALICK | TIMES STAFF WRITER

NCAA officials will meet with Cal State Northridge administrators April 14 in Indianapolis to decide sanctions against the Northridge football program in the aftermath of an internal investigation that led to the firing last summer of Coach Ron Ponciano.

The NCAA declined comment on the hearing but could impose stricter sanctions than the self-imposed penalties in the university's 130-page report released last July.

The report suggested two years' probation for the program, as well as a reduction in scholarships from 63 to 61 for the 2000-01 season.

Ponciano, an assistant at Valley College, declined comment, other than to reiterate a long-standing denial of serious wrongdoing. Ponciano filed a claim against Northridge in January seeking unspecified damages.

"The truth is going to come out, I will tell you that," Ponciano said. "I wish it was over so I could tell you everything about it. But because of the process, I'm not supposed to talk. I'm looking forward to it being closed, though."

Scott Campbell, Ponciano's attorney, said a letter of inquiry sent to him from the NCAA regarding the Northridge report alleges lack of institutional control by the university.

"It is our position that most of these ills are caused by a chronic lack of staffing at Northridge," Campbell said. "They have big turnover and a lot of young people working. They simply don't have the horsepower to be a Division I school."

Jeff Kearin replaced Ponciano, who was fired after a two-month internal investigation revealed numerous alleged rules violations, including filing fraudulent expense reports and holding illegal barbecues for players.

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