Three more coaches with ties to Barton County are indicted

Friday, December 16, 2005

Former basketball coach Cross faces charges related to assisting former Missouri guard Clemons.

WICHITA, Kan. -- The athletic director at Barton County Community College as well as former men's basketball and track coaches are the latest people indicted as part of an investigation into the school's athletic program.

Federal jurors returned the indictments Wednesday -- two days after another former men's basketball coach, Ryan Wolf, pleaded guilty to helping student athletes get federal money they weren't entitled to receive and to sending a falsified transcript to another school for one of his players.

Two other coaches previously pleaded guilty in the scheme.

"I'm sad to hear it," said J.B. Webster, the president of the junior college's board of trustees. "I wonder when it's going to stop."

Named in the most recent indictments were athletic director Neil Elliott, former basketball coach Ryan Cross and former track coach Lance Brauman.

Elliott, 41, is charged with one count each of conspiracy to commit theft of federal funds and embezzlement from student assistance programs; theft of federal funds; and embezzlement from student assistance programs.

The indictment alleges that Elliott conspired with others and aided in the preparation of falsified federal work-study timecards.

And even though former president Veldon Law instructed Elliott in 2002 to implement a policy to correctly verify the number of hours worked by athletes enrolled in the program, the indictment claims that students continued to receive payment for work they never did. Law was fired in July because of the controversy.

Elliott's attorney, Robin Fowler, said his client is not guilty.

"We'll defend ourselves against these charges in court. And comments about anything else in the matter, we'll make in court," Fowler said.

Cross and Brauman did not return messages left Thursday at their offices by The Associated Press.

Cross, 32, faces two counts of wire fraud. Now an assistant coach at Louisiana Tech, Cross was head basketball coach at Barton County during the 1998-99 academic year.

Cross is accused of sending Wolf a fax on June 27, 2002, containing course materials that could be used to obtain college credit for Ricky Clemons. Wolf led the Barton County team from 1999 to 2003.

Clemons, a former Missouri player, didn't graduate from Barton College but received 12 hours of credit in one summer from the college in 2002.

The indictment also alleges that Cross sent a fax of the college transcript of a player at Chipola Junior College in Florida to Wolf for the purpose of fraudulently obtaining college credit for the student. Cross coached at Chipola after leaving Barton County.

Brauman, 35, now an assistant track coach at the University of Arkansas, is charged with one count each of making a false material declaration to a grand jury; embezzlement from student assistance programs; and theft from programs receiving federal funds.

The indictment alleges that Brauman prepared fraudulent time sheets and knowingly misled a grand jury on Sept. 21, 2004, when he said student athletes he coached at Barton County were paid only for work they performed.

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