Sentencing postponed for Barton coach

Tuesday, February 28, 2006

WICHITA, Kan. -- Sentencing for former Barton County Community College basketball coach Ryan Wolf has been postponed until May 1 to give him time to testify against his colleagues in a widespread investigation into financial aid for athletes.

Wolf's indictment in December 2004 was the first in a scandal that has resulted in charges against seven coaches and the athletic director and led to the firing of its president at the beleaguered central Kansas college.

Coaches have been accused of getting athletes grants they were not qualified to receive and campus jobs that paid them for work they did not perform; of helping athletes with correspondence courses and tests; and of sending false academic credentials to other schools on the athletes' behalf.

Wolf and two fellow coaches pleaded guilty in federal court in exchange for reduced charges and their cooperation with prosecutors in the investigation. Former assistant basketball coach Matt Skillman and former head coach David Campbell both received probation at their separate sentencing hearings.

In December, Wolf pleaded guilty to one count of embezzlement from a student assistance program, two counts of theft of federal funds and one count of mail fraud. He had been scheduled to be sentenced Feb. 21 before U.S. District Judge Wesley Brown.

In court papers requesting for more time before sentencing, Wolf noted he is providing assistance to the government and is expected to testify in other cases in the next two months.

The documents did not specify in which cases Ryan would testify, but several separate trials against other Barton County athletic officials are upcoming:

-- Shane Hawkins, former assistant men's basketball coach, is scheduled to go to trial March 21. Hawkins, who worked as a Barton County assistant coach from 1999-2001, is charged with lying to a federal grand jury.

-- Lance Brauman, former track coach, 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. He trial is set for March 28 before District Judge Monti Belot.

-- Neil Elliott, athletic director, 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. His trial is scheduled April 11 before Belot.

-- Ryan Cross, former men's basketball coach, is scheduled to go to trial April 25. He is charged with two counts of wire fraud. Cross, head basketball coach at Barton County during the 1998-99 academic year, is accused of sending Wolf a fax in 2002 containing course materials that could be used to fraudulently obtain college credit for one player.

-- Lyles Lashley, track coach, has been charged with one count of lying to a federal grand jury, one count of embezzlement with student assistance programs, one count of theft from a program receiving federal funds and four counts of mail fraud. A trial date has not been set.

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