Junior college coach indicted by grand jury

Wednesday, December 15, 2004

WICHITA, Kan. -- A federal grand jury has indicted former Barton County Community College coach Ryan Wolf on charges that he illegally provided financial help and false academic credentials to several athletes, including former Missouri guard Ricky Clemons.

The 36 count indictment also charges Wolf, 32, of Martinsville, Ind., with providing false information about the athletes to officials at Missouri, San Jose State, Brigham Young and Barton County Community College, U.S. Attorney Eric Melgren said Tuesday.

The indictment charges that from May 1998 to June 2003, Wolf recruited athletes to play basketball for the junior college in Great Bend, then used his faculty position to get them grants they were not qualified to receive and campus jobs that paid them for work they did not perform.

Melgren said he did not how aware the athletes were aware of the fraud but no indictments are expected against them.

"By and large this indictment would pretty much conclude this investigation," Melgren said.

Clemons was booted from the Missouri basketball program after serving 60 days in a county jail for assault and false imprisonment. Clemons' claims that coaches at Missouri gave him money led to an investigation conducted by the NCAA, which could not confirm the allegation.

The NCAA did find the school broke recruiting rules and punished Missouri with three years of probation, the loss of scholarships and a one-year ban on off-campus recruiting.

Along with Clemons, other athletes involved include fellow Missouri recruit Randy Pulley, Jason Carter, Carlton Baker, Eric Washington and Justin Rose.

Pulley was dismissed from the Missouri program in February. It wasn't immediately clear from the indictment if the other athletes moved on to play basketball at an NCAA school.

NCAA spokesman Erik Christinson said the organization couldn't comment Tuesday because "we don't know the specifics of this situation."

Wolf is charged with misappropriating more than $120,000. The government is seeking reimbursement of money it says Wolf received from Pell grants, federal work-study programs, campus work-study programs and federally guaranteed student loans.

The indictment also charges that Wolf forged player signatures on Pell grant checks; defrauded Barton County Community College by falsely stating that athletes had received their high school equivalency degrees and defrauded Brigham Young by providing false certification that a Barton County faculty member had supervised an athlete while he was taking tests in correspondence courses.

Wolf also mailed transcripts to other universities that contained false information, leading the universities to believe the students were academically eligible to play NCAA Division I basketball. Those charges include transcripts sent to Missouri for Clemons and Pulley, Melgren said in a statement.

A spokesman for Missouri's men's basketball program did not immediately return a call seeking comment.

Melgren said Wolf had not yet been arrested or served with the indictment Tuesday evening. Wolf did not return a phone message left at his home.

Wolf, who was hired as an assistant basketball coach in 1998, became Barton County's head coach in 1999 until leaving to become assistant coach at Murray State in Murray, Ky. Besides coaching at Barton, he was also expected to teach, serve as academic adviser and supervise students in work-study programs.

Wolf resigned from Murray State for personal reasons before the start of the current season, the school said.

In addition to the false transcripts sent to Missouri, the indictment says Wolf sent false academic reports for Baker and Washington to San Jose State; provided false certification to Brigham Young that Clemons had been closely supervised while taking a test for a correspondence course; and defrauded Barton County by sending certification that Washington had completed a home-study course.

On the Net:

U.S. attorney: http://www.usdoj.gov/usao/ks/

NCAA: http://www.ncaa.org

Missouri athletics: http://www.mutigers.com

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