BY CHASE GLORFIELD
Idaho State University’s former interim men’s basketball coach says in a letter that a local booster suggested money be paid to potential players and their junior college coaches in order to persuade recruits to choose to play for ISU.
It’s believed that the letter, at least in part, triggered the current NCAA investigation of multiple sports teams at ISU, including the men’s basketball team.
The former interim coach, Deane Martin, sent the letter to ISU Athletic Director Jeff Tingeythe day after being passed over for the permanent men’s basketball coaching position.
After Tingey responded by saying Martin was making “potentially slanderous statements” in the letter, Martin provided the document to the NCAA. The Journal has been told that NCAA investigators are currently on the ISU campus trying to figure out if sports teams at the university have committed violations of NCAA rules. Typically, NCAA investigations take several months before any findings are released.
Martin’s letter, dated March 6, alleges that a booster told him “in the presence of another witness, that he wanted to insure that ISU got the best recruit we could, and he offered his support. Specifically (the booster) indicated that if it took a ‘money handshake’ from him to a coach or a recruit, to seal the deal, he was happy to do that.”
Martin’s letter goes on to say that the booster “has personally involved himself with the families of potential recruits, and made similar offers to them. Healso has made those offers to junior college coaches, that it would be in their best financial interest to steer their players to Idaho State University.”
ISU recruits some of its student athletes from junior colleges.
Martin’s letter, provided to the Journal by an ISU employee, identifies the accused booster. The Journal is withholding the booster’s identity pending the outcome of the NCAA investigation. The NCAA has thus far withheld comment on the situation at ISU, saying that it does not typically provide comments until after an investigation is completed.
Martin says in his letter that he was alerting Tingey to the situation because he felt, “it is my obligation to report these matters to you. I trust that you will take the appropriate actions and report as required.”
Martin also states that he did not personally accept any money from boosters during his time with the ISU men’s basketball team, which began in June 2011 as an assistant coach and continued when he was named interim head coach in December of the same year.
Martin would not comment when contacted by the Journal, citing the ongoing NCAA investigation.
When contacted about Martin’s letter, Tingey would not confirm or deny that the letter was sent to him.
“There is an ongoing investigation and until it’s completed, I can’t comment,” Tingey said.
The Journal also received a copy of Tingey’s email response to Martin’s allegations. The athletic directortold the former interim coach that, “As these are very strong and potentially slanderous statements, I am going to forward them to our university attorneys for their involvement.”
Tingey also told Martin“so that the NCAA does not think we will ‘sweep this under the rug’ I will have our compliance office contact them.”
When contacted by the Journal, Tingey had nothing to say in regard to hisresponse.
“I am not at liberty to make any comment,” he said.
Martin closed his letter by saying, “It is certainly my hope that there have not been any NCAA violations”at ISU.
“But the mere fact that these actions are ongoing, and could be in the public domain would look very bad for Idaho State University, and its officers and officials,” Martin wrote.