Coach speaks against System administration, hopes for vindication
For the first time in more than six months since Chadron State self-reported possible football fundraising violations to the NCAA, former Head Football Coach Bill O’Boyle spoke publicly about the ongoing investigation, the college’s administration and its governing body.
“They publicly tried to assassinate me, which they did,” O’Boyle said in a telephone interview Friday afternoon.
Responding to the accusation, CSC President Janie Park said Wednesday afternoon “I can’t comment on that.”
O’Boyle resigned from CSC March 5 to take an assistant coach’s post at Colorado Mesa University, Grand Junction. He said Chadron State’s administration singled him out, but didn’t know if it was intentional or if it was due to pressure from the NSCS.
“It’s hard to say,” O’Boyle said. “They’re definitely trying to put the blame on one guy for compliance and everything else, which makes no sense at all.”
O’Boyle said Chadron State has never had a compliance program.
“Any coach that’s been at Chadron State knows that there’s never been any compliance program,” O’Boyle said. “That’s a fact. You can call up any former coach that’s been there in the last twenty years and we’ve never had a compliance meeting; we’ve never had anything like that,” O’Boyle said.
“That’s incorrect. We have had NCAA compliance meetings, Brad [Smith] has had NCAA compliance meetings. When he was athletic director, he had monthly meetings, and he had NCAA compliance issues addressed in those meetings,” Park said.
O’Boyle was suspended from coaching duties in October 2011 after the college reported the possible football fundraising violations to the NCAA. In December, CSC notified the coach that his contract would not be renewed. In February, O’Boyle was reassigned administrative duties, according to a Feb. 7 interview with Park.
The NCAA has not rendered a decision and its investigation continues.
Despite the situation’s uncertainty, O’Boyle remains optimistic about the future.
“I’m hoping it can be something that can be easily fixed,” O’Boyle said, adding “Obviously, I don’t want to see anything happen to Chadron, or myself.”
O’Boyle said he was uncertain whether any NCAA-imposed sanctions would affect his new job.
“I’m not sure. I wish I knew,” he said. “It’s just a matter of waiting for [the NCAA’s] results, and going through whatever findings they have and whatever recommendations they have.”
O’Boyle said he was concerned about the college hiring an outside legal firm and the outcome it could have on the NCAA’s investigation.
“Generally, the NCAA, when they come in to investigate a program, they’re there to help them,” he said. “This has been kind of a different deal because it’s been a joint investigation with the NCAA and the school’s lawyer – obviously, it’s been kinda of a one-sided deal toward the college. I’m hoping the NCAA comes out in my favor.”
Before resigning, O’Boyle said he was biding his time at CSC, developing a handbook for a first-year coach at the college while waiting for the Nebraska Auditor of Public Accounts to release the Nebraska State College System’s annual audit.
“At first, it was going to be NCAA compliance, which was ridiculous,” O’Boyle said about his initial duties. “I was going to help develop an NCAA compliance program for the rest of the coaches at Chadron State, which is ridiculous, because we had a compliance officer at that time, not before. It was something they changed overnight – I don’t know what happened, but they changed that.”
“[It was] pretty much tedious work just to keep me on campus,” O’Boyle said about the assignment. “Basically, they were just trying to get me to quit.”
Once the audit was released Feb. 28, O’Boyle’s employment opportunities elsewhere grew.
“Basically, I had to wait for Colorado Mesa; they were just waiting for the state auditor’s report,” O’Boyle said. “They wanted to make sure, which I knew all along, [the auditor] was going to be fair and impartial.”