Arizona State defensive line coach Grady Stretz received a penalty over three years on Wednesday from the NCAA for his involvement in rules violations occurring in 2004, when he was an assistant at New Mexico.
The New Mexico program was placed on three years’ probation after the Division I infractions committee determined that Stretz and another former assistant arranged for a player and three recruits to improperly obtain credits through correspondence courses at Fresno Pacific University.
“They never got the course material and, nonetheless, got credit,” said Josephine Potuto, chair of the infractions committee and law professor at the University of Nebraska. “They were trying to get them enrolled.”
ASU coach Dennis Erickson did not comment on the matter after Wednesday afternoon’s practice.
But in a statement released by the school, Erickson said: “Grady Stretz is one of the finest persons I have ever been around in my professional life. I stand by Grady and will do whatever I can to assist him with this situation as he works toward vindication.”
Through Aug. 19, 2009, Stretz is prohibited from any recruiting activities, which includes phoning recruits. After that, he will be under no limitations for a year. In August 2010, a yearlong second phase of the penalty limits him to half of the maximum-allowed recruiting activities.
ASU’s athletic compliance office must monitor Stretz’s activities and submit a report to the NCAA every six months.
After Wednesday morning’s practice, before the penalty was announced, Stretz referred questions to Jim Zeszutek, his Pittsburgh-based attorney.
Zeszutek said that he was “frustrated and disappointed” by the ruling.
“There are issues that exonerate coach Stretz that are not even reflected in the report,” Zeszutek said. “The committee didn’t even address them.”
Stretz is a 1991 graduate of Tempe McClintock High School who played at UCLA. He is in his third season at ASU after working at New Mexico from 1998-2005.