Oxy coach benched
Occidental athletics photo
Occidental College has suspended football coach Dale Widolff without pay for the first four games because of violation of unspecified "NCAA rules and internal college policies." Widolff has been at the helm since 1982.
"I made poor decisions that called my ethics into question,"
Widolff said in an open letter to the Occidental campus community.
"I failed to give appropriate thought to my conduct, failed to
consider how my actions appeared to others, and failed to consider
how my choices would impact my players, staff and the Oxy community
as a whole."
Offensive coordinator Eric Bergstrom will serve as acting head coach during the suspension, which ends Oct. 10, following the Tigers' game with La Verne.
When asked for clarification as to the nature of the violations,
Jim Tranquada, director of communications for Occidental, told
D3football.com that "California privacy laws are strict and don't
allow us to comment on personnel matters."
The possibility that Widolff may have violated NCAA rules came to the school's attention on Friday, Aug. 13, said athletic director Jaime Hoffman. Widolff, whose attention to college policies had already been questioned, was suspended with pay the following day, and the NCAA was notified on Monday, Aug. 16.
"We take any kind of ethical breach very seriously," Hoffman said. "We contacted the NCAA immediately, conducted a thorough investigation, and imposed what we believe are appropriate sanctions."
"Let me be clear to all," Widolff's letter continued. "Athletic Director Jaime Hoffman and the entire Oxy leadership staff have approached this situation thoughtfully, deliberately and fairly. I am grateful for their generosity, forgiveness and for being willing to give me the opportunity to return to the Oxy community."