Franchione Admonished by A&M Officials for Secret Newsletter

By: KBTX Staff Email
By: KBTX Staff Email

Pertinent Documents Pertaining to CoachFran.com and VIP Newsletter

Gathering of Information
The Company, Seriously Clued Consulting, a private third party vendor not affiliated with Texas A&M University, that maintained the CoachFran.com website and the "VIP Connection" e-mail list server has cooperated with Texas A&M University by providing copies of the e-mails it has been able to recover and providing an accounting of the financial records related to CoachFran.com.

Texas A&M University has sought additional information, asking other involved parties to furnish their records on this issue, including e-mails and in some cases financial information which would allow for a full review by the Texas A&M Athletic Compliance Staff and our Office of General Counsel. At this time, we are reporting the status of our inquiry, but note that we have not recovered all of the "VIP Connection" e-mails.

As well as trying to gather information from the providers and recipients of the "VIP Connection," Texas A&M University has contacted various media representatives to request any copies of the "VIP Connection" that they may have in order to perform a complete review.

At this time, no media representatives have satisfied Texas A&M's request for information.

However, information contained in some of the newspaper articles published to this point are being taken as accurate reflections of information contained in the "VIP Connection" and processed as part of the institution's review.

The following information addresses the specific areas of inquiry related to NCAA and Big 12 rules, as well, as the current status within each specific area.

As part of the self-reporting process to the NCAA, Texas A&M University will reflect the following corrective and punitive actions that have been, or will be taken as a result of this issue.

Actions Taken by the Institution
Directed Dennis Franchione to discontinue the CoachFran.com web site.

Directed Dennis Franchione or any company under his control to no longer employ any staff members that could be construed as representing Texas A&M or providing information or reports relative to his position as head coach at Texas A&M.

The institution will issue a letter of admonishment to Dennis Franchione.

The institution will reduce the permissible number of off-campus contacts (NCAA limit of 6) for each referenced prospective student-athlete by one for each impermissible reference to the prospective student-athlete.

Specific NCAA and Big 12 Issues
Reporting of Athletically-Related Outside Income.
NCAA Rule:
11.2.2 Athletically Related Income.
Contractual agreements, including letters of appointment, between a full-time or part-time athletics department staff member (excluding secretarial or clerical personnel) and an institution shall include the stipulation that the staff member is required to provide a written detailed account annually to the president or chancellor for all athletically related income and benefits from sources outside the institution. In addition, the approval of all athletically related income and benefits shall be consistent with the institution's policy related to outside income and benefits applicable to all full-time or part-time employees.

Summary of Facts and Background:
Upon employing Dennis Franchione, Texas A&M University was aware of the external internet interests of Dennis Franchione, and it specifically included stipulations in Section 10 of his contract that outside income includes income generated through internet web sites.

Through the 2005-06 academic year, Dennis Franchione has not reported the revenue/income received through the Internet web site, CoachFran.com, and the "VIP Connection."

He should have, but Dennis Franchione mistakenly thought that he did not have to report this income until he actually received proceeds from the third party web site consultant company that exceeded expenses incurred for maintaining and running the web site. Therefore, he did not report the revenue to the institution.

Dennis Franchione did not directly receive any of the proceeds until June 26, 2007, and he would have reported the income as part of the institution's upcoming 2006-07 outside income report.

Response from NCAA:
The NCAA membership services staff confirmed that the funds maintained by a third party web site consulting company to offset the expenses for CoachFran.com were income and should have been reported to appropriate institutional authorities in the interest of full disclosure, institutional control and the monitoring of employee activities.

Therefore, Texas A&M University will report a violation to the NCAA.

Recruiting Publicity
NCAA Rule:
13.10.2 Comments Before Signing. Before signing a prospective student-athlete to a National Letter of Intent or an institution's written offer of admission and/or financial aid, a member institution may comment publicly only to the extent of confirming its recruitment of the prospective student-athlete. The institution may not comment generally on the prospective student-athlete's ability or the contribution that the prospective student-athlete might make to the institution's team; further, the institution is precluded from commenting in any manner as to the likelihood of the prospective student-athlete's signing with that institution. Violations of this bylaw do not affect a prospective student-athlete's eligibility and are considered institutional violations per Constitution 2.8.1.

Summary of Facts:
Occasionally, the "VIP Connection" contained the name of prospective student-athletes or mentioned information specific to a prospective student-athlete without stating the prospect's name.

Response from NCAA
The NCAA Membership Services staff has informed the institution that several of the comments discovered to have been made in the "VIP Connection" are contrary to this provision and should be reported as violations.

Big 12 Principles and Standards of Sportsmanship
The Big 12 principles and standards of sportsmanship include a standard for the conduct of administrators, coaches and student-athletes immediately preceding, during or following athletics events.

This standard of conduct, including changes made by the Big 12 Board of Directors to prohibit any public comments on officiating or the quality of their work, was shared by Bill Byrne on December 12, 2006 with all members of the Texas A&M coaching staff and senior staff members group, which included Mike McKenzie.

The comments contained in an April 13, 2007 "VIP Connection" e-mail appear inconsistent with the Big 12's expected standard of conduct and has been reported to the Big 12 for appropriate actions.

In addition to the above issues that will be reported to the NCAA and Big 12 Conference, the institution has reviewed several additional concerns and determined that violations have not occurred in the following areas.

Sports Wagering
Dennis Franchione and Mike McKenzie never had any knowledge of any of the recipients of the "VIP Connection" being involved in sports wagering activities.

Therefore, based on available information, and in consultation with the NCAA membership services staff, Texas A&M does not believe any violation of NCAA Bylaw 10.3 has occurred.

Coaching Staff Limitations
Dennis Franchione and Mike McKenzie have both stated that Mike McKenzie was not contributing to the decisions of what plays to run, his attendance at play scripting meetings was for primarily personal enjoyment and would also provide insight to Mike for reporting to members of the "VIP Connection."

Given the facts presented through the available information, the NCAA membership services staff determined that no violation must be reported.

Closed Bowl Game Practices
Information provided to recipients of the "VIP Connection" related to practices sessions in preparation for the 2005 Cotton Bowl was inaccurate.

The institution reviewed its plan for practices with the NCAA membership services staff prior to the Cotton Bowl practices and conducted activities consistent with that guidance by opening the practice sessions to the general public.

List of Known Recipients of the "VIP Connection."
It should be noted that some of the recipients were not paying subscribers and not all listed recipients have been recipients for the entire duration of the e-mails.

Additionally, four subscribers to the "VIP Connection" have not responded to requests made by the institution or Seriously Clued Consulting.

Neal Adams
Michael Burrichter
Michael Champine
Joe Clark
Ashley Franchione
Kim Franchione
Glenn Hart
Fred Heldenfels
Jerry Holditch
Stormy Kimrey (Subscription Ended October 2006)
David LeBoeuf
Jim Lind
Jack E. Little
Bob Lynch
C. John Mace (Subscription Ended June 2007)
Miles Marks
Charlie Mattei (Subscription Ended December 2006)
Artie McFerrin
Jeff McFerrin
Buppy Simank
Greg Walton
Dale Watts
Charles Wiseman

Dennis Franchione's Income and Expenses Associated With the Operation of CoachFran.com Through Seriously Clued Consulting.
Period June 1, 2005 through June 1, 2007

Income:
VIP Membership $26,002.00
Advertising $52,483.50
Other Advertising
Total Income $80,339.53

Expenses:
Server Lease (predates SC Consulting) $5,824.75
Rackspace + Hosting $12,460.20
Domains Registration / Renewal $280.00
Credit Card Processing $968.40
Legal $1,800.00
Database programming (Consultant A. Jefferson) $1,800.00
Accounting $379.00
Miscellaneous expenses $212.00
Domain Purchase and transfer $100.00
Equipment/Supplies $233.82
Hospitality Game Day Tent $18,475.04
Total Expenses $42,533.21
Net Profit $37,806.32

Disbursement June 2007 to Fran Inc. $28,354.74
Retained Earnings $9,451.58

Note: Payments for the services of Mike McKenzie were paid directly from Dennis Franchione and not through the CoachFran.com account with Seriously Clued Consulting. Mr. McKenzie has annually reported this income to the institution.

List of Public Information Requestors
Requestor, Affiliation, Date of Request
Terry Bigham, Fort Worth Star Telegram, 09-28-07
James Benson III, Attorney at Law, 10-01-07
Christopher Bowers, Individual requestor, 09-28-07 (Withdrawn)
Christopher Bowers, Individual requestor, 09-28-07
John Bridges, Austin American-Statesman, 09-28-07
Jeff Carlton, Associated Press, 09-28-07
Bradley Chambers, Spain, Hastings, Wards, Carey & Chambers, 09-28-07
Brian Davis, Dallas Morning News, 09-28-07
Bruce Fain, Murphy Kirkpatrick & Fain, 09-28-07
Terrance Harris, Houston Chronicle, 10-02-07
Ronald Hinds, Reyna, Hinds & Crandall, 09-28-07
Matt Jones, Gentry Financial, 09-28-07
Bob McClellan, Rivals.com, 09-28-07
Rickey McNeal, Individual requestor, 10-01-07
Matthew Watkins, Bryan/College Station Eagle, 10-02-07

Pertinent Documents Pertaining to CoachFran.com and VIP Newsletter


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