MORGANTOWN. W.Va. — Michael Glazier, whose law group is working with WVU regarding a football player’s eligibility, has a contentious history with Mountaineers basketball coach Bob Huggins dating back to a 1998 NCAA probe at Cincinnati.
Huggins declined comment Thursday on West Virginia athletics director Oliver Luck’s decision to hire the college sports division of Bond, Schoeneck & King—of which Glazier is a managing partner.
Nicknamed “The Cleaner,” Glazier most recently proved integral in helping Oregon’s football program dodge major sanctions after it paid scout Willie Lyles $25,000 to influence the recruitment of running back Lache Seastrunk. The attorney, a former seven-year NCAA staffer, has assisted schools in several other high-profile NCAA cases, including the Kelvin Sampson basketball mess at Indiana, the Nevin Shapiro football scandal at Miami, and THE Maurice Clarett episode at Ohio State.
Before any of those cases, however, Glazier was brought in by the University of Cincinnati as part of a 1997 investigation into the eligibility of junior college point guard Charles Williams. Huggins initially balked at UC hiring outside counsel and later claimed that Glazier’s firm squeezed an additional $250,000 from the school by overstating violations in order to prolong the probe.
“There’s absolutely no question that they extended the investigation for monetary gain,” Huggins told the Cincinnati Enquirer in 1998.
Several violations Glazier alleged in his audit of the Williams situation were subsequently disputed by the school or dismissed by the NCAA. In fact 19 of 22 violations originally pinned on Huggins’ top assistant John Loyer were dropped, though the Bearcats were docked three scholarships over two seasons. (Loyer left Cincinnati in 1999 and has worked in the NBA ever since, currently serving on the Detroit Pistons’ staff.)
“I think at the very least, if John Loyer’s expected to pay for making some mistakes, then I think the law firm should be expected to pay for making all these charges—and being totally inaccurate on 19, 20 of them,” Huggins told The Enquirer in 1998. “In other realms of business, if you’re off that far, if you screw up that much, it’s going to be tough to get another job.
“We’ve never gotten an apology, not ‘We screwed up. We’re sorry.’ None of that.”
Glazier, once labeled a “bounty hunter” by former Pitt football coach Mike Gottfried, declined to be interviewed Thursday. In a 2008 ESPN.com story Glazier explained the pushback he sometimes encounters in his work, which can equate to running an internal affairs investigation.
“We’re charged with finding out the truth, and we do that,” Glazier said. “Sometimes we can learn the allegations aren’t founded, but oftentimes they are. And when they are, we say that. We don’t hide anything.”
Luck did not immediately return a message left at his office Thursday, but he told Charleston Daily Mail capitol reporter Dave Boucher the school “needed expertise that we didn’t possess along our in-house lawyers.” It remains unclear whether the case involves one of two football signees awaiting NCAA approval or a player already enrolled and practicing.
The school may have circumvented university protocol by signing a contract with Bond, Schoeneck & King on July 9, well before the athletic department received clearance from the West Virginia Attorney General’s office on July 26.
Attorney General spokeswoman Beth Ryan reiterated to MetroNews the AG’s office “was not aware of any written contract entered into prior to the waiver/written determination dated July 26.”
MetroNews has attempted to seek clarification on the 17-day gap from April Min, WVU’s associate vice president for legal affairs. Min did not return the message as of Thursday evening.
Correction: The original version of this article referenced Oliver Luck signing the contract with Bond, Schoeneck & King, but WVU spokesperson John Bolt informed MetroNews the contract was signed by William Hutchens, vice president and general counsel for the school.
Bolt also issued this statement regarding the involvement of Glazier’s firm:
“While we cannot get into specifics about particular cases because of attorney-client and privacy constraints, I can tell you that WVU had verbal approval to proceed with contracting with the particular law firm prior to the written contracts being signed. As for your other specific questions regarding this instance, again I draw your attention to the attorney general’s waiver and the areas being covered. I can confirm, however, that the issues involve a technical question concerning the initial eligibility of a student athlete and are not related to any potential NCAA violations. We expect the matter to be resolved very soon.”