For nearly two months now, as many in the university community doubtless are aware, Cal State Northridge has been conducting an internal inquiry into allegations of rule violations in our football program, including issues pertaining directly to the conduct of head coach Ron Ponciano.
That inquiry, led by the University's internal auditor and our faculty athletic representative, remains in process now and it will be completed in the near future. However, the results to date already show a clear, serious and substantial picture of non-compliance, both with University rules and those of the National Collegiate Athletic Association.
Therefore, effective Friday, July 16, we have severed Coach Ponciano's employment relationship with the University that began with his appointment in February 1998. As a departing CSUN management employee, he will receive the standard 90 days of severance pay.
This difficult decision was made with the concurrence of and in consultation with Mr. Richard Dull, our new Athletic Director. Based on his recommendation, I have appointed Mr. Terrance Johnson, a two-year assistant coach, as administrator-in-charge of the football program pending the rapid hiring of a new head coach.
At CSUN, we clearly intend our athletic programs to help our student-athletes mature and achieve. Our coaches and our players certainly want to win. But our athletic programs also must play by the rules, and the University can tolerate nothing less.
We will continue to play football for the coming season, notwithstanding this change in coaches. Our football players, coaches and athletic staff will need and deserve your support in the months ahead. The University remains committed to ensuring the success and stability of our athletics program.