UMHB suspends football coach over NCAA violations

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BELTON, Texas (KWTX) The University of Mary Hardin-Baylor is suspending its head football coach over self-reported NCAA violations.

Pete Fredenburg. (Staff photo/file)

The violations reported to the NCAA on April 9 involve extra benefits to two football players, the school said.

The university didn’t provide specific information about the infractions, but said they are major under NCAA rules.

“There was no effort to hide or deny the conduct which resulted in extra benefits to student-athletes, and the benefits were not provided with an intention to obtain either a recruiting advantage or competitive advantage,” the school said.

“The infractions do not involve sexual misconduct, academic fraud, or financial aid,” the school said.

Head coach Pete Fredenburg has been suspended for three months without pay and for the first three games of the 2018 season.

Defense coordinator Larry Harmon will serve as interim head coach.

"I've spent my entire career as a football coach investing in kids," Fredenburg said.

"In this instance, I unintentionally broke an NCAA rule. I regret this and I accept responsibility."

Students who learned the news Monday were disappointed.

“It definitely puts questions in minds I think," said Christian Studies junior Tanner Watson. “It’s a judgement call and people have to say they either trust him (Fredenburg) or not.”

“I kind of always suspected it was going on, but at least they reported it themselves," said junior Matt McDaniels.

While they were disheartened, the students were also proud the school and coach turned themselves in.

“We’re good at saying ‘hey, we’ve done this wrong and we’re looking to improve on this,’" said Watson. "I think it’s something to take note of and make sure we don’t do in the future, but I don’t think long-term it’s going to have any effect on UMHB."

McDaniel agreed, saying he didn't believe the school's overall reputation would suffer.

“I think that their academics and draw of the university is independent apart from the football program, the football program brings in a totally different crowd than the normal student that would attend UMHB," said McDaniel.

The school says it also identified possible secondary violations outside of the football program, which the NCAA is reviewing.

"UMHB is committed to upholding both the spirit and letter of NCAA rules, and we will use this as a learning opportunity," UMHB President Randy O'Rear said.

"The university will continue its tradition of excellence and hold itself to the highest standards of compliance and integrity," he said.

Fredenburg, who started the Division III UMHB program in 1998, has compiled a 210-39 in 20 seasons as the program’s only head coach and led the Cru to its first NCAA Division III national championship in 2016 with a 10-7 victory over Wisconsin-Oshkosh.

UMHB returned to the Stagg Bowl in 2017 and finished as national runner-up with a 14-1 overall record after losing to Mount Union 12-0.

UMHB claimed the American Southwest Conference championship for 10 straight years from 2005 to 2014 and in 2016 and 2017 as well.

Fredenburg is a ten-time ASC Coach of the Year and has earned AFCA Regional Coach of the Year honors nine times in his career.

He was inducted into the Texas Sports Hall of Fame earlier this month.

Fredenburg started his career in Texas as a high school coach, spent 13 years as defensive coordinator and assistant head coach at Baylor University a year at Louisiana State University and three years as defensive coordinator at Louisiana Tech University.