Junior Colleges

PRCC: David Saunders remains on Wildcats football staff despite NCAA investigation at ULL

BRAD BOWIE/NEW ORLEANS ADVOCATE 
 Former Louisiana-Lafayette assistant football coach and current Pearl River C.C. assistant David Saunders
BRAD BOWIE/NEW ORLEANS ADVOCATE Former Louisiana-Lafayette assistant football coach and current Pearl River C.C. assistant David Saunders

Despite being at the center of self-imposed sanctions and an NCAA investigation at Louisiana-Lafayette, former Ragin' Cajuns assistant David Saunders remains on the coaching staff at Pearl River Community College, school spokesman Stan Caldwell told the Sun Herald on Tuesday afternoon.

The school declined comment further on the NCAA allegations surrounding its defensive backs and special teams coach.

Saunders, who was hired at ULL in 2011 and has also coached at Ole Miss, Tennessee and Baylor, among other stops, was fired in October from ULL. He was hired this summer by PRCC.

PRCC athletics director Jason Francis did not reply to the Sun Herald, but commented on the investigation to Tim Buckley of The Advertiser in Lafayette, La.

"When the initial story broke. We were as surprised about it as anyone," Francis wrote in an email to The Advertiser. "... This is a personnel issue that is being reviewed by our institution. We are monitoring the decision and the results of the NCAA investigation closely.

"As the NCAA investigation unfolds, we will make our decisions about his future accordingly."

Saunders is accused of arranging for six Ragin' Cajun recruits -- five which ended up at the school ULL -- to take their ACT exams at a Wayne County High School test center as part of a scheme to alter their test scores to make them academically eligible, according to the NCAA allegations.

Further allegations say Saunders paid one former ULL player $6,500, including about $5,000 while he was at a junior college plus $1,500 for housing expenses. The NCAA also says Saunders provided false or misleading information.

According to The Advertiser, ULL acknowledged most of the ACT-related violations but disputes the cash-payment allegation.

The Ragin' Cajuns have started operating under self-imposed sanctions which include vacating the 2011 season, placing itself on two years probation, a reduction in 11 scholarships spread over three seasons through 2017-18 and a reduction in recruiting activities, according to The Associated Press.

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