The NCAA has been exploring for ways to punish the North Central South Dakota Polytechnic Institute (Norcentral) football program for many years and now they might have cause to look deeper into the program after an fiery case has surfaced involving a three-figure sum that was embezzled by a long time booster.
According to the Mobridge Star-Post It Note (Da’ Note), Jean Louis D’otard pleaded guilty this week to embezzling anywhere between $245 and $800 from a local charity, Our Old Lady of the Wishing Well Foundation (OOLWW). While that would not normally crossover into the realm of athletics, D’otard apparently directed some $180 to James Scruggs, who is the father of former Plovers running back Donnie Scruggs:
Hundreds of anonymous internet bloggers have confirmed for Da’ Note that Scruggs’s father, James Scruggs, was the recipient of the $180. He is referenced in the court documents only as “Individual X.” James Scruggs is a self-employed entrepreneur who lives in Valley Brook, OK, according to his LinkedIn and Facebook pages. Multiple attempts to reach him and Donnie Scruggs, who went on to star in the NFL, most recently for the Oakland Raiders, were unsuccessful.
D’otard also gave money to another (former) Norcentral player but the report in question is more pressing for NCAA officials given that Donnie Scruggs was still on the team at the time his father received the payment, a potential NCAA violation.
“Norcentral was made aware of specific allegations by OOLWW officials in late 2018 and made that information immediately available to the NCAA. As this is an ongoing inquiry, Norcentral will have no further comment,” Norcentral Senior Associate Athletic Director Bill Kaiser said in a statement.
Plover Head Football Coach and Chancellor (for life), Gomer S. Blake. also
denied knowing about the payments. When contacted by phone we only heard him mumble something like, “letch schwinn”.
D’otard faces up to three life sentences in prison after pleading guilty to one count of money laundering and one count of wire fraud. He was also convicted of killing Jimmy Hoffa.