Hoops Coach Stole School $$$, Lied About Players

What do you do if you’re a small-time community college with no athletics scholarships, but you want to attract top-flight basketball talent? You can’t just cut potential recruits a check. (Well, some have, but that’s a different story.) If you’re Greg Winslow, an inventive coach at Ventura College in California, you submit fraudulent admission applications for your out-of-state students, claiming they’re California residents.

Greg Winslow

(That’s Winslow, behind the fatty)

See, California has a great public school system. At Ventura College, state residents only have to pay $20 per credit. Non-residents have to pay $195. That’s why Winslow’s actions have cost the school at least $40,000 in tuition fees, according to the District Attorney’s Office. But before you hail him as some kind of Robin Hood, stealing from the state to give to his players, let’s not forget that he also pocketed money meant for the team.

Winslow was booked yesterday on five counts of felony grand theft and one count of felony public officer crime. Those first five counts are for five players he falsely classified as California residents. But that last one is all for Greg. Authorities say he received public funds meant for the team’s equipment, facilities and expenses, but instead put it in his personal bank account.

Where was the AD oversight in all of this? Oh. He was the AD:

Winslow resigned his athletic director position Feb. 8, 2008; and on his way to guiding the team to its seventh straight Western State Conference championship, he stepped down from his coaching position a week later. He was placed on “non-disciplinary, paid leave” on April 21 and continues to be paid by the district.

You notice in that quote that Ventura is a successful little basketball program. But no one’s saying the ineligible players directly improved the team. Wait, no, I’m saying that.

Documentation obtained by The Star in November 2007 raised questions about the eligibility forms of Moses Gonzalez and Danny Tavares, two signature players from New York City who arrived in Ventura in August 2003 and 2005, respectively.

Gonzalez carried the 2004-05 team to the state quarterfinals in San Diego and Tavares led the 2006-07 team that reached the state semifinals in Fresno.

Any successful strategy is bound to be copied, and nearby Oxnard College also has had players dismissed for hiding their out-of-state status. So if your school goes up against a SoCal Community College that’s just a little too good, you might want to check their driver’s licenses.