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Simpkins ticketed day after apology Feb. 17 parking fine among total of $1,485 for this school year


COLLEGE PARK -- The day after Maryland point guard Duane Simpkins publicly apologized for accepting an improper loan to pay campus parking fines, he received another ticket.

Simpkins, a senior who sat out the final game of a three-game, NCAA-imposed suspension last night, received a $20 ticket Feb. 17 for parking in a space not assigned to him. According to parking records obtained by The Sun, he has received 17 tickets and incurred $290 in fines since he discussed this problem with coach Gary Williams in November.

This school year, Simpkins has received 50 parking tickets totaling $1,485 in fines, the records show. The NCAA revealed earlier this week that Simpkins has incurred $8,000 worth of parking fines. Williams has said the violations took place "over a couple of years."

Simpkins was suspended Feb. 15 for trying to use a $2,000 loafrom his AAU coach, Donnie Gross, to make a down payment on the parking bill. Simpkins tried to make some restitution in order to register and remain eligible for the rest of the season. Under university rules, students with more than $500 in unpaid parking tickets cannot register unless they pay the tickets or make arrangements to pay them.

"Everyone makes mistakes," Simpkins said in a prepared statement before practice Feb. 16.

"I've made a mistake in a certain situation in accepting money from someone the NCAA deems as improper. I was in a bind. . . I panicked. I wanted to go to someone who I felt I could get proper funds from."

The day after his apology, Simpkins received his fourth ticket of that week, the records show. Although the records only show the tickets Simpkins has received this school year, they indicate fines for meter violations; parking in unassigned spaces, service spaces and fire lanes; and failure to display a permit. An athletic department source said that Simpkins sometimes parked in spaces reserved for the disabled.

The records also show that Simpkins did not have a university permit until this past December, and that most of his fines before that were for expired meters.

Athletic director Debbie Yow would not comment about Simpkins' parking record or whether she was aware that he has continued to receive tickets.

"Officials in the athletic program became aware of the problem in November," Yow said. After that, she said, Williams talked with Simpkins "within a matter of days." Simpkins, however, continued to illegally park his green 1994 Honda Civic.

Simpkins has paid $170 of the fines he has received this school year. Another $155 is recent and unpaid, and $1,160 has been transferred to the bursar's office.

A ticket that is not paid or appealed within 15 days is assessed a $10 late fee, and after 45 days the ticket is placed in the student's account in the bursar's office, said David Allen, the director of campus parking. Once a ticket is transferred to the bursar's office, Allen said, the campus parking office has no record of payment.

But Allen said he can make deals with students so they can begin to pay off their bills and register for classes. A student who works in the parking office said that he regularly sees students cut deals with Allen and receive a 10 to 15 percent discount.

"I'm not sure if I've given that much off," Allen said of discounts on parking fines that range from $15 for a meter violation to $500 for using a fraudulent handicap permit. "If there is a student that has some kind of extraordinary problem, we can assist them in paying some of their parking tickets after it goes to the bursar's office."

A student with $8,000 in parking fines probably would come to Allen for help. "We can evaluate the situation and maybe help them by issuing a credit, meaning that they don't have to pay the ticket," Allen said.

Yow refused to comment about whether other athletes are having problems with parking tickets, but said athletes "will receive no special benefits."

"We deal with our student-athletes in a way anybody would [be treated] as a regular student," Yow said.

Simpkins' tickets

Duane Simpkins' parking tickets during the 1995-1996 school year, according to parking records obtained by The Sun:

Month .... Tickets ... Amount

September ..... 9 .... $400

October ...... 11 .... $460

November ..... 13 .... $335

December ...... 6 .... $120

January ....... 2 ..... $30

February ...... 9 .... $140

Totals ....... 50 .. $1,485

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