James knew penalties were coming from the conference after an investigation of reports during the 1992 season that quarterback Billy Joe Hobert received $50,000 in loans from an Idaho businessman. Among the violations found by the Pac-10 were improper loans to athletes, free meals provided to recruits and improper employment of athletes by boosters. The conference also cited a lack of institutional control over funds provided to students hosting recruits.
But James protested when the conference added an additional year to the Huskies bowl ban, making it a two-year penalty. The Pac-10 also limited Washington's football scholarships and recruiting visits, and prohibited the university from sharing in television rights fees for one year.
James was 60 years old when he resigned less than two weeks before the 1993 season began. He was replaced by longtime assistant Jim Lambright.
"I have decided I can no longer coach in a conference that treats its players and coaches so unfairly," James said in his letter of resignation.
He was inducted into the College Football Hall of Fame in 1997.
James remained connected to the Huskies' program. He was a regular visitor at practices after his resignation and served on the committee that helped in the redesign of Husky Stadium. James gave his annual preseason speech to the current Washington squad in August and attending the first game at the renovated stadium on Aug. 31 against Boise State. It was shortly after that his health took a significant turn.
James had two surgical procedures in September at Virginia Mason Medical Center for what was called a gastro-intestinal issue. James' family issued a statement after the surgeries announcing that he was resting comfortable following the hospital stay but would be beginning chemotherapy treatment for a malignant tumor on his pancreas and asked for privacy.
"Coach James set the standard for this program and for all of us. It's the reason you all are sitting here. It's the reason I'm here," Sarkisian said recently. "Husky football and what it all stands for is what he created and I was so happy he was able to come to the first game against Boise and the opening of Husky Stadium because if anybody deserved to be in that building that night it was him."
AP Sports Writers John Zenor and R.B. Fallstrom contributed to this report.
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