Saint Mary’s appeals some sanctions handed down by NCAA

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On March 1 the NCAA announced the sanctions given to Saint Mary’s as a result of NCAA rules violations in regards to recruiting and individual workouts. In response to the penalties, Saint Mary’s has appealed some of the sanctions as reported by the San Jose Mercury News.

Saint Mary’s, which is not disputing the NCAA’s findings, is appealing the loss of two scholarships for both the 2014-15 and 2015-16 seasons and a two-year ban on skill instruction.

Head coach Randy Bennett, who was handed a five-game suspension (WCC conference games) for his failure to promote an atmosphere of compliance, is appealing both the findings and the sanctions (he’s required to file a separate appeal in regards to penalties assessed to him).

In addition to the suspension, Bennett is banned from recruiting off-campus for the entire 2013-14 season.

According to Saint Mary’s director of media relations Mike McAlpin, the school’s concern that the penalties would affect the student-athletes is the reason for the appeal.

In addition to the penalties being appealed by Saint Mary’s, there’s also the NCAA decision to ban the program from taking an overseas trip until the start of the 2017-18 season.

It remains to be seen how big of a deal this is, but given how much success the program’s had recruiting Australia the possibility of an off-season “homecoming” trip would be a nice carrot to offer prospective recruits.

With that option removed from the table, will that have an adverse impact on the Gaels’ recruiting efforts in Australia?

Saint Mary’s is also banned from taking part in a multi-team event for the next two seasons, which means they’ll need to do a better job with their non-conference scheduling in order to position themselves for an at-large NCAA tournament bid.

Raphielle can be followed on Twitter at @raphiellej.

Former Wichita State assistant returns as a consultant

Chris Jans, Gregg Marshall
Associated Press
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Prior to a one-year stint as the head coach coach at Bowling Green that came to an end in early April as a result of an incident at a Bowling Green restaurant, Chris Jans was a member of Gregg Marshall’s coaching staff at Wichita State from 2007-14. During those seven seasons Jans was a key figure as the Shockers made the progression to a respected national power.

Jans is back in Wichita, with Paul Suellentrop of the Wichita Eagle reporting Thursday that he’s serving as a consultant to the program. Jans’ consulting agreement runs for 45 days, which the school can renew, and he’ll be paid $10,000 for the work. While Jans isn’t allowed to do any coaching, he can watch practices and provide Marshall and the coaching staff with his observations.

“He will be able to consult with the coaching staff, only on what he observes in practice,” said Darron Boatright, WSU deputy athletics director. “By NCAA rule, a consultant is not allowed to have communication with student-athletes … not about basketball-related activities or performance.”

While Jans (who according to the story has served in a similar role for another school) can’t do any coaching in this role, his return does give Marshall another trusted voice to call upon when needed. Wichita State bid farewell to an assistant coach this spring with Steve Forbes being hired as the head coach at East Tennessee State, with his position being filled by former Sunrise Christian Academy coach Kyle Lindsted.

h/t ShockerHoops.net

AUDIO: Rick Pitino discusses allegations, future at Louisville

Rick Pitino
Associated Press
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Thursday afternoon marked the first time since Friday that Louisville head coach Rick Pitino commented on the controversy that has taken his program by storm. Speaking with Terry Meiners of 840 WHAS in Louisville, Pitino discussed the escort scandal, what could have possibly led former staffer Andre McGee down the path he’s alleged to have taken in Katina Powell’s book and his future at Louisville.

The interview began with Meiners asking Pitino if it changed his thinking as to whether or not he needed to resign, which (as one would expect) Pitino shot down. Also discussed was the statement released by school president Dr. James Ramsey, which expressed support for athletic director Tom Jurich but did not mention Pitino at all.

“Well I can’t answer that, Terry,” Pitino said when asked why he wasn’t mentioned in the statement. “Twenty-six years ago Kentucky brought me in to make the program compliant to NCAA rules. (Then-Kentucky president) Dr. (David) Roselle and (then Kentucky athletic director) C.M. Newton thought I was the guy to come in and change around the images, change around the culture and add a lot of discipline to the program. And I did that.

“And then I came here to the University of Louisville, and if someone was five seconds late or not early consequences would be paid from a disciplinary standpoint,” Pitino continued. “This is obviously not a person being late, this is not about a person (not) working hard. This is about things that are very disgusting, things that turn my stomach, things that keep me up without sleeping.

“But unfortunately, I had no knowledge of any of this and don’t believe in it. It’s sickening to me, the whole thing. But I’m thinking of my 13 players, I’m thinking of our program, and I’m sorry that Dr. Ramsey did not think enough to mention me but that’s something I cannot control.”

Below is audio of the full interview, which ran just over 17 minutes in length.