Degree issue regarding Rutgers head coach Eddie Jordan addressed

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Given the events that resulted in the Rutgers basketball program undergoing a major overhaul, of course there would be complications in regards to the hiring of Eddie Jordan as the new head coach.

The complication, according to a report from John Koblin of Deadspin: Jordan never graduated from Rutgers.

About that due diligence: Despite all the accolades he’s received from the university and despite the school’s many claims to the contrary, Jordan hasn’t actually finished his degree, according to the Rutgers registrar’s office. The office sent me a verification document, found below, that indicates that Jordan attended classes at Rutgers from 1973 to 1977. He went on to take more classes in 1978, 1981, and 1985. There was no degree listed in the document. I called up the registrar’s office on Thursday and asked for clarification.

“He did not receive a degree from us,” an official there told [Koblin].

This revelation comes after much was made about the return of a “native son” to Rutgers, a school that hasn’t reached the NCAA tournament since 1991. And even before the scandal that led to the firing of Mike Rice, Rutgers had a long way to go in its quest to be competitive upon entering the Big Ten in 2014.

In a report from ESPN New York, Jordan stated that in 1985 he completed the work needed to finish his studies but did not receive a diploma due to a registration issue. Did Jordan claim on his résumé to have graduated from Rutgers? Regardless of the answer to that question, how difficult is it for the school to check the claims on his résumé?

Many wondered if the lack of a bachelor’s degree could lead to Jordan losing his job, and the school answered that question in a statement issued Friday evening. Rutgers does not require a head coach to have a bachelor’s degree; the NCAA allows each individual school to set the requirements for its coaching positions.

While Rutgers was in error when it reported that Eddie Jordan had earned a degree from Rutgers University, neither Rutgers nor the NCAA requires a head coach to hold a baccalaureate degree.  Eddie Jordan was a four-year letterman and was inducted into the Rutgers Athletics Hall of Fame in 1980.  Rutgerssought Eddie for the head coach position as a target-of-opportunity hire based on his remarkable public career.

Jordan isn’t the first major college coach to be in such a position (before finding out having the degree wasn’t a requirement for the job), as both Sidney Lowe (then at NC State) and Clyde Drexler (Houston) had to finish up their undergraduate studies before accepting head coaching positions.

So as far as the school is concerned there’s no issue with Jordan not having his degree. But this entire situation could have been avoided if handled in a straightforward manner from the start. Just like the original viewing of the infamous practice tapes.

Raphielle can be followed on Twitter at @raphiellej.

Grand Canyon lands Oregon graduate transfer guard Casey Benson

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Grand Canyon landed an important piece for its NCAA tournament push on Saturday night as Oregon graduate transfer guard Casey Benson pledged to the Antelopes.

The 6-foot-3 Benson will be eligible right away as spent the past three seasons with the Ducks as a key reserve guard, helping Oregon to multiple deep NCAA tournament runs. Benson picked Grand Canyon over Wisconsin for his final season of college basketball as Benson’s brother, T.J., is an assistant coach with the Antelopes.

Benson shot 40 percent from three-point range last season while also being a steady ball handler over the course of his career at Oregon as he has only 81 career turnovers in over 2,600 career minutes with the Ducks. While Benson wasn’t asked to score a lot for a loaded Oregon team that featured multiple bucket-getters, he could be asked to do more at Grand Canyon.

Grand Canyon is eligible for the NCAA tournament for the first time next season as the addition of Benson gives them an experienced guard who should be more of a factor in the WAC. The Antelopes are coming off of a 22-9 season in which they finished 11-3 in conference play.

With great facilities and a quickly-growing fan base, head coach Dan Majerle has the potential makings of a perennial mid-major conference contender if he continues to recruit well to Grand Canyon.

Colorado adds commitment from Class of 2017 point guard McKinley Wright

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Colorado landed one of the best available point guards for next season on Friday as Class of 2017 floor general McKinley Wright committed during an official visit.

A former Dayton commit who opted out of his recruitment after former head coach Archie Miller took the Indiana job, Wright was one of the best available point guards left as he played last weekend on the adidas Gauntlet in front of college coaches with D1 Minnesota.

The 6-foot-0 Wright gives the Buffaloes another ball handler and distributor as he was Minnesota’s Mr. Basketball during this past season. As a senior, Wright averaged 22.9 points, 8.1 rebounds and 7.8 assists per game.

It’s always hard to say if spring recruits who elevate a level in recruiting after decommitting are making the correct decision, but Wright looked the part of a high-major lead guard last weekend, and Colorado wasn’t the only high-major program that was pushing hard to add Wright at this late stage.

Oral Roberts to hire Baylor assistant coach Paul Mills

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Oral Roberts has found its new head coach as they will hire Baylor assistant coach Paul Mills, as first reported by NBCSports.com’s Rob Dauster.

Mills had been on staff with the Bears since 2003 as he’s been a big factor in why head coach Scott Drew has been able to turn around that program. A graduate of Texas A&M, Mills has been a full-time assistant at Baylor since the 2009 season.

“I am honored to accept this role of representing this historic institution, its students and its mission,” Mills said in a release. “Making this commitment today is a highlight of my career and I look forward with excitement to the basketball season directly ahead. Go Golden Eagles.”

Mills will replace former head coach Scott Sutton, who was relieved of his duties this offseason after 18 years at the helm.

 

Iowa commit Connor McCaffery to redshirt in basketball to pursue baseball

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Iowa commit Connor McCaffery is in a unique spot when he starts his freshman year in Iowa City next year.

Not only is the 6-foot-4 guard the son of basketball head coach Fran McCaffery, while being a four-star national basketball prospect, but Connor also has a bright future in baseball.

There was a lot of speculation as to what Connor might do for his future in athletics and he gave more clarification on what he might be looking to do on Friday.

McCaffery has decided to redshirt in basketball next season to focus on the beginnings of his baseball career at Iowa. A walk-on for both sports, the move enables Connor McCaffery to potentially play three years of basketball with his younger brother, Patrick, who is also a heralded basketball recruit for Iowa. This move also gives Connor the best chance to pursue both sports while he’ll also help out a young Iowa basketball team with its tough scholarship scenario.

Butler, Chris Holtmann agree to a contract extension

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Butler has agreed to a contract extension with head coach Chris Holtmann, the school announced on Friday, that will keep him under contract through 2025.

“Butler truly is a special place, and my family and I are thankful to be part of a great academic institution and an athletics department that is a source of pride for those who embrace Butler and The Butler Way,” said Holtmann. “Our student-athletes, our staff, and so many throughout our campus are remarkable at what they do, and I’m excited to continue to work alongside them.”

Holtmann was named Big East Coach of the Year after leading the Bulldogs to a 25-9 record and a spot in the Sweet 16. In three years with the program, Holtmann has a record of 70-31.

“Chris is a tremendous ambassador for Butler and the Butler Way, and his leadership has resulted in success both on and off the court for the talented young men in our program,” said Butler Vice President/Director of Athletics Barry Collier. “This commitment – both by our university and by Chris – allows the momentum within our program to continue.”

Holtmann was in the mix for a couple of jobs this spring, including N.C. State and Missouri.