NCAA sanctions

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Report: NCAA serves Georgia Tech with notice of allegations

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A couple days after its 2018-19 season came to an end in the ACC tournament, the Georgia Tech basketball program now finds itself in the crosshairs of the NCAA Committee on Infractions.

Thursday night it was reported by the Atlanta Journal-Constitution that the school has been given a notice of allegations in connection with alleged rules violations by former assistant coach Darryl LaBarrie and Pastner’s friend-turned-adversary Ron Bell.

Per the report two of the three violations are of the Level I variety, the most severe when it comes to the NCAA rules structure.

LaBarrie is alleged to have taken a prospective recruit and a team member to a strip club during a visit in November 2016. Also, the recruit and team member are alleged to have been given $300 by another individual who was not identified.

Lastly, the NCAA has alleged that there was an impermissible meeting between the recruit and a person who is considered by the governing body to be a “representative of the school’s athletics interest.” Meetings of that variety are not allowed to occur during the recruitment of a prospective student-athlete.

According to reports by ESPN.com and Stadium, the recruit in question was former Duke center Wendell Carter Jr. and the representative was former Georgia Tech point guard Jarrett Jack.

With regards to Bell, who was alleged to have attempted to blackmail and extort Pastner in a lawsuit filed by the coach in January 2018, his involvement in this case comes as a result of contact with former Georgia Tech players Tadric Jackson and Josh Okogie.

According to the Journal-Constitution, the NCAA states in the notice that Bell gave Jackson and Okogie $1,400 in travel expenses, clothing, shoes and meals when the tandem visited Bell in Arizona in November 2017. It was also stated that Bell purchased plane tickets for Markel Crawford, who at the time decided to transfer from Memphis. Crawford would ultimately transfer to Ole Miss instead of Georgia Tech, with Bell cancelling the tickets as a result.

It goes without saying that this isn’t a good situation for Pastner and Georgia Tech, especially when taking into consideration the program’s 2018-19 performance. Per the report the head coach is not directly blamed in the NCAA’s notice, but in recent years the governing body has placed more responsibility on coaches when it comes to knowing what’s going on in their programs.

Georgia Tech will have until May 16 to respond to the allegations in the notice.

Former Southern Miss head coach vows to fight NCAA sanctions

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Friday afternoon the NCAA Committee on Infractions announced its decision regarding its investigation into the Southern Miss men’s basketball program, which at the time of the rules violations was being led by Donnie Tyndall. The violations, which included improper benefits being given to athletes and academic fraud, resulted in a two-year postseason ban (already served, as the school self-imposed this) and show cause penalties for Tyndall and three other coaches.

Tyndall’s show cause was the most severe, as he received a ten-year penalty only matched by former Baylor head coach Dave Bliss in its severity. And this isn’t a “standard” show cause either, as Tyndall would be suspended for the duration of the penalty in addition to six months tacked on to the end of it. That’s a lot for a school to absorb should they look to hire Tyndall (not to mention the violations, which for many schools would rule Tyndall out immediately), so it’s highly unlikely that we’ll see him coaching an NCAA program any time soon.

Monday Tyndall appeared on SiriusXM “College Sports Nation” with Chris Childers to discuss the penalties handed down by the NCAA, and as one would expect he found them to be excessive. Tyndall also mentioned the testimony of Adam Howard, who worked for him at both Southern Miss and Tennessee, questioning the NCAA’s use of Howard’s testimony as part of the investigation.

“Absolutely shocked. Made me absolutely sick to my stomach,” Tyndall said on the show. “The reality of it is before the investigation started I was alleged to have paid for two Prop-48 kids sit out year. After the investigation ran its course it was proven that I did not give either kid one penny. So that’s a big part of the investigation and I feel like a 10 year show cause for some junior college guys that some schoolwork was done unbeknownst to me – I understand my responsibility as the head coach, I’ve said that from day one – this should have been a coach control penalty just like Coach Boeheim and Coach Brown got. And for whatever reason they decided to believe one person (Howard) who had said two different stories, the same story in two separate interviews and we had to fire him from Tennessee, then he changed his story in March for full immunity, and was looking himself at a 10-1 charge which is unethical conduct.And when he changed his story for full immunity said that I was the one that knew about the academic stuff, I was the one that directed it.”

“Forty other people, 50 different interviews in this case and not one person said that that was true. In fact, many many people said the exact opposite of what this guy said,” Tyndall continued. “So for them to believe one guy who had already said a different story on two different occasions, over 40 other people and 4000 pages of documentation – now think about that – 4000 pages and not one word of one sentence on one page linked me to any of that academic stuff. Again, I’m the head coach, it happened and I’m responsible for that but to be charged with knowing about it or having your hands on it, it’s wrong, it’s dead wrong. And I’ll fight it and do everything I can to protect my name forever, until I go in the dirt. Trust me, I’m fighting it to the very end.”

What comes of Tyndall’s fight against the NCAA remains to be seen, but it should come as no surprise that he (or anyone in a similar spot) would vow to not go down without looking to defend themselves by all available means. With the length of the penalty being what it is, Tyndall really doesn’t have much of a choice if he wants to return to an NCAA program.

The violations themselves would make that tough to begin with, but not coaching an NCAA program for ten-plus years before making a return? At this point Tyndall has nothing to lose by looking to fight the NCAA’s ruling.

Pacific self-imposes postseason ban in response to NCAA investigation

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The West Coast Conference tournament in March will be a nine-team affair, as the University of the Pacific announced Thursday that it was self-imposing a postseason ban for this season. This is one of the penalties the school handed down to its men’s basketball program in response to an ongoing NCAA investigation into academic misconduct.

The Tigers are currently playing without head coach Ron Verlin and assistant Dwight Young, as both were suspended by the school December 11. The school did not announce the length of the suspensions, so it remains to be seen when the coaches will return to their respective positions.

Pacific also announced that the program will lose a total of six scholarships over the next three years, and there will be limitations on recruiting as well.

“This is a difficult decision to make, but it seems clear that Level I violations have occurred, and thus immediate actions by the university are warranted,” Pacific Athletic Director Ted Leland said in the release. “Taking these actions at this stage demonstrates our steadfast commitment to integrity and fair play, and serves as a crucial step for moving the program forward.”

The WCC has yet to put together a bracket for the 2016 conference tournament. Last season seeds seven through ten played in the first round of the tournament, with the winners advancing into the quarterfinals to take on the top two seeds (1 vs. 8/9 winner; 2 vs. 7/10 winner). With that being the case, it would be easiest for there to be just one first round game (8-seed vs. 9-seed) with the winner taking on the top seed in the quarters.

 

Jim Boeheim’s NCAA suspension to begin Saturday

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Saturday marks the renewal of one of the sport’s best rivalries, as former Big East foes Syracuse and Georgetown will meet in the nation’s capital. Unfortunately, one of the most influential figures in this rivalry won’t be present.

Thursday morning the NCAA announced that Jim Boeheim’s nine-game suspension as part of the sanctions handed down for NCAA rules violations will begin with Saturday’s game. This is a change from the initial ruling that Boeheim would have to sit out the Orange’s first nine ACC games. That decision did not fall in line with the penalty handed down to SMU’s Larry Brown, who’s in the midst of his own nine-game suspension.

With that being the case the NCAA decided that like Brown, Boeheim’s suspension should not have been limited to conference games. While the fact that he’ll only miss three conference games can be viewed as a positive, the short notice of this ruling isn’t particularly fair to Boeheim or his program.

That being said, one could also make that argument in regards to the school’s timing for announcing their self-imposed postseason ban last February.

Assistant coach and head coach designate Mike Hopkins will take the reigns for Syracuse, and the earliest Boeheim can return to coaching in games will be for the Orange’s game against North Carolina January 9. During the suspension Boeheim is prohibited from having any contact with his players or coaches.

SMU won’t appeal tournament ban, Brown suspension

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Last month the NCAA announced that due to rules violations found in their investigation of the SMU men’s basketball program, the team would be banned from postseason play in 2015-16 and head coach Larry Brown would be suspended for the first nine games of the 2015-16 season. With a team led by seniors Nic Moore and Markus Kennedy and just one player (Keith Frazier) being the subject of the investigation, it was assumed that SMU would at the very least appeal the postseason ban.

Friday, the school announced that while it will appeal some of the penalties handed down by the NCAA to the men’s basketball and men’s golf programs they will not appeal the postseason ban or Brown’s suspension.

“After careful consideration, however, we will not appeal the NCAA post-season ban on men’s basketball or partial season suspension of Head Men’s Basketball Coach Larry Brown,” SMU president R. Gerald Turner stated in the release. “Although we regret the severe impact on our student-athletes, the simple fact is that the NCAA penalty structure mandates at minimum a one-year post-season ban for the level of misconduct that occurred, in our case, when a former staff member completed an online high school course for a prospective student-athlete, committing academic misconduct.

“In addition, should we appeal this matter, the lengthy process and uncertainty during this period could harm many aspects of the program. Coach Brown and his staff also agree that it is in the best interests of the program to accept these sanctions and move forward.”

Among the penalties the school will appeal (with regards to the basketball program) are the “duration of scholarship losses” and how long the recruiting restrictions placed on the program will last, and the vacating of games Frazier played in during the 2013-14 season.

This a tough turn of events for players who had nothing to do with the violations, as they see their opportunity to return to the NCAA tournament taken away. As a result of the school’s decision, SMU’s season will end March 9 following their regular season finale against Cincinnati.

Syracuse, Boeheim awaiting ruling on sanctions appeal

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Tuesday SMU head coach Larry Brown became the second coach this year to be suspended by the NCAA as a result of NCAA violations that occurred on his watch. Brown’s suspension, which will run for 30 percent of the Mustangs’ games, begins with the team’s season-opener November 13. And that’s in addition to the postseason ban handed down by the NCAA.

That differs from the punishment handed down to Syracuse’s Jim Boeheim in March, with the NCAA ruling that he has to sit out his team’s first nine ACC game as a result of NCAA rules violations.

With that being the case it was reported Wednesday by ESPN.com that Boeheim would be appealing his suspension. However, according to Donna Ditota of the Syracuse Post-Standard Boeheim will not be filing a second appeal of his suspension. That’s because the initial appeal has yet to be heard, with the expectation being that a ruling will come at some point in November.

Boeheim and the school appealed the penalties handed down by the NCAA in April.

How the NCAA rules on the appeal will be interesting, although it should be noted that Syracuse’s case differs from that of SMU. While the SMU men’s basketball investigation focused on academic fraud committed to get one player (Keith Frazier) qualified, Syracuse’s case was far more wide-reaching in scope.

But even with that being the case, both coaches will miss approximately 30 percent of their team’s games. The difference: Boeheim’s nine-game suspension falls at a more critical point in the season than Brown’s.