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UConn: Major violations in basketball

HARTFORD, Conn. — The Connecticut men's basketball program committed major NCAA recruiting violations, the university announced, and it has imposed its own sanctions, including two years' probation and a loss of one scholarship for the next two seasons.

But the university said evidence does not support the NCAA allegation that coach Jim Calhoun — who has won two national titles with the Huskies — failed to promote an atmosphere for compliance.

In a report released Friday, the school acknowledged its basketball staff made impermissible telephone calls and text messages as cited by the NCAA in a May report that followed a 15-month investigation. It also admitted it improperly provided free game tickets to high school coaches and others.

A hearing is set for Oct. 15 before the NCAA infractions committee, which could accept UConn's decision or impose additional penalties.

"I am deeply disappointed the university is in this position," university president Philip E. Austin said. "It is clear mistakes have been made."

The allegations stem from the recruitment of former player Nate Miles, who was expelled from UConn in October 2008 without playing a game for the Huskies. He was charged with violating a restraining order in a case involving a woman who claimed he assaulted her.

The NCAA and the school have been investigating the program following a report by Yahoo Sports in March 2009 that former team manager Josh Nochimson helped guide Miles to UConn, giving him lodging, transportation, meals and representation.

As a former team manager, Nochimson is considered a representative of UConn's athletic interests by the NCAA and prohibited from having contact with Miles or giving him anything of value.

The school said it found the basketball staff exchanged more than 1,400 calls and 1,100 text messages with Nochimson between June 2005 and December 2008.

The school's responses to the allegations, totaling more than 700 pages, were given to the NCAA on Sept. 7 but made public Friday after the school redacted items to comply with federal education privacy laws.

Calhoun said he investigated whether there was an improper relationship between Nochimson and the recruit and warned the player against getting involved with Nochimson.

"If a prospect and an agent are going to engage in conduct violative of NCAA legislation hundreds and thousands of miles away from campus, there is only so much a head coach can do to prevent the conduct," Calhoun's attorney, Scott Tompsett, said.

The school sided with Calhoun, saying it does not agree that he "failed to promote an atmosphere of compliance," because he took steps to deter the recruit's relationship with Nochimson and did not know that Nochimson provided any benefits.

The school said improper calls were made to fewer than 10 recruits and found that Calhoun made only two improper calls.

Neither Nochimson nor Miles cooperated in the NCAA and school investigations.

Calhoun's response also said he was not involved with the vast majority of the improper benefits, did not know they were being provided and "made reasonable efforts" to try to avoid the situation.

St. Petersburg College hit with sanctions

The St. Petersburg College baseball team was slapped with sanctions by the Florida Community College Activities Association executive committee in the wake of the resignation of coach Dave Pano.

Pano resigned in September after it came to light that he had improperly offered a scholarship to an athlete. A subsequent investigation uncovered other violations.

The sanctions include:

• No postseason participation in 2010-11 and 2011-12;

• Reduction of six allowed scholarships in 2011-12 and 2012-13;

• A letter of reprimand for failure to exert institutional control over the program;

• Forfeiture of all games played in 2008-09 and 2009-10 seasons and forfeiture of Suncoast Conference title in 2008-09;

• Agreement to approve requests for transfer and provide transfer waivers for the 2010-11 academic year for St. Petersburg College baseball players;

• Agreement to submit a number of policy changes and improvements.

UConn: Major violations in basketball 10/08/10 [Last modified: Friday, October 8, 2010 8:13pm]
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