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Tarkanian seeks deal for UNLV

Published Oct. 18, 2005

Nevada-Las Vegas basketball coach Jerry Tarkanian has offered to sit out the championship tournament, forfeit a personal stake of as much as $100,000 in playoff revenue, and abstain from recruiting for a year if the NCAA reverses a ruling blocking the Runnin' Rebels from defending their national title. The offer was one of four alternatives Tarkanian and UNLV officials presented during a two-hour meeting Sunday with the NCAA Infractions Committee, which capped a 13-year legal dogfight with UNLV in July by banishing the Runnin' Rebels from the 1991 basketball tournament.

The three other alternatives were:

UNLV's basketball team would not be permitted to compete in the 1992 tournament.

Tarkanian would sit out both the 1991 and '92 tournaments.

UNLV would make no network TV appearances during the 1991-92 season, reduce its scholarships from 15 to 13, reduce the number of official recuiting visits from 18 to nine in 1991-92, and allow no off-campus recruiting by any member of the basketball staff for a year.

Each of the four alternatives was presented as mutually exclusive, in exchange for which Tarkanian promised to pursue no further litigation against the NCAA.

The infractions committee has wide-ranging powers in the matter. It could simply let the original ruling stand, accept any one of the four proposals, or repackage portions of UNLV's four proposals.

Four of the committee's six members attended Sunday's second hearing with UNLV officials, but declined to comment on the matter. Chairman D. Alan Williams said only that a decision would be made "in a timely fashion."

Similarly, both Tarkanian and UNLV president Robert Maxson declined to comment directly. However, the 60-year-old coach, whose winning percentage is the highest among active college coaches, said of the offer, "I hope this will be sufficient."

UNLV officials had met with the infractions committee a month before the post-season ban was announced, and several of them as well as Tarkanian expressed shock at the severity of the penalty. Tarkanian had said he was willing to sit out the post-season if a bargain could be struck that would allow this year's team, which returns four starters from a squad that was 35-5, back into the tournament.

His offer to give up as much as $100,000 stems from a contractual agreement with the university that provides him with 10 percent of any revenue generated for the school through post-season play. According to estimates, UNLV pocketed about $1-million for winning the national championship.

The battle between the NCAA and UNLV dates to 1977, when the agency placed the school on probation for two years because of recruiting violations and also ordered Tarkanian suspended for two years.

The school served the probation but Tarkanian obtained a permanent injunction against the suspension that was upheld by the U.S. Supreme Court.