UC loses 3 scholarships
Bearcats escape post-season, TV ban

Thursday, November 5, 1998

BY JOE KAY
The Associated Press

[administrators]
Heading toward a media briefing on the NCAA penalties: coach Bob Huggins, general counsel Jim Wesner, president Joseph Steger and AD Bob Goin.
(Michael E. Keating photo)

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The University of Cincinnati lost three men's basketball scholarships and was put on two years' probation by the NCAA today for wide-ranging violations in coach Bob Huggins' program.

However, the university avoided a postseason ban and was cleared to reinstate assistant coach John Loyer, who was involved in some of the most major violations.

Huggins, who was not directly named in any of the dozens of violations, expected less severe sanctions. The university will not appeal the NCAA's findings.

"I feel very bad about it particularly because it's affected people's lives," Huggins said today. "I think it's affected the university - I feel bad about that. I feel bad that it's affected people's lives and reputations.

"There were a lot of mistakes made by a lot of people. I don't think you can narrow it down to one or two people."

[administrators]
Huggins listens before his turn to address the media.
(Michael E. Keating photo)

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The NCAA maintained there was a lack of institutional control, resulting in violations involving numerous players, a manager and Loyer, who was Huggins' top assistant.

University president Joseph Steger said Loyer will remain on paid leave while the administration decides whether he has violated the university's code of conduct by his involvement in the infractions. A decision on whether to reinstate him could be reached within a week or two, he said.

The Bearcats will lose three scholarships between 1999-2001 and be limited in their recruiting.

The sanctions are in addition to the recruiting restrictions the university put in place last summer as part of a self-imposed one-year probation.

"It is a serious case," said Yvonne Slatton, acting head of the NCAA's Committee on Infractions. "We considered it a serious case and I think the penalties imposed are consistent with that."

[goin]
AD Bob Goin speaks at press conference.
(Michael E. Keating photo)

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In its report today, the committee decided that more punishment was warranted in addition to the self-imposed probation "given the significant violations over a lengthy period of time."

If any further violations occur within the next five years, the program will be subject to much more severe penalties under the NCAA's repeat-violator provisions.

The sanctions came 22 months after the university began looking into the eligibility of point guard Charles Williams, an investigation that expanded and found numerous problems in the program.

Loyer, linked to some of the most severe violations involving Williams, has remained on paid leave during the investigation. If he is reinstated by the university, he would not be allowed to recruit off campus for one year.

The university was not particularly pleased with the timing of the announcement. After waiting twice as long as had been suggested to receive the report, UC hoped it would be released Wednesday so it would not coincide with the football team's appearance on ESPN Thursday night, and accounts of the NCAA press conference would not fill the papers when recruit DerMarr Johnson arrives Friday for his official visit.

MORE DETAILS
  • NCAA announcement
  • Complete NCAA report
  • UC's problems were first uncovered during the 1996-97 basketball season when questions were raised about Williams' eligibility.

    In the months that followed, the university uncovered violations involving a manager, Loyer, boosters and players. The manager was fired, Loyer was placed on leave, players were suspended and supervision of the program was tightened.

    The university's finding prompted the NCAA to conclude there was a lack of institutional control over Huggins' program, leaving it subject to major penalties. The university responded by doing an about-face last June in hopes of softening the blow.

    New Athletic Director Bob Goin withdrew the university's admission to some of the violations and contested the lack-of-control allegation. He also imposed a one-year probation - essentially, a limit on recruiting - and hoped that would appease the association.

    The NCAA's Committee on Infractions heard testimony in the case last August.

    Williams received what amounted to a one-year suspension from the NCAA for receiving improper academic and financial assistance. He withdrew from the school and has filed a lawsuit claiming the university should have followed the NCAA rules.

    The investigation has had a profound impact on the UC athletic program - off the court and on.

    It led to the replacement of former AD Gerald O'Dell with Goin, and to Goin's implementation of stricter controls and greater accountability for the basketball program and other UC athletic teams. It led to Goin revamping the athletic administrative staff with four associate athletic directors and one assistant AD who were not in place a year ago.

    UC compiled a 39-11 record since Jan. 28, 1997, the day the investigative process began, a mark diminished primarily by two second-round NCAA Tournament exits.

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