Thursday, January 31, 2002

UK to get word on NCAA sanctions today

Penalties stem from 1998-2000 recruiting violations by Bassett

The Associated Press

        LEXINGTON, Ky. — Kentucky will learn today what sanctions the NCAA will impose for rules violations by the school's football program.

        The school has admitted more than three dozen violations that occurred from 1998 to 2000, many committed by former recruiting coordinator Claude Bassett. All were committed during the tenure of former coach Hal Mumme, who resigned in February.

        Kentucky football spokesman Tony Neely said the school will hold a news conference after the NCAA announcement, which is expected to come during an 11a.m. teleconference.

        “We're not allowed to make any kind of official statements until after the NCAA has officially announced the penalties,” Neely said.

        The violations admitted by Kentucky include Bassett sending more than $1,000 in money orders to the coach of a Memphis, Tenn., high school where UK was courting recruits.

        Kentucky officials presented their case to the NCAA during a Nov. 16 hearing and originally expected to be informed of the penalties by Christmas.

        But the decision was delayed when the infractions committee asked the school to submit a report outlining why the committee should not add a charge of lack of institutional control to the litany of allegations it already faces.

        A finding of lack of institutional control — which would indicate that the athletics department failed to establish or enforce procedures designed to deter NCAA rule violations — would stiffen the sanctions.

        The school received a memo from the NCAA's enforcement committee earlier this month that recommended to the infractions committee that Kentucky not by charged with lack of institutional control. The memo stated that Bassett broke rules with an intent to avoid detection by the school's compliance staff.

        The school already has self-imposed a number of penalties, including a reduction of scholarships, recruiting visits and coaches allowed to recruit off campus.


        The school made another embarrassing revelation, admitting that a second assistant coach had an error in his school-released biography.

        Receivers coach Tommie Robinson, hired Jan.4 by coach Chan Gailey, did not earn a masters degree from Troy State in 1987, as the school originally said in its news release.

        A month ago, former coach George O'Leary lied on his resume, costing him a new job at Notre Dame. Gailey's newly hired defensive coordinator, Rick Smith, said Monday that he never played on the football and baseball teams at Florida State, as stated in his biography.

        After Smith's discrepancies came to light, Stamus and his staff contacted each assistant coach to make sure there were no other mistakes. That's when Robinson pointed out that he didn't earn a masters degree in education from Troy State, his alma mater. Stamus said the error originated in the 2001 media guide at Oklahoma State, where Robinson worked for one year as a running backs coach.

        “He told them up front that he did not have a master's degree,” Stamus said. “He worked on his masters degree at Troy State, and further at Arkansas when he was there (with a later coaching job), but he was six hours short.”

        Georgia Tech has formed a three-person committee to look into the hiring of Smith and Robinson. The panel will look into possible disciplinary action against school employees in the hiring of those coaches, as well as athletic department policies for checking out the backgrounds of coaches and releasing the information publicly.

        Neither assistant is expected to lose his job.


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