HARTFORD, Conn. — A lawyer representing the mother of Connecticut guard Ryan Boatright says the family is considering legal options after the NCAA detailed its investigation into the freshman’s eligibility.
The NCAA has cleared Boatright to play, but said Saturday he and his mother had accepted more than $8,000 in impermissible benefits from at least two people.
Attorney Scott Tompsett issued a statement Sunday calling the NCAA’s news release false and misleading. He said the people providing the benefits were friends of the Boatright family and had “no expectation of repayment or reciprocation.”
“And there’s not a shred of evidence that they influenced Ryan’s decision to attend UConn or that they intend to represent Ryan if he ever goes pro,” he said. “The public also should know that the NCAA never told Tanesha and Ryan who made the accusations about them or told them the substance of the accusations so they could defend themselves.”
Boatright has missed nine games this season as a result of the investigation, including a six-game suspension to start the season. He also is repaying $4,500 in benefits. He was held out of the last three games as the NCAA looked into additional information.
The NCAA said it allowed Boatright to return to action after determining he has lived up to an agreement that gave him limited immunity for cooperating in the investigation, and is “likely the least culpable” of those involved in the violations.
The NCAA has issued the following statement in response to allegations made by Scott Tompsett, a lawyer representing the Boatright family:
Scott Tompsett’s allegations are not accurate. The NCAA statement regarding Ryan Boatright is factual and in response to numerous public misstatements and the resulting inaccurate reporting by some media. The NCAA acted appropriately to ensure the misleading accounts did not continue. The NCAA did not violate the student-athlete or family’s privacy in anyway, nor did it imply that the benefits were used to influence Ryan Boatright to attend the University of Connecticut.
In fact, both UConn and Boatright should be commended for their cooperation throughout the process to gather information. The school and student-athlete’s dedication to uncover the facts should be viewed as a positive example, not somehow construed negatively. Had Boatright’s mother cooperated fully from the beginning, this matter could have been settled months ago.
The 6-foot Boatright was back in uniform Sunday as UConn hosted Notre Dame. He received a standing ovation when he entered the game just under 4 minutes into the first half. His first points came on a runner in the lane at the halftime buzzer that gave UConn a 24-21 lead.
“Ryan and his mother Tanesha cooperated fully with the NCAA with the clear understanding that the information they provided would be kept confidential and would not be released to the public,” Tompsett said. “The NCAA has violated the Boatrights’ privacy by releasing their personal information.”
Tompsett said he also has represented Connecticut coach Jim Calhoun in the past.
Before Tompsett’s release, university President Susan Herbst issued a statement on Sunday praising Boatright’s character.
“This young man has shown tremendous patience and poise all the while in the national spotlight,” she said. “This is a strength of character that is seldom demanded of college freshmen and I am extraordinarily proud of him, our team and our coaching staff.”
Connecticut went 6-3 this season with Boatright out of the lineup, but dropped two of three when he was forced to sit out a second time. The Huskies (14-5, 4-3 Big East) won at Notre Dame, snapping the Irish’s 29-game home-court winning streak, before losing consecutive games to Cincinnati and Tennessee, each by three points.
The NCAA said the benefits included car payments, travel expenses for his mother during four official visits to NCAA schools, and approximately $1,200.
“In addition, Mr. Boatright was provided travel expenses, hotel, meals and training expenses during a two-night trip to California,” the organization said.
The NCAA said the benefits came from at least two people with links to “nonscholastic basketball and professional sports.”
Several news organizations, including ESPN and The New York Times, had previously reported that a plane ticket was purchased for Boatright’s mother by Reggie Rose, who runs the AAU team for which Boatright played. Rose, the brother of NBA star Derrick Rose, has declined to comment on the case.
Boatright averaged more than 10 points and three assists in the 10 games he played after being reinstated to the team.
• UConn’s Boatright cleared to play