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Emily James | | December 22, 2015

Hawaii receives 2016-17 postseason ban

INDIANAPOLIS -- A former University of Hawaii, Manoa, men’s basketball head coach violated NCAA ethical conduct rules and did not promote an atmosphere for compliance in his program, according to a decision issued by a Division I Committee on Infractions panel. The former head coach provided false or misleading information during the investigation, allowed his director of operations to participate in coaching activities, and failed to report a possible violation.

A former assistant men’s basketball coach also violated NCAA ethical conduct rules when he provided an extra benefit to a student-athlete, provided false information about the benefit during interviews, and altered a financial responsibility form on behalf of another student-athlete.

Penalties in the case include a three-year probation period, a one-year postseason ban for the men’s basketball team, vacation of certain men’s basketball games, and a financial penalty. The former head coach received a three-year show-cause order and the former assistant coach received a two-year show-cause order. During a show-cause period, if the individuals work for a member school, their athletic duties may be restricted.

According to the facts of the case, the director of basketball operations participated in scouting and instructional on-court activities with the men’s basketball team. The former head coach knew it was impermissible for a director of operations to participate in coaching activities. After the former head coach told the director of operations not to coach and received similar direction from the compliance office, the director of operations infrequently assisted student-athletes during practice. The director of operations became a countable coach when he participated during scouting sessions and practice, causing the university to exceed its coaching limit. During the investigation, the former head coach provided false or misleading information about the director of operations’ participation in scouting and practice.

Also, the former head coach learned about a student-athlete’s impermissible use of a booster’s car. Upon finding out about the possible violation, the former head coach told the student-athlete to stop driving the car and told the booster to stay away from the men’s basketball team. However, the former head coach did not report the incident to anyone in the athletics department. Since the violation was not reported, the student-athlete’s eligibility was not restored resulting in him competing while ineligible. Additionally, the former head coach asked the men’s basketball team to keep the matter “in house.”

When the former head coach allowed the director of operations to participate in coaching activities, failed to report a possible violation and provided false or misleading information during the investigation, he violated NCAA ethical conduct rules. The panel noted in its decision that many of the violations could have been avoided if the former head coach and director of compliance would have maintained a professional relationship.

When a potential transfer student-athlete was applying to the university, he was required to submit a supplemental information form used by the university to determine if international students have the financial means to support themselves if they are admitted. The Office of Student Affairs informed the former assistant coach that the amount of support listed on the form was insufficient to allow the student-athlete to obtain a visa. Shortly after that notification, the Office of Student Affairs received a copy of the form that made it appear that the student-athlete had the means to attend the university. The former assistant coach insisted that the student-athlete’s uncle completed the revised form, but the coach later acknowledged that he altered the form and provided it to the university. The former assistant coach also allowed another student-athlete to keep an iPad that was given impermissibly to the student-athlete by the coach’s wife. The student-athlete participated in the remainder of the season without having his eligibility restored after the violation.

The former assistant coach violated NCAA ethical conduct rules when he knowingly altered an admissions form in an attempt to facilitate a student-athlete’s admission to the university. He engaged in further unethical conduct when he allowed the student-athlete to keep the iPad, then failed to provide the details surrounding the iPad during interviews with the university and NCAA enforcement staff.

Penalties and corrective actions imposed by the panel include:

• A three-year probation period from Dec. 22, 2015, through Dec. 21, 2018.
• A three-year show-cause order for the former head coach from Dec. 22, 2015, through Dec. 21, 2018. If the former coach seeks employment at an NCAA member school, he must be suspended from all coaching duties for the first 30 percent of the season, not counting exhibition games. He must also attend an NCAA Regional Rules Seminar during each year he is employed by an NCAA school during the show-cause period.
• A two-year show-cause order for the former assistant coach from Dec. 22, 2015, through Dec. 21, 2017. If he seeks employment at an NCAA member school, both the school and coach must appear before the committee to detail why his athletic duties should not be restricted.
• A reduction of men’s basketball scholarships by two for a total of 11 during the 2016-17 and 2017-18 seasons. The university may receive credit towards the scholarship reduction for its self-imposed one scholarship reduction for the 2016-17 season.
• A 2016-17 postseason ban for the men’s basketball program.
• A vacation of wins in which the men’s basketball student-athletes participated while ineligible. The university will identify the games impacted following the release of the public report.
• A prohibition of the men’s basketball staff from conducting on-campus prospect evaluations for the first five official visits of the 2015-16 academic year (self-imposed by the university).
• A reduction of the maximum number of countable athletic activity hours by one hour per week during the 2015-16 men’s basketball season (self-imposed by the university).
• A $10,000 fine, self-imposed by the university, plus 1 percent of the total budget for the men’s basketball program over the previous three years, imposed by the panel.

Members of the Committee on Infractions are drawn from NCAA membership and members of the public. The members of the panel who reviewed this case are Michael F. Adams, chancellor, Pepperdine University; Britton Banowsky, executive director of the College Football Playoff Foundation; Carol Cartwright, president emeritus at Kent State University; Greg Christopher, chief hearing officer and athletics director at Xavier University; Bobby Cremins, former head basketball coach at Georgia Institute of Technology; Joel Maturi, former University of Minnesota, Twin Cities, athletics director; and Jill Pilgrim, attorney in private practice.

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