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Lavin Cleared in Pac-10 Probe

COLLEGE BASKETBALL

October 13, 2001|STEVE HENSON | TIMES STAFF WRITER

The Pacific 10 Conference announced Friday that an investigation of UCLA basketball Coach Steve Lavin produced no evidence of wrongdoing. The probe was triggered by a March 26 e-mail that listed a number of purported NCAA rules violations.

However, UCLA told the Pac-10 that recruiting violations by Lavin and assistant Jim Saia last spring possibly did occur. The coaches allegedly had improper contact with Torrance Bishop Montgomery High player Errick Craven in the office of Craven's coach in March 2000.

Lavin is also being investigated for a violation involving a group of high school players who visited the UCLA campus and met with Lavin on July 31 while they were playing in a club tournament at Loyola Marymount.

NCAA rules stipulate that a coach cannot have contact with players during a tournament.

Both potential violations would be considered secondary by the NCAA and probably would not result in strong sanctions against Lavin or UCLA.

However, allegations in the e-mail, authored by "Dave Gibson," were serious. Pete Dalis, the UCLA athletic director, forwarded a copy of the e-mail to the Pac-10 and requested an investigation.

Dalis suggested to reporters in March that Dave Gibson might be Alan Elliott, an on-line writer who has been critical of the UCLA program.

On Friday, Dalis issued an apology to Elliott that read in part, "Mr. Dalis has learned that [Elliott] was not in any way involved in the events surrounding the creation or distribution of e-mail from Dave Gibson, nor has Mr. Dalis become aware of any reason to question Mr. Elliott."

Requests to interview Lavin and Dalis were denied.

UCLA spokesman Marc Dellins said athletics officials do not know the identity of Dave Gibson. Dellins said Dalis replied to the e-mail and invited Gibson to meet with him but received no response.

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