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The Scandals

March 11, 2003|From Staff and Wire Reports

Recent college basketball scandals:

* GEORGIA: Suspended Coach Jim Harrick with pay and withdrew from the SEC and NCAA tournaments Monday after an internal investigation showed three players received A's despite not attending a class taught by assistant coach Jim Harrick Jr. Tony Cole -- kicked off the team last year -- said Harrick Jr. paid his bills and did schoolwork for him. Harrick Jr. was fired Wednesday. Cole said he never attended the class, but received an A. Two other players -- starters Chris Daniels and Rashad Wright -- also were in the class. Both were declared ineligible Monday.

* RHODE ISLAND: A former secretary at Rhode Island said Harrick had grades changed for players, had student managers write papers for players and arranged for players to receive lodging, cars and money from boosters. In addition, Harrick Jr. was accused of falsifying hotel and meal reports for recruits.

* ST. BONAVENTURE: University President Robert Wickenheiser resigned under pressure from the school's board of trustees Sunday and Coach Jan van Breda Kolff and Athletic Director Gothard Lane were put on administrative leave, along with Wickenheiser's son, assistant coach Kort Wickenheiser. The action resulted from players' refusal to play the final two games of the regular season after the team was barred from the Atlantic 10 Conference tournament and forced to forfeit six conference victories because transfer Jamil Terrell never earned his junior college degree, only a certificate in welding.

* FRESNO STATE: The school announced March 4 it had banned its men's basketball team from playing in the NCAA or National Invitation tournaments this season after school officials confirmed allegations of academic fraud under former coach Jerry Tarkanian. The team also was disqualified from the Western Athletic Conference tournament. The school imposed the penalty after aspects of an ongoing university investigation were confirmed by a report in the Fresno Bee last month that a former team statistician admitted he wrote papers for players in exchange for cash. Stephen Mintz told the newspaper he was paid $1,500 to write papers for former players Courtney Alexander, Terrance Roberson and Dennis Nathan during the 1999-2000 season.

* VILLANOVA: Suspended 12 of its 15 men's basketball players Saturday for allegedly making unauthorized telephone calls. The suspensions -- from three to eight games -- were staggered so Villanova could field a team for its remaining regular-season game and the Big East Conference tournament. An internal investigation revealed players had been using a university access code to make unauthorized phone calls over several months. Unauthorized phone calls constitute an extra benefit that is prohibited for student-athletes under NCAA rules. For charges of $100 or less, punishment guidelines call only for the player to make restitution. For larger sums, the guidelines mandate suspensions.

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