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The Daily Wildcat

The Daily Wildcat

 

UA hoops to self-impose sanctions

JAKE LACEY/Arizona Daily Wildcat

UA vs OU
Jake Lacey
JAKE LACEY/Arizona Daily Wildcat UA vs OU

SEATTLE — The Arizona men’s basketball team will lose a future scholarship and reduce recruiting time over the next two season after a self-imposed sanction for recruiting violations, the university confirmed in a press release Friday.

UA head coach Sean Miller was mum on the specifics of the sanctions.

“”I’m going to wait until it officially comes out,”” Miller said after Thursday night’s loss to Washington. “”I’m aware of it and I was aware of it prior to even becoming the coach at Arizona. It doesn’t come as a surprise to me and I’m very confident that our athletic department and university is handling everything the way you’d want it to be handled.””

The basketball team will be placed on probation for the 2010-11 and 2011-12 seasons, will give up one scholarship for the 2011-12 academic year, reduce the number of official visits the university is allowed to give, along with the number of days coaches are allowed to recruit for both seasons.

The number of coaches allowed to recruit off campus at one time for this upcoming summer has also been reduced.

The university and NCAA staff conducted almost 50 interviews with Arizona coaches, administrators, student-athletes and other individuals outside of the school, the press release stated.

“”The University of Arizona has a long tradition of maintaining the highest standards of integrity in its athletics programs,”” said UA interim Athletics Director Kathleen “”Rocky”” LaRose in the press release.

The violations occurred in 2008 when former head coach Lute Olson signed a letter to boosters seeking financial contributions to the Cactus Classic AAU tournament held in McKale Center and Bear Down Gym.

At the time, Olson denied knowledge of the letter and said it was an electronic signature.

“”I am very embarrassed that this letter was sent,”” Olson said in a follow-up letter released in 2008. “”I have already met with our compliance officer to apologize about this letter. Please accept my deepest apology.””

The NCAA prohibits institutional representatives from providing or arranging financial assistances, both directly and indirectly, which includes the costs of a recruit’s expenses prior to enrollment.

In a statement obtained by the Daily Wildcat on Sept. 15, 2008, former UA Athletic Director Jim Livengood filed the NCAA Level II self-infraction earlier that summer, citing a letter Olson allegedly signed seeking private donations for the Cactus Classic.

Olson released a follow-up retraction to the boosters, claiming the original letter was sent from the basketball operations office without him ever seeing or approving it, as “”it was a clear cut violation of NCAA rules.””

Cactus Classic Director Jim Storey was advised not to contact the donors or accept donations from this letter, which originally stated: “”Jim needs support from private donations. The athletics department can’t assist in any way. This is why your help is crucial.””

Storey was not a member of the AAU in 2006 through the present.

The AAU refutes involvement in the Cactus Classic of 2008.

“”This is a horrific misrepresentation of the AAU,”” Bobby Dodd, president of the Amateur Athletic Union of the United States, Inc., told AAUNews.org.

From the archives: Did Lute Olson break the rules? (09/16/08)

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