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The Daily Wildcat

The Daily Wildcat

 

Playing by the rules

Gordon Bates / Summer Wildcat
Gordon Bates
Gordon Bates / Summer Wildcat

Almost a week after the NCAA made its final decision on the sanctions placed on the Arizona basketball program, Assistant Director of Athletics for Administrative Services and Compliance Bill Morgan may be the most relieved person in the Arizona Athletics department.

During the almost two year investigation against the Arizona men’s basketball program, Morgan had to write up binder-loads of responses to the allegations, conduct interviews alongside the NCAA, while also tending to his normal duties.

To emphasize the amount of work that went into the investigation, Morgan simply pulls out the four suitcases under his desk that held all the papers used during the process, not to mention boxes that are held in another room.

Last Thursday, the NCAA added penalties on top of the self-imposed penalties by the UA, taking away recruiting time and an additional scholarship in the 2012-13 season.

“”The tournament was legal and we went through the process of finding out if it could be done,”” Morgan said. “” What we weren’t aware of was how they were financing it.

“”There were so many major basketball programs holding similar tournaments that it didn’t seem like it would be a problem. How it was done was the major problem.””

Though Arizona imposed its own penalties, the NCAA added penalties, which Morgan didn’t think were necessary.

“”I personally thought it was a little harsher but I understand why,”” he said. “”You don’t have to like it but you have to understand it. We thought as an institution that our self-imposed penalties were fair but they came down with it a little more, which basically means they thought it was a little more serious than we did but I understand that.””

Morgan is now glad that process is over and he can maybe finally throw away the suitcases of papers.

“”It was a pain in the ass,”” Morgan said of the process. “”We will throw the papers away really soon because they have no value. The most difficult thing to accept is that it’s affecting the new coaching staff and the players that are here now.

“”It’s the same thing that USC is going through, it’s not affecting the folks that did it, it’s affecting the folks that are there now and that’s a shame.””

Morgan has worked at the UA since 1989, when he was a recruiting coordinator for the football team under then-head coach Dick Tomey. In 1993, he was put in charge of compliance at the UA, a responsibility that at the time was relatively new to college campuses.

“”It used to be that one or two people was in compliance depending how big your department is or how much money you have,”” he said. “”We have four on our staff now. Talking to USC, including interns and administrative positions, they’re going to have 12 to 14.””

Now that the NCAA investigation is behind the basketball program, Morgan will place his focus on the brand new 420-page NCAA rule book he received this week.

“”All the changes are in gray,”” Morgan said. “”On top of that, there’s the information on the database with the interpretations, the cases, the violations and all the other things.””

Morgan knows it’s his job to make sure everyone follows the rules and coaches must realize that every decision can affect the program as a whole.

“”Somewhere along the line people have to learn that actions have consequences,”” Morgan said.

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