Larry Brown has gotten himself into hot water with the NCAA again. The organization has banned SMU from postseason play in 2016 and suspended Brown for 30 percent of the team’s games this year. SMU will also lose nine scholarships over the next three years and be placed on three years’ probation. The news was initially reported by ESPN’s Jeff Goodman and confirmed by a press release the NCAA released earlier today.
Details are in the release, but essentially, the NCAA alleged that an assistant coach did all of the online coursework for a player to get him eligible. The NCAA did not name the individuals involved, but Goodman reported that the coach was Ulric Maligi and the player was junior guard Keith Frazier.
From the NCAA:
A former assistant men’s basketball coach encouraged a student-athlete to enroll in an online course to meet NCAA initial eligibility standards and be admitted to the university. After he enrolled in the course, a former men’s basketball administrative assistant obtained the student’s username and password then completed all of his coursework. The student-athlete received fraudulent credit for the course and, as a result, competed while ineligible during his freshman season. When speaking with NCAA enforcement staff, the student-athlete admitted that the former administrative assistant asked him to provide false information during the interview. In its decision, the panel noted it is very troubled that academic advising was administered by athletics staff.
The former administrative assistant violated NCAA’s ethical conduct rules when she provided false information during her interviews and attempted to influence a student-athlete to provide false information during his interview. The administrative assistant initially cooperated with the investigation, but later ended the second interview early, refused to provide documentation and denied additional interview requests.
While the university noted the head basketball coach received rules education, the panel noted it did not see a record of steps the he took to establish and ensure a culture of compliance within his program. Although the head basketball coach did not have direct knowledge or involvement in the misconduct, he did not follow up on the completion of coursework. Upon learning of the misconduct in 2014, the head basketball coach did not report it to the compliance staff, conference office or enforcement staff for more than a month. When asked by the NCAA enforcement staff about the potential violations, the head basketball coach initially denied having any information about the conversations with the former administrative assistant and student-athlete.
The head basketball coach failed to promote an atmosphere of compliance within his program. He failed to report the violations when the former administrative assistant committed academic fraud on behalf of the student-athlete and he initially lied to enforcement staff about his knowledge of the potential violations.