INDIANAPOLIS - Missouri’s basketball team was placed on three years’ probation Wednesday for NCAA recruiting violations but avoided a ban on postseason play.
The infractions committee took away one scholarship next year and two in 2006-07 and limited all basketball coaches to recruiting on campus until November 2005.
“We felt the off-campus ban would be a significant statement on the violations and removes the criticism of punishing current student-athletes,” committee chairman Thomas Yeager said in a conference call.
The penalty prevents coaches from visiting high schools, making home visits, attending summer camps and even giving speeches at high-school awards banquets. Yeager said the ban had not been imposed since 1990 when Illinois’ basketball team was punished.
Missouri chancellor Brady Deaton said the school would not appeal.
Coach Quin Snyder said he hoped the Tigers would still be competitive in recruiting because of the school’s new $75 million arena.
“I still think we’re going to be able to be successful in recruiting,” he said. “We just need to get people to come to Columbia and see it.”
The committee found the Tigers violated NCAA recruiting rules from 1999-003 and rejected the school’s explanation that most of the violations were inadvertent.
“The men’s basketball staff had the benefit of extensive rules education and compliance procedures,” the committee said. “Nevertheless, the men’s basketball staff took risks and pushed the limits with respect to recruiting legislation, particularly while recruiting top prospects.”
The case came to light when former point guard Ricky Clemons accused ex-assistant coach Tony Harvey of paying him $250. Harvey later resigned.
The committee did not mention Clemons or Harvey by name in its report but acknowledged that an assistant coach violated NCAA rules by buying meals, providing transportation and illegally contacting recruits and their families.
“The charge of being paid $250 on one occasion, we bandied that about a great deal,” committee chairman Thomas Yeager said in a conference call. “But we felt the information didn’t rise to the level we could make a finding on it.”
University officials already said they were putting the program on probation for two years, but the NCAA decided to extend the punishment through 2007. Coaches also will be prohibited from off-campus recruiting through November 2005.
“We felt the off-campus ban would be a significant statement on the violations and removes the criticism of punishing current student-athletes,” Yeager said.
In addition, the Tigers must reduce the number of official paid visits from 12 to nine this year and next year although Missouri could delay that penalty by one year.
Additional punishments include a public reprimand and censure. The committee also accepted the school’s self-imposed sanctions that include not renegotiating coach Quin Snyder’s contract until July 2006.
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