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Scenes from The University of Rhode Island

URI submits results of inquiry to NCAA enforcement staff

Media Contact: Linda A. Acciardo, 401-874-2116

KINGSTON, RI -- January 31, 2004 -- The University of Rhode Island forwarded to the NCAA enforcement staff a report that contains the conclusions of its internal inquiry into possible violations in the menís basketball program from the 1997-98 through the 1999-00 academic years. Based on this inquiry, the University self-reported what it believes to be six violations of NCAA regulations. The report was submitted on January 30.

The investigation, which began in March 2003, was conducted under the supervision of Louis J. Saccoccio, the Universityís general counsel, with the assistance of The Compliance Group (TCG) of Lenexa, Kan.

In its inquiry, the University interviewed nearly 50 individuals, and several were interviewed on more than one occasion. The report to the NCAA includes information about violations that the institution believes occurred, possible violations reviewed by the institution that it did not believe were supported by the available information, and proposed corrective and punitive actions to be taken by the institution. The current basketball staff was not present during the time the violations occurred almost four years ago, and no current student-athletes were involved in the violations.

"I believe the University has made a diligent effort and conducted a thorough review of information about possible violations that occurred in the menís basketball program," said URI President Robert L. Carothers. "I felt it was important to seek outside assistance to ensure an impartial inquiry was undertaken. Based upon the results, the University believes six violations occurred, and we have proposed appropriate corrective and punitive actions."

The institution has acknowledged the following violations:
(a) Several menís basketball student-athletes used telephones or computers in the menís basketball office without authorization;
(b) A coaching staff member provided transportation to a student-athlete;
(c) A coaching staff member provided approximately $250 cash to a student-athlete;
(d) A former menís basketball secretary typed a few papers for course assignments for a few student-athletes;
(e) A prospective student-athlete received several recruiting inducements in the Kingston and Providence areas; and
(f) The institution should have undertaken more effective monitoring of the athletesí use of the telephones and computers and of the activities of the prospective student-athlete.

It is customary for the NCAA enforcement staff to review the information submitted by the institution and conduct its own inquiry. Upon completion of its review, the enforcement staff will determine its position on case severity and communicate further with the University.

The Universityís inquiry developed as a result of litigation filed in U.S. District Court in April 2002, by a former menís basketball secretary. The employee filed an action against URI seeking damages, costs and attorney fees for alleged sexual harassment and alleged violations of the Rhode Island Unfair Employment Practices Act and the Rhode Island Whistle Blowerís Protection Act.

In November 2002, the former menís basketball secretary reported that violations of NCAA legislation may have occurred. In late November and December of that year, legal counsel for the involved parties took depositions and further questions were asked about NCAA legislation.

Since this is an ongoing investigation, the University cannot comment further on this inquiry, the findings, or the proposed corrective and punitive actions.