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Scenes from The University of Rhode Island

NCAA enforcement staff concludes review of URI self-report; determines violations to be secondary in nature

Media Contact: URI Communications, 401-874-2116

KINGSTON, RI. -- June 9, 2004 -- The NCAA enforcement staff has concluded its review of a self-report submitted by the University of Rhode Island (URI) concerning possible violations of NCAA legislation in its basketball program from the 1997-98 through the 1999-00 academic years. It determined that the violations acknowledged by the University are secondary in nature.

The NCAA staff accepted the University’s self-imposed corrective and punitive actions as appropriate and took no further action. The staff also commended the University for the “thoroughness” of its report.

URI President Robert L. Carothers said, “The University undertook a thorough inquiry concerning possible violations reported to it and made a good-faith effort in its determination of whether the available information supported findings of NCAA violations. The University also imposed appropriate corrective and punitive actions. We are grateful that the NCAA staff agreed with those assessments.”

“I’m glad that the NCAA completed its review of this entire matter,” said Jim Baron, head coach, men’s basketball. “At least we now know how our program will be impacted over the next three years. We’ll work around the loss of the scholarships, take it one step at a time, and go into a new season with a clean slate. I continue to be committed to a successful basketball program that drives student-athletes to be their best on the court and in the classroom.”

The University’s inquiry began in November 2002 in response to interrogatories in a lawsuit between the University and a former men’s basketball secretary when the former secretary reported that violations of NCAA legislation may have occurred. Shortly after being informed of this information, President Carothers directed the University’s general counsel and the compliance coordinator to begin a review of the information. The University retained The Compliance Group (TCG) of Lenexa, Kansas, in March 2003 to assist in the inquiry, add expertise on NCAA infractions matters, and obtain an outside, independent assessment of the information.

In its self-report, submitted to the NCAA in January, the institution acknowledged the following violations:

(a) Several men’s basketball student-athletes used telephones or computers in the men’s 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. (The University suggested and the NCAA staff concurred that the provision occurred outside of the NCAA statute of limitations and no institutional responsibility would exist for this violation);

(d) A former men’s 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 North Kingstown/Providence area; and

(f) The institution should have undertaken more effective monitoring of the athletes’ use of the telephones and computers and of the activities of the prospective student-athlete.

The University noted in the report that nearly all violations occurred prior to the fall of 1999. The majority of the members of the coaching staff who were present during the time of many of the violations left the University in 1998 or 1999 and no current member of the men’s basketball coaching staff were involved (nor were they employed) during the time of the violations. Further, the violations did not provide any significant recruiting or competitive advantage for the University.

The punitive actions accepted by the NCAA include a reduction in the number of total scholarships in men’s basketball by one each year during the 2005-06, 2006-07, and 2007-08 academic years. It also includes a reduction in the number of off-campus evaluation days during the academic year by three (from 40 to 37) during the 2004-05 academic year and two (from 40 to 38) during the 2005-06 academic year.