The NCAA concluded a 10-month investigation into the Georgia men's basketball program yesterday by placing the school on four years' probation and citing the team's former assistant coach with unethical conduct and academic fraud.
The school avoided significant penalty because it had banned its team from the 2003 postseason after affirming allegations that centered around former assistant Jim Harrick Jr., son of former head coach Jim Harrick. Harrick Jr., whose contract was not renewed in 2003, now must seek the NCAA's permission if he wishes to coach again before 2011.
The NCAA affirmed violations that included Harrick Jr. providing $300 to a friend of former player Tony Cole for the player's expenses and fraudulently awarding "A" grades to three men's basketball players in a course Harrick Jr. taught. Harrick Jr. also encouraged two players in the class to provide misleading information to investigators, the NCAA ruled.
Thomas Yeager, the NCAA infractions committee chairman, called it an "egregious" academic fraud case.
The investigation also found that the school allowed six players to make $1,572.66 worth of long-distance telephone calls.
Other penalties included cutting one men's basketball scholarship per year for three seasons (beginning in 2005) and vacating wins and records of six players who participated while ineligible between 2001 and 2003. Georgia will appeal the ruling.
-- Eric Prisbell