UCLA, which has participated in the NCAA basketball championship tournament for the last 15 seasons, will at least be reprimanded by the NCAA and may face probation that would make it ineligible for the 1982 tournament, it was learned yesterday.
School officials said yesterday that they have received the findings of an NCAA investigation into the school's athletic program. But they refused to reveal its findings because the university has 15 days to decide whether to appeal. In short, UCLA has been found guilty of something.
According to sources, UCLA is expecting one year's probation for its basketball team, meaning the eighth-ranked Bruins would not be eligible for this season's tournament.
Kerry Boagni, a 6-foot-9 center from Serra High School of Gardena, Calif., who has announced he would attend UCLA next year, told Josh Rosenfeld of The Los Angeles Herald-Examiner that Bruin Coach Larry Farmer had assured him that "whatever the NCAA did wouldn't affect me."
Reportedly, UCLA was being investigated for a number of minor violations that took place during former coach Larry Brown's first year at the school and also because of the acquisition of cars by Brown's four freshmen that first season.
Earlier this week, a UCLA official said the school was hoping that the NCAA would only reprimand the school for the minor violations and would not keep the team from participating in the tournament.
According to sources, UCLA will not appeal the findings if it receives one year of sanctions or a reprimand. Anything beyond that, though, and the school is likely to appeal and could drag the appeal out long enough to keep the team eligible for this season's tournament.
Yesterday, UCLA Vice Chancellor Christian Smith, acknowledging receipt of the NCAA findings, refused to shed any light on the matter. "This matter is confidential, both at UCLA and with the NCAA," he said.
It is to UCLA's advantage to keep the findings secret for as long as possible.
Farmer has said that he believes the NCAA is investigating a number of minor incidents, not one big one. Apparently, sources say, Farmer believes UCLA is likely to be cleared on the charges involving the cars.
Farmer told The Los Angeles Times Monday that he has told his players not to worry about the investigation, "because there's nothing we can do about it. I know as much as they do. Whatever happens, it won't affect our schedule or our approach to the season."
UCLA was one of five Pacific-10 schools placed on football probation by the conference last year on charges concerning phony academic credits. The others were Southern Cal, Oregon State, Arizona and Arizona State. The NCAA since has imposed sanctions on Arizona State and reportedly is investigating the other four football programs.