UConn, Calhoun Punished by NCAA for Recruiting Violations

The story of UConn’s alleged NCAA violations in the recruitment of Nate Miles, which Yahoo! Sports broke in March 2009, finally has an ending.  The NCAA’s Committee on Infractions has levied various recruiting sanctions against UConn, and surprisingly has suspended UConn coach Jim Calhoun for the first three Big East games of next seasonUConn has expressed its disappointment with the ruling.

I discussed the situation with the Hartford Courant’s Paul Doyle, and was quoted in his article “Experts Weigh In on Jim Calhoun’s Punishment“.  Attorney Michael L. Buckner and ESPN’s Jay Bilas were also quoted. 

Here are my thoughts on UConn’s punishment:

Said Fitzgerald: “The sanctions are only slightly more severe than the penalties that UConn imposed upon itself, and are proportional — recruiting violations were punished with recruiting restrictions. The lack of any postseason ban must be considered a victory for UConn.”

I also discussed the NCAA’s penalty levied against Coach Calhoun:

Calhoun’s sanction surprised attorney Daniel Fitzgerald, a sports law expert and publisher of the Connecticut Sports Law blog.

“Both the University and Coach Calhoun strongly opposed the allegations for ‘failure to promote an atmosphere of compliance,’ making it difficult to speculate on an outcome,” Fitzgerald said in an e-mail. “I thought that Coach Calhoun’s counsel presented an excellent defense to the NCAA. However, NCAA bylaws and recent precedent demonstrate that coaches are held responsible for virtually everything that happens under the umbrella of their program.”

In an interesting quote, Bilas questioned whether the NCAA’s power is excessive:

I don’t understand his whole process. It’s not independent. [The NCAA] are the rules maker, the investigator, they are prosecutor, and they’re the judge and the jury, and they’re also the executioner. That’s too much power within one organization for the results to be trustworthy.”

Click here to read the article in its entirety.

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