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NCAA slaps UConn men's basketball team with penalties

From Logan Burruss, CNN
UConn coach Jim Calhoun allowed a booster and NBA agent to participate in recruitment, the NCAA says.
UConn coach Jim Calhoun allowed a booster and NBA agent to participate in recruitment, the NCAA says.
  • Allegations include improper recruiting inducements, prohibited phone calls and texts
  • Head coach Jim Calhoun on his three-game suspension: "I am very disappointed"
  • Penalties include recruitment restrictions, scholarship reductions, 3 years probation
  • The NCAA is being criticized for being too soft on punishing the UConn coaching staff.

New York (CNN) -- The University of Connecticut men's basketball program will be penalized for recruitment violations, including a suspension for head coach Jim Calhoun, the NCAA announced Tuesday.

"The case includes more than $6,000 in improper recruiting inducements, impermissible phone calls and text messages to prospective student-athletes," the NCAA said. Additional allegations include, "failure to monitor and promote an atmosphere for compliance by the head coach, failure to monitor by the university, and unethical conduct by the former operations director."

Following a two-year investigation, the Division I Committee on Infractions found that UConn men's basketball staff members violated NCAA rules, exchanging 150 calls and 190 text messages with prospective recruits, and providing complimentary game tickets.

The committee also found that Calhoun, who has been head coach for 24 years, knowingly allowed a booster and certified NBA agent to participate in recruitment and make prohibited financial contributions to a potential student-athlete.

"Penalties include suspension of the head coach for three conference games during the 2011-12 season, scholarship reductions for three academic years, recruiting restrictions, permanent disassociation of a booster and three years probation," the NCAA announced.

Calhoun responded, saying, "I am very disappointed with the NCAA's decision in this case. My lawyer and I are evaluating my options and will make a decision which way to proceed."

In addition, the coaches and compliance staff must attend the NCAA Regional Rules Seminar. The former operations director was penalized with a two-year show-cause order, which essentially prevents him from participating in college basketball during the time allotted.

"Let me be very clear, we will comply fully with the NCAA's sanctions and work with great resolve to restore the luster to our men's basketball program," University of Connecticut President Philip Austin said Tuesday.

Dr. Dean Thomas, chair of the Committee on Infractions, defended the decision against claims from reporters that the punishment might have been too weak.

"I can assure you with 100% accuracy that the committee is not influenced by high-profile cases or high-profile coaches," Thomas said on a conference call. "The committee bases its deliberations on the information presented."