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Archive for Sunday, December 15, 2002

Fresno State put on probation

School’s basketball team, athletic department penalized

December 15, 2002

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— Fresno State has placed its basketball team and athletic department on probation for two years for numerous NCAA rules violations, including payments from agents to players.

The decision came after a two-year probe by the university and NCAA that dogged the final years of basketball coach Jerry Tarkanian's tenure.

One of the violations included gifts that one of Tarkanian's former players, Houston Rockets guard Tito Maddox, accepted from an agent. He was dismissed from school after accepting airline tickets from an agent and recently told The Fresno Bee that he received $30,000 from an agent.

The basketball program was also disciplined for accepting thousands of dollars in free meals from a Japanese restaurant and for holding unauthorized practices.

The actions were in response to problems across other fields of play that included major violations and judgment errors, university president John Welty said.

The NCAA said in a letter to the school this past summer that it found a lack of institutional control over the entire department. Most of the violations were discovered by the university and turned over to the NCAA, which found additional violations.

There were eligibility infractions in the men's soccer and basketball programs, in which players didn't meet the grade requirements to compete. Women's basketball committed a recruiting violation by tutoring a player and using staff to provide transportation.

Al Bohl, now athletic director at Kansas University, was Fresno State's AD during that period.

School officials met Friday with NCAA officials in Indianapolis and announced a number of steps to make amends, including probation.

The probation status means that additional violations could expose the school to more severe penalties in the next two years, said assistant athletic director Steve Weakland. It will not prevent teams from playing in any contests.

In addition, the university said it will eliminate three basketball scholarships for the school years beginning in the fall of 2004 and 2005.

Athletic director Scott Johnson must draw up a plan to teach his department about NCAA rules. A free-ticket policy that was being abused also must be revised.

The NCAA took no action, but was expected to issue findings in the next three months.

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