UConn Joins The NCAA Sanction Party: How Much Trouble Are They In?

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↵With UConn's receipt of a lengthy Notice of Allegations after an investigation spurred by a Yahoo! investigation into the recruitment of small forward Nate Miles, one thing is for certain: it is NCAA violation season. Michigan's football program has just announced a platter of minor sanctions and awaits their hearing in front of the NCAA committee. That committee, meanwhile, is still going through USC football's enormous dossier, line by line, and will undoubtedly be hearing something from Oklahoma basketball ("please don't kill us") in the near future. For its part, Yahoo! just broke a major ticket-scalping operation inside the Kansas athletic department that may or may not bring down NCAA justice upon them. NCAA violations are this summer's Furby. ↵

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↵In UConn's specific case, the main accusations are at least 150 impermissible phone calls, 200 further impermissible texts on top of that, and extensive contact with one Josh Nochimson, a former UConn student manager turned sketchy agent (Richard Hamilton fired Nochimson after accusing him of stealing a million dollars) who was trying to get in Miles's pockets. From the March 25th Yahoo article: ↵

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↵⇥Miles was provided with lodging, transportation, restaurant meals and representation by Josh Nochimson a professional sports agent and former UConn student manager between 2006 and 2008, according to multiple sources. ↵⇥

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↵The NCAA confirmed this, found the impermissible contact on top of everything, asks for a 1999(!) email from an associate AD clearly stating to the basketball coaches that Nochimson was someone they should not talk to. Kevin Meacham from the UConn Blog provides some detail: ↵

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↵⇥-Most damning, to me, the NCAA is requesting a copy of a letter from 1999, from then-associate AD Bill Shults in which the administrator writes to the mens basketball coaching staff describing Nochimsons potential status as a sports agent and advising the staff of NCAA legislation to such status, meaning they (or Calhoun, at least) WERE aware that talking to him was a no-no. ↵⇥

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↵Two UConn assistants also lied to the NCAA and were named in the NOA; both resigned today. The rest of the charges are the usual failure to monitor stuff and the newly-vogue "failure to promote an atmosphere of compliance" that directly targets coaches. Michigan's Rich Rodriguez was targeted with similar language in that case; it's the lone allegation Michigan has chosen to dispute in their response to the NCAA. In UConn's case they will be hard-pressed to argue Calhoun did not know about the impermissible phone calls. Michigan is arguing that Rodriguez was not told about the missing documents at Michigan for 18 months, and they have email to back that up. ↵

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↵It's tough to get a read on how much pain UConn will suffer. It probably won't be as insignificant as The UConn Blog thinks (they're under the misconception that the NCAA cares where Miles ended up, which they are not). If previous cases are any indication, at a bare minimum UConn will be hit with recruiting restrictions similar to those endured by Kelvin Sampson, scholarship reductions illegal benefits are accused and are almost always accompanied by reductions and individual coach sanctions. ↵

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↵A postseason ban? That's the question, one that a heavily-redacted UConn release won't reveal. UConn has three months to prepare a response, at which point they'll self-impose something and hope that works for the committee. How much Calhoun and the compliance staff knew and when they knew it will be key. Redaction past implies redaction future, though, and it looks like UConn will seek to minimize the PR hit with black ink. We won't know much until October. ↵

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This post originally appeared on the Sporting Blog. For more, see The Sporting Blog Archives.

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