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SoCalHoops College Recruiting News

PROBATION--(April 30,1998)

Associated Press reported today that UCLA was placed on three years' probation for "violating NCAA basketball recruiting rules and giving improper benefits to athletes when Jim Harrick coached the Bruins."

However, the story notes that "the only tangible penalty is a reduction from 12 to six the number of official visits to the campus by recruits in 1998-99 and 1999-2000."

Also, since the Bruins will have only one senior and one junior on scholarship next year, the penalty should have little impact. Over the last two years, UCLA has averaged 7 visits per year.

The Bruins remain eligible to compete in postseason play and appear on television.

Additional penalties were not imposed even though UCLA was placed on probation for three years in May 1997 for violations in the softball program.

The NCAA said violations in the basketball program occurred from 1993 through '95, before the softball violations occurred. The school was placed on probation until April 30, 2001.

The Associated Press also carried a statement issued by Pete Dalis, UCLA's A.D.:

"The infractions cited in the NCAA report occurred at least 17 months ago. All of the infractions mentioned in this report were part of the Pacific-10 Conference's report. No new infractions were found during the NCAA investigation. In addition, the NCAA staff stated that the findings, only when assessed as a whole, not individually, constitute a major infractions case. It is important to point out that the infractions were self-reported by UCLA to the NCAA and that the university cooperated fully with the Pac-10 and NCAA."

David Swank, chairman of the NCAA Committee on Infractions, said the violations were worthy of more severe penalties had Harrick not been fired, and said as far as he knew, current coach Steve Lavin was not involved. Harrick was fired Nov. 6, 1996, two weeks before the start of the 1996-97 season, for an alleged recruiting violation and lying about an expense account.

Nineteen months earlier, Harrick coached UCLA to its first NCAA basketball title in 20 years. He was hired by Rhode Island after not coaching during the 1996-97 season. Harrick, cited for unethical conduct for lying to school officials during a UCLA investigation, was in West Virgina for a speaking engagement on Thursday and not immediately available for comment.

The NCAA said members of the UCLA coaching staff gave entertainment and other benefits to the coach of a club team in Los Angeles whose players included potential recruits. The coach also was given complimentary tickets to UCLA games and a 1995 championship ring, the NCAA said. Although the AP article did not identify the club coach involved, it was widely reported earlier that the coach was Pat Barrett, a former Mater Dei assistant and the coach of the "Southern California All-Stars," who was the subject of a 60 Minutes story entitled "Shoe Wars" about the battle for top high school talent between adidas and Nike.

The NCAA also cited instances of improper transportation having been provided to the mother of an athlete to watch her son play; that more telephone calls were made to prospective recruits than are allowed by NCAA rules; and that athletes were given tickets to Los Angeles Lakers games.

Also leading up to the probation was the fact that during the 1995-96 school years and the fall of 1996, 10 basketball players received various numbers of free meals at a local restaurant, owned by two former UCLA players, estimated to be worth $6 per meal. The players were required to make restitution to a charity of their choice. In the case of eight of the players, there were as few as three free meals and as many as 18 -- a total of 91. The other two didn't know how many free meals they received.

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