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New Mexico State University president calls NCAA decision a fair one

The NCAA Division I Committee on Infractions reached a fair decision regarding violations that occurred in the New Mexico State University men's basketball program in 1996 and 1997, University President Jay Gogue said today (June 20, 2001).


mmittee looked at us very carefully and we think the judgment was a fair one," Gogue said. "We're ready to move forward now. We plan no appeal."

The president's comments followed a news conference at which Committee on Infractions Chairman Jack Friedenthal announced the committee's findings on the violations, the majority of which were self-reported by the university to the NCAA enforcement staff in February 2000. The committee added several penalties to those the university imposed on itself last December for violations involving a former head coach and two former assistant coaches.

New Mexico State Athletics Director Brian Faison noted that none of the coaching staff or players involved in the violations are with the basketball program now.

"We are happy that we can put this matter behind us now," Faison said. "The penalties are tough because the violations were serious. We can move ahead now with confidence."

Henson said: "We accept the NCAA's decision and we look forward to next season."

The violations involved improper arrangements for future employment of a junior college coach, academic fraud on the part of the junior college coach, unethical conduct, extra benefits and recruiting and transfer infractions. The Committee on Infractions placed the men's basketball program on probation for four years, reduced the number of allowed official visits and recruiting contacts and evaluations, and imposed NCAA show-cause penalties on the former head coach and two former assistant coaches.

The university already had imposed a number of recruiting restrictions, a reduction in scholarships and a ban on post-season play in 2001.

Additional changes that are being implemented by the university include the hiring of an internal counsel for the university whose duties will include providing oversight and compliance of the university's athletics programs, Gogue said. The assistant athletics director for compliance and eligibility will report to the general counsel on all compliance issues.

In imposing its additional penalties, the NCAA committee expressed concern that the violations were similar to those in a previous case, investigated by the Committee on Infractions in 1996. "Nevertheless," the committee said in its 25-page report, "the committee was favorably impressed with the university's diligence in pursuing information relating to the findings set forth in this report and has confidence that under the university's current leadership there is a new commitment to NCAA rules compliance."

The report noted that the university has a new president, new athletics director and new coaching staff since the violations occurred. Because of the actions taken by the university "to institute appropriate corrective measures and to self-impose severe penalties upon its men's basketball program, the committee chose not to impose all of the presumptive penalties permitted under Bylaw 19.6.2, nor did it impose any of the penalties available under the repeat major violator provisions of Bylaw 19.6.2.3.2," the report stated.

The violations came to light in August 1998 in a deposition in the lawsuit filed by the former head coach against the university.

Gogue expressed thanks for the continued support of the university's faculty, staff, students, alumni and donors.

"This is a new day for New Mexico State University," he said. "We would like for this to be a day that we put our past behind us and move forward, because we have a great future ahead of us."

A copy of the committee report is available at the reference desk of New Mexico State University's Zuhl Library. The report also is available on the NCAA's Web site at www.ncaa.org.