NCAA announces sanctions against UH men's basketball team - Hawaii News Now - KGMB and KHNL

NCAA announces sanctions against UH men's basketball team

MANOA, OAHU (HawaiiNewsNow) -

The NCAA Committee on Infractions announced Tuesday morning that as part of penalties against the UH men’s basketball team, the university will lose two scholarships as well as face a post-season ban for next season and a three-year probation, effective immediately until 2018.

In addition, former head coach Gib Arnold will be suspended from nine games. However, the NCAA panel cleared Arnold of all “Level I” violations – considered the most serious – and have reduced them to “Level II” charges. All “Level II” violations were dropped to “Level III,” and a number of other charges were dropped altogether.

In January, the team was charged with seven violations: three “Level I” and four “Level II.” Two of the “Level I” infractions were specifically against Arnold, who is accused of knowingly providing false information to the NCAA and influencing others to do so on multiple occasions.

The third “Level I” violation was against ex-assistant coach Brandyn Akana, who was charged with dishonest conduct, including lying and giving an Apple iPad to former star player Isaac Fotu.

Most of the “Level II” allegations – defined as “providing a minimal recruiting, competitive or other advantage” – include allegedly allowing the director of operations to participate in on-court activities, exceeding the number of coaches for the team; holding “impermissible” tryouts with recruits; and a booster loaning a Porsche to a student for the weekend.

In addition, Arnold and Akana allegedly provided an impermissible benefit in the form of a hotel stay for a player and three recruits.

UH did its part to try and soften the blow when it self-imposed sanctions in May.

Penalties and corrective actions imposed by the panel include:

  • A three-year probation period from Dec. 22, 2015, through Dec. 21, 2018.
  • A three-year show-cause order for the former head coach from Dec. 22, 2015, through Dec. 21, 2018. If the former coach seeks employment at an NCAA member school, he must be suspended from all coaching duties for the first 30 percent of the season, not counting exhibition games. He must also attend an NCAA Regional Rules Seminar during each year he is employed by an NCAA school during the show-cause period.
  • A two-year show-cause order for the former assistant coach from Dec. 22, 2015, through Dec. 21, 2017. If he seeks employment at an NCAA member school, both the school and coach must appear before the committee to detail why his athletic duties should not be restricted.
  • A reduction of men’s basketball scholarships by two for a total of 11 during the 2016-17 and 2017-18 seasons. The university may receive credit towards the scholarship reduction for its self-imposed one scholarship reduction for the 2016-17 season.
  • A 2016-17 postseason ban for the men’s basketball program.
  • A vacation of wins in which the men’s basketball student-athletes participated while ineligible. The university will identify the games impacted following the release of the public report.
  • A prohibition of the men’s basketball staff from conducting on-campus prospect evaluations for the first five official visits of the 2015-16 academic year (self-imposed by the university).
  • A reduction of the maximum number of countable athletic activity hours by one hour per week during the 2015-16 men’s basketball season (self-imposed by the university).
  • A $10,000 fine, self-imposed by the university, plus 1 percent of the total budget for the men’s basketball program over the previous three years, imposed by the panel.

Tuesday’s decision means Arnold can return to coaching in the near future if he chooses.

"I think the University sent the wrong message to the players and the public by lying down without a fight," Arnold said in a statement.  "While it helped them to oust me, it does harm to the program. We teach the kids to never give up, to fight on against the odds, and to stick up for and stand by one another. I lived by that example, and I think the players can take heart from that.  They (UH) didn’t have to lose two scholarships and receive a post-season ban.  I truly think we could have achieved that, had the school stood by me.”

Arnold's attorney's at Bickerton Dang, LLP will hold a press conference at 2:30 p.m. to discuss the panel's decision.  UH is also expected to comment this afternoon.

In October, Arnold got a $700,000 settlement after he sued over his removal as head coach.

Arnold was fired in 2014 after the NCAA started investigating the men's basketball program. He later sued, saying he was entitled to a payout because he was fired without cause.

We’ll have developing details on Hawaii News Now starting at 5 p.m. on KGMB and KHNL.

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