NCAA report shines harsh spotlight on UH compliance staff - Hawaii News Now - KGMB and KHNL

NCAA report shines harsh spotlight on UH compliance staff

Amanda Paterson Amanda Paterson
HONOLULU (HawaiiNewsNow) -

While the NCAA downgraded the most serious Level 1 violations against former University of Hawaii men's basketball coach Gib Arnold, its investigation is shining a harsh spotlight on UH's compliance department.

"They found that the university's compliance officer had really not done her job, which contributed to a lot of the problem," said Arnold's attorney James Bickerton.

Amanda Paterson has headed that department since 2008, where her role is to monitor student-athlete eligibility and to ensure that sports programs comply with NCAA rules. But according to the NCAA, Paterson's relationship with Arnold was so hostile that she rarely spoke with the former coach or his staff.

Investigators said she once said to a former assistant that she would not "not lift a finger" to help Arnold while Arnold told players that she was "an enemy who could not be trusted."

"She reported an NCAA rules violation regarding the men's basketball program to the conference office without informing any member of the men's basketball staff," the NCAA said. "Had they worked more collaboratively in their dealings, at least some of the violations in this case would likely not have occurred."

Paterson could not be reached. She recently was promoted to assistant athletic director, a job that pays up to $143,000 a year.

UH Athletics Director Dave Matlin defended Paterson and said the school has beefed up its compliance staff and increased compliance staff attendance at practices.

"I've spoke to many of our coaches about Amanda and her relationship with coaches and I've worked with Amanda. Not just in this job. But the situation between Gib and Amanda, the situation Gib was talking about was an anomaly," Matlin said.

Paterson also played a prominent role in allegations that former director of operations Scott Fisher improperly coached players and that Arnold had covered it up, the NCAA said.

Fisher initially denied the allegation, then changed his story after he was contacted by phone by Paterson, Bickerton said.

"The NCAA found no violation which tells you they found Scott Fisher's claim to be non-credible," said Bickerton.

Bickerton said he's requested all of Paterson's emails and phone records under the state's open records law but the university has balked. 

Hawaii News Now has issued a similar request, but according to UH attorney Ryan Akamine, the school is withholding those records due to the pending NCAA investigation. HNN has renewed its calls for those records.

As part of his punishment, Arnold faces a 10-game suspension if he gets a job with an NCAA-member university. But through his attorneys he said he felt vindicated since the most serious level 1 violations were dropped.

UH attorney William McCorriston took issue with that view:  "Only Gib Arnold whose actions created problems for the University of Hawaii basketball team can be quote very pleased with the decision which cost the UH basketball team many penalties," McCorriston said. "Only Gib Arnold could receive a three-year show-cause order ... and say he is vindicated. As far as I'm concerned aloha oe Gib, we don't need you."

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