MANOA, OAHU (HawaiiNewsNow) - The National Collegiate Athletic Association (NCAA) Division I Infractions Appeals Committee ruled on Friday that the postseason ban and other penalties the University of Hawaii at Manoa's men's basketball team was facing have to be reconsidered.
In 2015, the NCAA Division I Committee on Infractions found violations of associations rules regarding impermissible coaching activities, coaching limitations, extra benefits and participation of ineligible student athletes.
In addition to a 2016-2017 postseason ban, the penalties following those findings included a reduction in scholarships and a fine.
But UH has appealed in February with the argument that because the controversy happened before a new infractions structure was put into place on Oct. 30 2012, the case must be reviewed under the older infractions structure.
Following Friday's announcement, UH is saying it is "cautiously optimistic" as it waits for the Infractions Committee to re-evaluate the case.
The older infractions structure is "less stringent," according to the NCAA.
"This is very encouraging and we appreciate the NCAA for all of their work on this matter," said UH Manoa Athletics Director David Matlin. "We are looking forward to a final decision. This has been a very difficult time for our Athletics Department in particular our men's basketball program. However, we believe we'll all come out of this much stronger."
The NCAA Appeals Committee also noted that there was no evidence that the university itself encouraged unethical conduct by the coaches involved or failed to warn them that such behavior is unacceptable.
Meanwhile, the NCAA is upholding the ruling that former head coach Gib Arnold violated the association's ethical conduct rules.
Consequently, Arnold must serve a three-year show cause order from Oct. 28, 2016 through Oct. 27, 2019. In other words, if Arnold works for a member school during that time period, his athletic duties may be restricted.
In 2014, both Arnold and assistant men's basketball coach Brandyn Akana were relieved from the university.
One of the violations the NCAA discovered was that Akana gave a then-star athlete an impermissible gift. That gift was an iPad worth at more than $400.
The association said Arnold, who was aware of the ethical conduct violations, knowingly furnished or influenced others to report false information to the NCAA.