Unauthorized use of PIN results in suspensions

Updated: October 20, 2003, 7:43 PM ET
Associated Press

LAS VEGAS -- Six more UNLV athletes, including two starters on the men's basketball team, will be suspended from games for using a personal identification number to make phone calls without permission, school officials said Monday.

Center J.K. Edwards and forward James Peters, both seniors, were among a group of athletes and students who used the PIN belonging to the athletic department, officials said.

Edwards will be suspended for six games, department spokesman Andy Grossman said. Edwards started all 32 games last season and averaged 9.1 points and 6.3 rebounds.

Peters started 14 games last season, averaging 6.4 points and 3.4 rebounds. He will sit out three games, Grossman said.

"The whole thing, in a nutshell, is it's going to make us short-handed," coach Charlie Spoonhour said. "The situation is unfortunate. The young men made a mistake. They admitted to it. Their judgment was not good."

Others athletes facing suspensions are a women's basketball player, two from women's swimming and diving and one from softball. They were not identified, because unlike Edwards and Peters, they did not sign waivers.

The six athletes made a total of $3,118.08 in phone charges, school officials said.

In late August, UNLV announced suspensions for 11 football players and four other athletes for using the PIN. They racked up $2,499.51 in phone charges.

NCAA rules state that if an extra benefit exceeds $100, each student-athlete is required to make restitution for all charges and will be withheld from a percentage of games depending on the value of the extra benefit.

Grossman said it took longer than expected to complete the investigation because of the number of people involved.

"There was so much data involved we couldn't get it done by the fall season," Grossman said.

An investigation by the school's Department of Public Safety found that from August 2001 to May 2003, about 500 current or former students made $65,520 in unauthorized long distance calls.

A total of 21 student-athletes and one member of the dance team were involved, the school said.

The PIN number belonged to assistant head football coach John Jackson.

School authorities said they were unable to determine how students obtained the PIN number, but did not think Jackson gave it out.

No criminal charges were filed.

UNLV athletic director Mike Hamrick said Monday he was eliminating PINs for athletic department staff.

UNLV said it will submit all of its findings to the NCAA.

The Runnin' Rebels begin the basketball season Nov. 21 at home against Delaware State.


Copyright 2003 by The Associated Press