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Unauthorized use of PIN results in suspensions

10/20/2003 - UNLV Rebels

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.