Van Breda Kolff's ethics under scrutiny

Updated: December 10, 2003, 4:19 AM ET
Associated Press

BUFFALO, N.Y. -- The NCAA could charge former St. Bonaventure coach Jan van Breda Kolff with unethical conduct for his role in a player eligibility scandal that led to his dismissal.

Interim school president the Rev. Dominic Monti said in an interview with The Associated Press on Tuesday that the NCAA is pursuing the charge against van Breda Kolff.

Monti said the NCAA made the allegation against van Breda Kolff following its investigation. He said it was in addition to the three infractions St. Bonaventure acknowledged it committed, and will be raised at a hearing in Indianapolis on Friday.

The hearing, before the NCAA's committee on infractions, is the final step before the college governing body will determine whether to pursue further sanctions after forward Jamil Terrell was ruled ineligible last spring for failing to meet junior college transfer guidelines.

The NCAA could rule next month.

When the team was stripped of 12 wins and barred from the postseason, players boycotted their final two games.

If the NCAA sanctions van Breda Kolff, now an assistant with the New Orleans Hornets, he could be restricted from returning to coach at the college level for a set period of time. Any school considering hiring van Breda Kolff during that time would have to petition the NCAA for approval.

Van Breda Kolff's lawyer, Lew Conner, would not say whether his client faces a sanction of unethical conduct but said: "Any allegation of wrongdoing against Jan van Breda Kolff by anybody will be fiercely contested to the absolute fullest extent allowed by law."

The NCAA declined comment.

Van Breda Kolff has previously denied any wrongdoing involving Terrell's transfer, saying he was left out of the loop when athletic director Gothard Lane raised the issue of the player's eligibility with school President Robert Wickenheiser.

Wickenheiser, at the request of St. Bonaventure's trustees, resigned a week after the scandal broke, accepting full responsibility for approving Terrell's transfer. The school's board also sought and received Lane's resignation about a month later, and fired van Breda Kolff.

A school investigation found no direct evidence that van Breda Kolff knew of Terrell's ineligibility, but ruled he should have tried to determine the player's status considering the questions raised.

The Rev. Monti compared van Breda Kolff's defense to that of what he called "the three little monkeys: the see no evil, hear no evil, say no evil."

Added Monti: "And that's precisely Jan's response: 'I didn't know anything. I didn't say anything. I didn't do anything. I didn't hear anything.'"


Copyright 2003 by The Associated Press