Attorney says Georgia reported the violations

Updated: January 5, 2004, 8:25 PM ET
Associated Press

ATLANTA -- Georgia will not contest the NCAA's finding of four rules violations in the school's basketball program, according to the Athens attorney who headed the university's investigation.

The NCAA outlined its findings in a letter recently sent to university president Michael Adams, former basketball coach Jim Harrick and Harrick's attorneys.

"There were no surprises in this letter," attorney Ed Tolley said Monday. "It was exactly what we expected."

Though only three of the four rules violations in the NCAA report had previously been made public, Tolley said each of the violations had been self-reported. Charges of academic fraud and improper benefits were known in March when Harrick was suspended and then forced to resign.

When evidence of academic fraud and improper benefits was confirmed in Georgia's investigation, the school pulled the basketball team out of the Southeastern Conference and NCAA tournaments.

Harrick's son, assistant coach Jim Harrick Jr., was named in three of the violations. Harrick Jr. was suspended and later fired by Georgia last year.

The Atlanta Journal-Constitution first reported the details of the NCAA's findings on its Web site Monday.

Harrick and Georgia officials have until March 2 to respond to the NCAA's findings.

The letter from the NCAA says its Committee on Infractions expects to consider Georgia's response at its April 16-18 meeting in Indianapolis, and determine then if the university's own sanctions on the basketball program are sufficient.

The university should learn about two weeks later if it will face any further sanctions, Tolley said.

"We feel like the punishment we imposed on ourself will certainly make an impression on the committee and will be enough to accommodate the needs of the NCAA," Tolley said.

The previously undisclosed violation found by the NCAA was that six Georgia players received extra benefits not allowed by the NCAA by making $1,572.66 in personal long-distance telephone calls during basketball road trips.

"We actually self-reported those phone calls in April of 2003, during the course of our investigation," Tolley said. "The phone calls were known to the basketball staff but were not known to the compliance staff."

After the allegations of improper benefits were first made by former Georgia player Tony Cole in an interview with ESPN in February, Georgia began its own investigation in cooperation with NCAA and Southeastern Conference officials.

Georgia quickly uncovered enough evidence to first suspend and then fire Harrick Jr. before suspending Harrick and pulled the 19-8 team out of the postseason tournaments.

The inquiry includes the allegation that Harrick Jr. provided $300 in a wire transfer to Evan Davis, a friend of Cole, for Cole's personal expenses. It also accuses him of violating the NCAA's principles of ethical conduct for his involvement in the wire transfer.

Also, the inquiry states that Harrick Jr. "fraudulently awarded grades of 'A' to three men's basketball student-athletes" enrolled in a physical education course he taught in the fall of 2001-02. As related to that alleged violation, the inquiry states that Harrick Jr. encouraged players Chris Daniels and Rashad Wright "to provide misleading information to the institution and NCAA investigators."

The NCAA found no irregularities in Georgia's recruitment of basketball players Alexander Johnson and Larry Turner, who were accused of academic fraud by Georgia officials. Johnson, from Albany, Ga., now plays at Florida State. Turner, from Milledgeville, Ga., plays at Oklahoma.

Copyright 2004 by The Associated Press