Kansas F Jackson suspended nine games

Updated: November 16, 2005, 10:05 AM ET
Associated Press

LAWRENCE, Kan. -- University of Kansas forward Darnell Jackson has been suspended for the first nine games of the season for NCAA violations involving impermissible benefits worth about $5,000 received from a booster, the university announced Tuesday night.

The university said it reported the matter to the NCAA in June following an anonymous tip, rendering Jackson ineligible from competition but not practice. It said it got word Tuesday that the NCAA Reinstatement staff had restored Jackson's eligibility providing he sit out the nine games, starting with Friday's season opener against Idaho State.

Jackson, a 6-foot-8 sophomore forward, averaged two points a game last season. He sat out the first exhibition game this year but the NCAA allowed him to play in the second on Monday night, and he had eight points and seven rebounds in the 73-47 victory over Pittsburg State.

The violations involved benefits that Jackson and his family received between the fall of 2002 and April 2005 from Don Davis, a University of Kansas graduate who lives in Oklahoma City. The university said the benefits included transportation, meals and lodging, gifts and a personal loan.

Jackson, who will be allowed to practice but not travel with the team during his suspension, is required to repay the full value of the benefits. He'll be eligible to play again when the Jayhawks meet Northern Colorado on Dec. 22.

Jackson was a junior in high school in Oklahoma City when he met Davis. Davis said he took an interest in the young player after seeing a United Way video featuring him as someone who had overcome adversity.

During Jackson's freshman season at Kansas, Davis drove his mother, Shawn, to games in Lawrence on a number of occasions, and those rides were among the secondary violations that the university reported to the NCAA.

"Mr. Davis has been a friend of my family, a mentor and a positive influence in my life," Jackson said in a statement issued by the university. "I didn't realize at the time that certain aspects of our friendship violated NCAA rules. I understand that now, and I regret any embarrassment to my family, my university and Mr. Davis."

"This is a trying time in my life," Jackson said. "I accept this decision and look forward to competing again for KU basketball."

"In my opinion, Darnell Jackson and his family are as fine of people as you'll ever meet," Davis said when The Kansas City Star reached him by telephone. "That's all I can really say."

In a statement issued by the university, Davis said he was uncertain whether his conduct involving Jackson violated any NCAA rules, and that he was wrong in not contacting the university or the NCAA for a determination.

"As a result of my actions, I have been disassociated from the university," Davis said. "I have no ill-will toward the University of Kansas, for which I have always had and will continue to have a great affection and respect."

When The Star asked him for further information on his relationship with Jackson and specifics on the benefits he provided, Davis said: "The press release is what it is. It's going to look how it's going to look. That's really all I can say."

Kansas coach Bill Self and athletics director Lew Perkins both said they thought the punishment was fair.

"We're disappointed that we have to deal with this situation," Self said in a statement. "Although inappropriate by NCAA rules, I believe that Mr. Davis' intentions were sincere and were intended to be in the best interests of Darnell and his family."

"We believe the NCAA acted very fairly and in a timely manner," Perkins said in a statement. "We are committed to following the letter and spirit of NCAA rules. We look forward to putting this behind us."

Last summer Perkins announced several secondary NCAA violations in the athletics department and imposed sanctions on football and women's basketball, which had scholarships reduced. That matter is under review by the NCAA, which will determine whether the university's self-imposed sanctions are enough.

Copyright 2005 by The Associated Press