NCAA suspends Bradley basketball players

Updated: November 23, 2005, 12:58 AM ET
Associated Press

PEORIA, Ill. -- Two Bradley basketball players were suspended by the NCAA on Tuesday for getting paid for work they didn't perform while on their summer jobs.

Two other players also accused of being paid for work they didn't do were forced to repay the money.

Center Patrick O'Bryant was suspended for eight games and point guard Will Franklin must sit out six games. The suspensions were handed down Monday and the school appealed the move. The NCAA Student-Athlete Reinstatement Division upheld the decision on Tuesday, the university said.

The school said the players inadvertently violated the NCAA's extra-benefit rule.

Athletic director Ken Kavanagh said he was disappointed in the decision.

``We certainly accept the responsibility for compliance with NCAA rules and regulations and need to enhance our summer employment monitoring procedures, but in no way do we believe that this result warranted this response,'' Kavanagh said in a statement.

Bradley coach Jim Les said the NCAA system failed O'Bryant and Franklin and insisted the infraction was inadvertent.

``This is not a case of anyone acting in an unethical manner, yet the kids are being punished as if they had,'' he said.

Bradley (1-0) plays Chicago State on Saturday.

NCAA spokesman Erik Christianson said O'Bryant received a total of $1,100 for work he did not do over the summer. For eight weeks, he was paid $400 a week regardless of whether he showed up for work.

Meanwhile, Franklin was paid more than $40 an hour for a job that should have paid only about $12 an hour, Christianson said. He did not know where any of the players worked.

The school told the NCAA that two other basketball players also were paid for work not performed, but the infractions were deemed to be less serious, he said.

Those two other players, who have not been named because they were not suspended, were ordered to repay the money, Christianson said.

O'Bryant, who is listed at 7-feet, 260 pounds, averaged 10 points and 7.4 rebounds a game last season for the Braves. He did not play on Saturday when Bradley beat DePaul 75-60.

O'Bryant said he felt bad about the situation.

``I know how hard the guys are working and I will do my best to support them,'' he said of his teammates.

The eight-game suspension means O'Bryant will not be eligible for competition until the Braves open their Missouri Valley Conference schedule on Dec. 28 against Northern Iowa.

``This is obviously a tough situation and we (O'Bryant and Franklin) are sorry that our teammates have to go through this,'' Franklin said. ``We will do our best to be there for the team off the floor until we can join them.''

Franklin, a transfer student who is a junior, is listed at 6-feet, 180 pounds. He'll be out until Dec. 17.

Copyright 2005 by The Associated Press