Collins says Thompson out on recruiting trail

Updated: July 10, 2007, 11:01 PM ET
By Andy Katz | ESPN.com

Ball State athletic director Tom Collins ended speculation about Ronny Thompson's job status Tuesday when he told ESPN.com that there will be no change in men's basketball by the school or the coach.

"I'm committed to Ronny Thompson and his staff he's got and the great recruiting class he has coming in," Collins said Monday afternoon. "I'm committed to Ronny Thompson, and Ball State is committed to him. We want to see this thing through, and we're all behind him 100 percent. I'm here to help him be successful."

Thompson coached the Cardinals to a 9-22 mark last year, setting a school record for losses in a season. Ball State was 5-11 in the MAC West.

Throughout the first weekend of the July evaluation recruiting period, Thompson's job status was the source of intense speculation by colleagues. Rumors swirled at various coaches camps, and in the Muncie, Ind., area, that Thompson would resign after his staff was caught committing offseason workout violations for the second time in as many years. Then late last month racist letters were slipped under Thompson's door.

The suspense intensified when Thompson went on vacation the first weekend of the July evaluation period while the majority of coaches were on the road.

But Collins said Thompson was on campus Monday and was on the road recruiting Tuesday. Collins said Thompson was expected to be in Louisville and Atlanta Tuesday while his staff was out West.

"We're looking forward to a successful season. I support his players -- they're here on campus finishing up summer school -- and Ronny and his staff are taking care of recruiting," Collins said.

"He wanted to get a vacation in but then things were put on blogs and rumors start and the next thing you know it's full blown," Collins added. "Where it starts I couldn't tell you."

Collins said he wasn't sure where the investigation stood regarding the "break-in" into the basketball offices on June 24. According to the Muncie Star-Press, racial slurs, along with words "cheaters" and "liars," were written on notes left there.

No one associated with the case at the Ball State police department was able to tell ESPN.com the status of the investigation on Tuesday.

Thompson, the son of Hall of Fame coach John Thompson and brother of Georgetown coach John Thompson III, and his staff were cited for the second year in a row for violating NCAA rules by being present at voluntary offseason workouts. It has been reported by the Star-Press that the staff lied about the violations, too.

Collins said the school is waiting to hear back from the NCAA.

"We filed them as secondary violations and now we'll wait to hear from them," Collins said. "We have no idea how long the response will take."

Collins said Thompson and the staff have gone through rules education and understand "the consequences" and what "the issues are and are now working hard on the recruiting trail."

Thompson didn't return a message from ESPN.com Tuesday.

Andy Katz is a senior writer for ESPN.com

Andy Katz | email

Senior Writer, ESPN.com

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