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Judge: Kentucky owes nothing to ex-assistant Bassett

4/18/2006 - Kentucky Wildcats

LEXINGTON, Ky. -- Kentucky owes nothing to a former
assistant football coach who claimed the school's athletic
department defrauded him after he resigned amid recruiting
violations, a federal judge ruled Tuesday.

In a 25-page ruling, U.S. District Judge Joseph Hood called
Claude Bassett's case "ludicrous" and granted the university's
request for it to be dropped before trial even begins.

Other charges had already been dismissed in Bassett's $50
million lawsuit against the school, the Southeastern Conference and
the NCAA. All that remains is Bassett's claim that the NCAA
interfered with his future contract negotiations, and the NCAA is
trying to get that charge dismissed.

University spokesman Jay Blanton said he was pleased by the
dismissal.

"It has been the university's firm position all along that
there was no merit to Mr. Bassett's case, and Judge Hood's ruling
clearly affirmed that," Blanton said.

Bassett resigned in November 2000, shortly before the NCAA began
investigating Kentucky. In 2002, the NCAA placed the school on
probation, banned it from a bowl game and ordered the Wildcats to
forfeit 19 scholarships because of more than three dozen recruiting
violations committed between 1998 and 2000.

Bassett, who acknowledged breaking NCAA recruiting rules, was
found in violation of ethical conduct bylaws and banned from
working for another school for eight years. But Bassett claimed he
resigned with the assurance there would be no further
investigation, and that the school's action prevented him from
landing another coaching job.

Hood said the argument was absurd because it would require the
university to commit further NCAA violations by covering up his
role.

"This court refuses to condone plaintiff's ludicrous efforts to
bind the [University of Kentucky athletics association] to agree to
breach its obligations to the NCAA and conceal plaintiff's numerous
rules infractions," he wrote.