<
>

Purdue on 2 years probation, loses 2 scholarships for violations

INDIANAPOLIS -- Purdue's women's basketball team will lose
two scholarships for this season and the school will spend two
years on probation after the NCAA ruled Wednesday that a former
assistant coach helped write a research paper for a player and made
more than 100 improper recruiting calls.

The NCAA, however, did not punish then-coach Kristy Curry, now
at Texas Tech. That decision was made even though the NCAA
infractions committee said it was "troubled" that Curry had been
told about the violations twice and did not immediately report them
to Purdue officials.

Former Purdue assistant Katrina Merriweather admitted to typing,
correcting and revising a paper for former point guard Cherelle
George during the 2005-06 season, the NCAA said. Both were
suspended indefinitely before the Big Ten tournament that season
and neither returned to the program.

"The case is an object lesson in why coaches should not involve
themselves in any way in trying to help student athletes with their
academic work," infractions committee chairwoman Josephine Potuto
said. "That's what academic advisers and tutors are there for."

Curry said she did not believe she had done anything wrong at
Purdue.

"When I learned of the accusation against one of my assistants,
twice I looked into it and didn't uncover any wrongdoing," she
said in a statement from Texas Tech. "I was convinced that there
was no violation."

Merriweather's contract was automatically terminated when Curry
left Purdue for Texas Tech in March 2006.

Investigators also found that Merriweather made 105
impermissible telephone calls to two recruits. The NCAA considered
the phone calls a major rules violation because they were not an
isolated incident.

"The matter has now been adjudicated, and it is time to put it
behind us," Purdue athletic director Morgan Burke said in a
statement. "While we cannot guarantee behavior, we will deal with
each issue in a fair and objective manner upholding the rules and
values of Purdue University, the Big Ten Conference and the NCAA."

The penalties will reduce Purdue's scholarships from 15 to 13
for this season. The Boilermakers, who went 31-6 and reached the
NCAA tournament's round of eight last season, will not face any
restrictions on postseason play.

Because of the violations, if Merriweather wants to coach
another NCAA school during the next three years, she and the school
must appear before the committee to determine whether her duties
should be limited.

Potuto said the fallout could have been worse if Purdue hadn't
reported the violations.

"Every institution has an obligation to cooperate with the NCAA
with any inquiry involving NCAA violations," Potuto said. "Purdue
cooperated and did what it was supposed to do, consistent with NCAA
bylaws."