UB Athletic Program Receives Sanctions For Ncaa Violations In Men's Basketball Program

By Arthur Page

Release Date: November 16, 1993 This content is archived.


BUFFALO, N.Y. -- The University at Buffalo athletics program has been placed on probation for one year by the National Collegiate Athletic Association for violations of NCAA regulations in the men's basketball program.

The NCAA Committee on Infractions also instructed UB to develop and implement a comprehensive educational program to instruct coaches and athletics department staff about NCAA regulations.

In assessing the penalties required by NCAA bylaws, the committee took into account the "limited nature of the violations, the university's prompt and thorough investigation of the allegations and the actions taken by the university to enforce its compliance program."

In addition to the one-year probationary period and educational program, the actions imposed by the committee include a reprimand and censure of UB's athletic program, institutional recertification of all athletics policies and procedures, and a show-cause requirement issued to the former assistant men's basketball coach involved in the violations should he seek employment with an NCAA member institution.

The Committee on Infractions report said "the violations in this case were limited and resulted from a few acts by one assistant coach in several extra-benefit violations involving one student-athlete and another extra-benefit involving two student-athletes."

UB's investigation began last summer after the sports editor of The Spectrum, the UB student newspaper, contacted Nelson Townsend, UB director of athletics, for comment on allegations that a former student-athlete who was a member of the UB basketball team had received airline tickets, sneakers, tickets to a professional basketball game and some cash from a UB assistant coach, all violations of NCAA regulations.

UB President William R. Greiner said that UB investigated the allegations as soon as they came to light. "This investigation was thorough and aggressive, it was completed quickly, and its results were promptly reported to the NCAA by the university," he added.

The major allegations, all reported to have occurred in 1989, were found to have involved only the one student-athlete and only one coach. The student-athlete was a UB team member from 1989-91; the coach has not been employed at UB since 1990.

The university's investigation found no other violations.

After subsequent investigation, the NCAA withdrew the allegation that the coach had improperly provided sneakers to the student-athlete.

Greiner said, "In sum, we believe that UB did everything that it could and should have done to handle this case in a timely and responsible manner. We are pleased that the NCAA has acknowledged the promptness and propriety of the investigation, and we are grateful for the full and fair hearing process accorded UB by the NCAA.

"As a result of both UB's investigation and the hearings, we are satisfied that this case is an isolated one," Greiner continued. "Extensive evaluation reveals no further infractions among the university's coaching staff, and firm measures are in place to ensure that no such infractions will occur again.

"UB is committed to building a Division I basketball program of top quality and high integrity. We match the athletic excellence of our student-athletes with a firm commitment to academic excellence, wise and thoughtful coaching leadership and complete personal integrity on the part of both student-athletes and coaches," he said. "We will continue to develop the program in this direction, fully confident that Coach (Timothy) Cohane and his staff will uphold the NCAA's highest standards."

Charles R. Fourtner, UB professor of biological sciences and the university's faculty athletic representative who conducted UB's investigation, said his study and that of the NCAA showed that "this is essentially a one-to-one relationship between a student-athlete and a coach."

"Both in the UB and the NCAA investigations, there is absolutely no evidence that anyone else in the Division of Athletics or the university took part," he added.

Nelson Townsend, director of the UB Division of Athletics, noted that the university agreed with the NCAA that violations took place based on statements by the former student.

"We were unable, however, to document any of his allegations through official records in our internal investigation," he added.

"It was not a case of the university or the Division of Athletics sponsoring or condoning this type of behavior," Townsend said. "Based on our discussions with other player-athletes who were on the basketball team with this young man, we have concluded that this was an isolated incident; a case of someone trying to do something for an enrolled student.

"Our goal is that it not happen again, that we all maintain integrity and abide by the NCAA rules," he added.

UB has no plans to appeal the sanctions.

"As a member of the NCAA, we support the authority of that organization and will abide by its ruling," Greiner said.