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Sources: Two UConn Coaches Resign

From Andy Katz (espn.com):

The University of Connecticut took the rare route of forcing two assistants to resign before preparing its response and possible self-imposed sanctions in reaction to notice of allegations of rules violations, sources told ESPN.com.

Connecticut said Thursday night it would hold a 10 a.m. news conference on Friday to announce an update on the NCAA investigation of its men’s basketball program. The school will release its official notice of allegations that stem from alleged recruiting violations detailed in a Yahoo!Sports report in March of 2009.

Assistant coaches Pat Sellers and director of basketball operations Beau Archibald have resigned, according to multiple sources.

Sellers had been with the Huskies for six seasons, the latter three on the road recruiting. Archibald, a former player, had been on staff for three seasons.

At issue is the recruitment of Nate Miles, who spent two months on campus in the fall of 2008 before being dismissed from the team. Reports indicate former manager and one-time agent Josh Nochimson was called more than 1,500 times during a two-year period in regards to Miles. Miles was dismissed after he was arrested for violating a restraining order made by a female student. Miles’ expulsion came after a school hearing.

Normal procedure with NCAA investigation is for the school to take 90 days from the time it receives a notice of allegations and, during that time, go over self-imposed sanctions or staff adjustments to avoid punishment by the NCAA committee on infractions. That timeframe is expected to be followed, even with the staff decisions made this week.

Sources said the notice of allegations that will be released Friday will likely spell out any wrongdoing by the two assistant coaches.

Sources said Connecticut won’t announce any self-imposed sanctions at the news conference. The school will announce it is cooperating in the investigation. Rick Evrard, the university’s outside counsel for NCAA-related matters, and a veteran of a number of these cases, is expected to be the only one to answer questions.

UConn athletic director Jeff Hathawy and coach Jim Calhoun, fresh off a five-year contract extension (retroactive to the beginning of this past season, giving him four more years) are also expected to attend.

A specific date for UConn’s hearing with the committee on infractions will be announced. According to the NCAA’s schedule, the earliest it’s likely to occur is in October. The COI rarely takes more than three cases during its hearings. The COI meets six times a year in February, April, June, August, October and December.

Archibald was at Calhoun’s news conference on May 7, announcing his new contract. He was an active member of the staff, who had close ties to a number of the players.

Calhoun said then there could be changes to his staff and one member could have an opportunity in the NBA.

Two weeks later, Sellers was at the NBA’s Chicago pre-draft combine talking to personnel in the league. Sellers said en route to Chicago that he was investigating an NBA job.

The departures of Sellers and Archibald leaves UConn with two assistant coaches, associate head coach George Blaney and assistant Andre LeFleur.

The university was made aware of the investigation and its progress the past year. According to sources, Calhoun’s contract negotiations weren’t slowed by the NCAA investigation. But, as is the case with most contracts, there are provisions within the contract that deal with NCAA violations.

In Article 4, Section 4.3 under Coach’s Duties, it states: “Also, in accordance with NCAA Bylaw 11.2.1, it shall be the responsibility of the Coach to promote an atmosphere of compliance within the program supervised by the Coach and to monitor the activities regarding compliance of all assistant coaches and other administrators involved with the program who report directly or indirectly to the coach.’”

If any direct violations are linked to Calhoun, it could be an issue. The article continues to say: “If the Coach has knowledge of any information that would reasonably be considered by a person in the Coach’s position as a possible violation of NCAA or Big East Conference legislation involving the University, the Coach shall immediately report such information to the Director.”

Section 4.5 states: “In according with NCAA Bylaw 11.2.1, the Coach acknowledges that if he is found by either the University or the NCAA to be in violation of NCAA regulations, he ‘shall be subject to disciplinary or corrective action as set forth in the provisions of the NCAA enforcement procedures, including suspension without pay or termination of employment for significant or repetitive violations.’”

Quinnipiac coach Tom Moore, who was a UConn assistant during the recruitment of Miles, distanced himself from the case Thursday night. Moore was mentioned in the original report as introducing Nochimson and Miles. But Moore was exonerated in UConn’s notice of allegations, according to his Kansas City-based attorney Scott Tompsett. Moore referred all questions to Tompsett Thursday night.

“He has not been named in any allegation,” said Tompsett, who added he has represented more coaches than any other attorney in NCAA investigations the past 20 years. Tompsett also represented former Indiana assistant Rob Senderoff in a phone violation case when Senderoff was an assistant under Kelvin Sampson at Indiana. Senderoff is an assistant at Kent State.

“[Moore] cooperated fully and not named,” Tompsett said. “I can’t go into the details of the investigation but he cooperated fully and did everything asked of him.”

Tompsett said the matter is closed for Moore.

Moore’s Bobcats won the Northeast Conference regular-season title last season, losing to Robert Morris in the conference tournament title game in Hamden, Conn. Moore then received a contract extension, taking him through the 2015 season. Moore, who signed a five-year deal in 2007, coached the 23-win Bobcats to the NIT last season, their first postseason berth.

Connecticut finished 7-11 in the Big East, 18-16 overall last season. The Huskies were in the 2009 Final Four and won the national title in 1999 and 2004.

UConn had a brush with the NCAA that forced wins to be removed from the record books. The three 1996 NCAA tournament wins were vacated by the NCAA because of violations.

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