NCAA Gives Georgia Four Years Probation

The University of Georgia (search) was placed on four years probation Thursday for rules violations involving academic fraud, unethical conduct and improper benefits in its men's basketball program.

The NCAA (search) decided not to impose a one-year postseason ban on the basketball team, citing the school's self-imposed penalties in which it pulled the team out of the 2003 SEC and NCAA tournaments.

The violations centered on former assistant coach Jim Harrick Jr. (search), the son of former head coach Jim Harrick.

The NCAA Committee on Infractions noted that it was troubled by "the number and range of instances of unethical conduct in which the assistant coach engaged. In this regard, the committee could recall few, if any, instances in which three separate and substantively different findings of unethical conduct were made against one individual."

The NCAA found that Harrick Jr. provided $300 in a wire transfer to Eva Davis, a friend of former Georgia player Tony Cole for Cole's personal expenses. Harrick Jr. violated the NCAA's principles of ethical conduct for the wire transfer, the NCAA found.

The committee noted that it "found each of the several explanations of the assistant coach not credible and also found that these explanations were inconsistent."

The NCAA also found that Harrick Jr. violated NCAA principles of ethical conduct during fall 2001 when he gave As to three players — Cole, Rashad Wright and Chris Daniels. Harrick Jr. engaged in unethical conduct by encouraging Daniels and Wright to lie to university and NCAA investigators, the committee found.

The committee found that Harrick Jr.'s administration of his basketball coaching class resulted in an impermissible extra benefit for the men's basketball players because those students were not required to do any work.

The NCAA also found that the university staff was responsible in permitting six basketball players in November and December 2001 to receive extra benefits by not requiring them to pay for long-distance telephone calls incurred while the team was away from home. The extra benefits totaled $1,572.66.