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Jacobs: NCAA investigating UConn men’s basketball

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The longtime Connecticut sportswriter reports the NCAA is looking into the UConn men’s team.

Ian Bethune/The UConn Blog

The NCAA has launched an investigation into the UConn men’s basketball team, according to Jeff Jacobs of Hearst Media Connecticut and the Connecticut Post.

Jacobs reports the investigation at least partially involves potential recruiting violations. It is not known whether that is the full focus of the investigation, or if the NCAA is looking into other areas as well. The school has been notified of the NCAA’s probe.

Jacobs’ report says the investigation is considered to be completely unrelated to this summer’s criminal investigation that saw several high-profile Division I programs and their coaches face consequences for solicitation, corruption, and/or bribery.

According to Jacobs, who explains the situation in greater detail, Kevin Ollie’s contract includes a “just cause” stipulation that states the contract can, under certain circumstances, be voided if the coach is found to have violated NCAA rules. The wording of the clause is vague, and it is considered unlikely that Ollie would be fired unless the NCAA finds serious wrongdoing.

The subject of the NCAA’s inquiry is unknown, and potential consequences UConn might face as a result are murky. The one thing that we know for sure is that this is just another obstacle in what’s already been a trying season for the men’s basketball team.

UPDATE 9:02 am:

UConn released a statement on the investigation on Friday morning:

The NCAA has notified UConn of an inquiry into its men’s basketball program. We are working closely with the NCAA’s enforcement division as they conduct this inquiry.

Based on our own, NCAA-mandated internal review following allegations directed at men’s basketball programs last fall, we had already retained Lightfoot, Franklin and White to assist us in a review of our men’s basketball program. We will continue to work with them during the NCAA inquiry. Lightfoot, Franklin and White is a respected firm and national leader in NCAA athletics compliance.

The University and its Athletic Department are committed to a culture of compliance with all NCAA regulations. We will appropriately address and respond to this inquiry and continue cooperating fully with the NCAA as this process moves forward. Until that time, we will have no further comment.

UPDATE 12:26 pm:

UPDATE 1:46 pm:

The Hartford Courant is reporting that the NCAA has already begun its investigation into the Huskies’ program.

Sources told The Courant the NCAA has already conducted roughly 100 hours of interviews with coaches, players and staffers, past and present, and other outside individuals. Those interviews have picked up in pace over the last week or so, and the inquiry includes the recruitment of at least three players, though not necessarily players who eventually came to UConn. The NCAA, which has not responded to a request for comment, compels interviewees not to comment.