Harricks' lawyer: no fraud occurred

ATHENS, Ga. -- An attorney representing former Georgia basketball coaches Jim Harrick and Jim Harrick Jr. has requested "a name clearing hearing" because he says UGA officials "maliciously and shamelessly created and disseminated false and defamatory impressions" of his clients, according to the Atlanta Journal-Constitution.

In a Nov. 12 letter to UGA President Michael Adams, athletics director Vince Dooley and other university officials, attorney Robert Tanenbaum demanded a hearing for his clients.

"Otherwise, we will seek redress in the appropriate judicial form," Tanenbaum wrote.

Harrick and Harrick Jr. resigned after former Bulldogs player Tony Cole told ESPN in March 2003 that he received improper academic assistance and other benefits while he played at Georgia.

A UGA investigation found that Cole and basketball players Chris Daniels and Rashad Wright received grades of "A" in a P.E. course taught by Harrick Jr. UGA officials said the players didn't attend class or take the final exam. Because of the alleged academic fraud, Adams and Dooley banned the Bulldogs from playing in the SEC and NCAA tournaments last season.

Tanenbaum says no academic fraud occurred, and that Harrick Jr. only "delivered" $300 to Cole at the request of two Rhode Island boosters.

Georgia has yet to receive an official letter of inquiry from the NCAA. UGA officials had hoped to appear before the NCAA infractions committee in November or January, but it now seems that they won't get a hearing until at least April.

Attorney Ed Tolley, who represents the UGA Athletic Association, couldn't be reached for comment.