Lawsuit brought by ex-assistant coach Bassett

LEXINGTON, Ky. -- The University of Kentucky Athletic Association has asked a federal judge to dismiss a $50 million antitrust lawsuit filed by a former UK assistant football coach.

In its motion, filed Tuesday in U.S. District Court in Lexington, the UKAA said Claude Bassett has not made any viable claims of fraud and that the statute of limitations has expired for any civil conspiracy claims.

The motion also claims that the university and the athletic association are immune from such a lawsuit because they are government entities.

Bassett, Kentucky's former recruiting coordinator, filed his lawsuit in September. He has said the UKAA, the NCAA and the Southeastern Conference conspired to keep him from landing another college job.

The NCAA has also filed a motion for dismissal, NCAA spokesman Erik Christianson said Thursday.

Bassett's attorney, Robert Furnier of Cincinnati, did not immediately return a phone message left at his office Thursday by The Associated Press.

Bassett resigned in November 2000, shortly before the NCAA began investigating allegations of wrongdoing in Kentucky's program. In 2002, the NCAA placed Kentucky on probation for more than three dozen recruiting violations committed between 1998 and 2000. It banned the Wildcats from a bowl game for one season and ordered the
forfeiture of 19 scholarships over a three-year period.

Bassett, who worked for then-coach Hal Mumme, was found in violation of NCAA ethical conduct bylaws and was effectively banned from working for any NCAA school for eight years. At the time, Bassett acknowledged breaking NCAA recruiting rules.

Bassett said he was denied due process by the NCAA and the university during and after the investigation. Bassett is now the athletic director and football coach at a high school in Robstown, Texas, near Corpus Christi.

The UKAA said in its motion that Bassett's "only 'injury' is the direct result of his own misconduct" and that Bassett violated the university's personnel policy and his contractual obligation to abide by NCAA rules.

"Clearly, Bassett's complaints are really that he was allowed to 'dig his own grave' before the NCAA investigative and infractions hearing process began and that he thinks the NCAA penalty is too severe," the UKAA said.