Georgia gets probation, avoids postseason ban

ATHENS, Ga. -- Georgia's men's basketball team was placed on
four years' probation Thursday for rules violations under former
coach Jim Harrick that involve academic fraud, unethical conduct and
improper benefits.

The NCAA decided not to impose a one-year postseason ban on the
basketball team, citing the school's self-imposed penalties that
banned the team from the 2003 SEC and NCAA tournaments.

The school's athletic department is on notice for the next five
years. A violation by any Georgia athletic program before April
2009 could result in stiffer penalties.

Georgia athletic director Damon Evans said the school plans to appeal.

Noting the school's self-imposed sanctions, Evans said he found the punishment too strict.

"Because of this, and the cooperation the university has
exhibited throughout the investigation process, it is our opinion
that four years' probation and the scholarship reductions are
excessive," Evans said.

The basketball team will lose one scholarship for each of the
next three seasons, forfeit its 30 victories from the 2001-02 and
2002-03 seasons and lose official credit for participating in the
2002 NCAA Tournament.

The violations centered on former assistant coach Jim Harrick Jr., the son of the Bulldogs' former head coach.

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

The NCAA also found that Harrick Jr. violated the ethical
conduct code during the fall semester of 2001 when he gave an 'A'
to three players -- Cole, Rashad Wright and Chris Daniels -- who did
not attend the course in basketball strategy he was teaching.
Harrick Jr. also encouraged Daniels and Wright to lie to university
and NCAA investigators, the committee found.

The NCAA Committee on Infractions said 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."

Harrick Jr. now must get permission from the NCAA before accepting
any sports-related position at any school governed by the organization. His father was not named in any of the allegations
and "was not at risk in this case," said Thomas Yeager, chairman and commissioner of the NCAA committee.

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 the university staff was responsible
for permitting six basketball players in November and December 2001
to receive extra benefits by not requiring them to pay for
long-distance telephone calls made while the team was on the road.
The costs of the calls totaled $1,572.66.

The Bulldogs will now have to vacate all the wins involving the
players, and the team's records will be revised in all official
publications, including the media guide and recruiting materials.

The university already was considered a repeat violator of NCAA
rules because of sanctions imposed on the football team in 1997.

Information from The Associated Press was used in this report.