Thirer resigns after six dismissed

BINGHAMTON, N.Y. -- Binghamton athletic director Joel Thirer resigned Wednesday following the dismissal of six basketball players last week.

Star player Emanuel "Tiki" Mayben was arraigned last Thursday on cocaine distribution charges and kicked off the team. Players D.J. Rivera, Malik Alvin, Corey Chandler, Paul Crosby and David Fine were also released last week. School officials wouldn't discuss the reasons behind the releases.

Thirer said he'll remain a tenured professor, but Jim Norris, an associate athletic director, will take over as interim athletic director.

College president Lois DeFleur said last week she stressed to Thirer and basketball coach Kevin Broadus that misconduct would not be tolerated among student athletes.

In a statement announcing Thirer's resignation, DeFleur said she has directed Broadus to provide her with a recruitment and supervision plan for the basketball team. She said an external consultant also will audit the athletic program to make sure it complies with America East and NCAA policies and procedures.

Broadus signed a contract extension in June through the 2013-2014 season, following the team's first conference championship and NCAA tournament berth. The Bearcats went 23-9 last season and won both the America East regular season and tournament titles. They were 13-3 in league play and won a school-record 11 straight games before losing to Duke in the first round of the NCAA tournament.

Mayben's arrest was the third legal problem for a player since Broadus became coach in 2007. Mayben has pleaded not guilty to selling cocaine twice on June 29 and to possessing 3.4 grams of the drug when he was arrested on a sealed indictment last week.

Former player Miladin Kovacevic, who wasn't recruited by Broadus, faces prosecution in his native Serbia on charges he beat a classmate into a coma during a May 2008 barroom brawl. He fled New York for home, creating tensions between the U.S. and Serbia that were resolved when Serbia agreed to pay $900,000 to the victim's family and prosecute Kovacevic.

Alvin, one of the players released last week, was a transfer student brought in by Broadus. He was charged with stealing condoms from a Wal-Mart in November.

Binghamton is part of the State University of New York system, which is led by chancellor Nancy Zimpher, who is known to take a hard line on problems within athletic programs. Zimpher was the president of the University of Cincinnati when men's basketball coach Bob Huggins was pressured to resign in 2005 following the program's history of low graduation rates, suspensions and arrests of Huggins' players. Huggins was also convicted of drunken driving in 2004.