Pacific sits three players for season opener amid NCAA investigation

Pacific likely will hold out three players from Friday's season opener against Arizona because of an NCAA investigation into alleged academic misconduct in the program.

Among the three players are two starters -- seniors Eric Thompson and Alec Kobre -- along with 7-foot junior Sami Eleraky. All three are being withheld by the school during the NCAA's investigation.

"We're withholding the three," Pacific spokesman Ben Laskey told ESPN on Tuesday. "It's not that they're ineligible or suspended, but they are being withheld until the NCAA clears them."

CBSSports.com first reported that the NCAA was investigating the program on allegations of academic misconduct committed by former assistant Joe Ford, who left in May. Pacific confirmed the investigation.

Ford joined the Idaho staff in July and resigned in October. Idaho is coached by Pacific coach Ron Verlin's brother, Don.

"On Wednesday, Oct. 7, University of the Pacific initiated an investigation into alleged academic misconduct in Athletics," the school said in a statement released to CBSSports.

"Academic integrity is a fundamental value at Pacific, and we take such allegations with utmost seriousness. On Thursday, Oct. 8, the university informed the WCC and NCAA of the allegations. The university's faculty athletics representative and the faculty chair of the Athletics Advisory Board also were notified. Under NCAA rules, the institution is obligated to protect the integrity of any NCAA inquiry. We will cooperate fully with the NCAA to review this matter and will not make any further comment at this time."

Pacific was 12-19 last season and 4-14 in the WCC.