Ryan Boatright cleared to return

HARTFORD, Conn. -- Connecticut guard Ryan Boatright has been cleared by the NCAA to return to action, despite a finding by the governing body that the freshman and his mother received more than $8,000 in impermissible benefits both before and after he enrolled in school.

The NCAA said in a release posted on its website that it has determined Boatright has lived up to an agreement that gave him limited immunity for co-operating in the investigation, and is "likely the least culpable" of those involved in the violations.

The freshman served a six-game suspension at the start of the season and is being required to repay $4,500 in improper benefits discovered during the NCAA's initial probe.

He played in 10 games before UConn (No. 19 ESPN/USA Today, No. 24 AP) sat him out again on Jan. 13 after the NCAA informed the school it was looking into additional information.

He has missed UConn's past three games, during which the Huskies were 1-2.

"The impermissible benefits included travel expenses for his mother during four official visits to NCAA schools and approximately $1,200," the NCAA said in its release.

"In addition, Mr. Boatright was provided travel expenses, hotel, meals and training expenses during a two-night trip to California."

The NCAA said the benefits came from at least two people with links to "nonscholastic basketball and professional sports."

Several news organizations had previously reported that a plane ticket was purchased for Boatright's mother by Reggie Rose, who runs the AAU team for which Boatright played. Rose, the brother of NBA star Derrick Rose, has declined to comment on the case.

UConn officials declined to comment Saturday. Messages were left for Boatright and his mother, Tanesha Boatright. A woman who answered the phone at the Boatright home also declined to comment.

The NCAA said it originally allowed Boatright to return to action while his family cooperated with the probe.

Boatright averaged more than 10 points and three assists in the 10 games he played after being reinstated to the team.

Connecticut was forced to again bench Boatright on Jan. 13 after the NCAA informed the school it was looking into additional information that had been provided by both his mother and a source the NCAA determined to be credible.

"After a review of those records, the NCAA enforcement staff and UConn confirmed that an inappropriate source had been making car payments on behalf of Mr. Boatright's mother as had been originally reported by the source," the NCAA said.

The second benching came just before the Huskies were to play at Notre Dame. Boatright, who is from Aurora, Ill. said he had more than 400 friends and family in attendance at that game. Coach Jim Calhoun said Boatright cried in his arms when he told him that he could not play.

The NCAA said it decided to allow Boatright to return to competition after receiving additional information from his mother on Friday.

"After reviewing the additional records, the enforcement staff notified the university that the NCAA staff believed that the student-athlete and his mother had fulfilled the conditions of immunity and therefore, the student-athlete was again eligible for competition," it said.

The Huskies (14-5, 4-3 Big East) beat Notre Dame without Boatright, then lost consecutive games to Cincinnati and Tennessee, each by three points.

Boatright has been practicing with the team and is expected to play Sunday when the Huskies host Notre Dame (13-8, 5-3 Big East) in Hartford.