WEST LAFAYETTE, Ind. (AP) — Purdue women’s basketball player Ukari Figgs will miss the Boilermakers’ season-opener because of a one-game suspension for violating NCAA rules, the university announced Wednesday.
The suspension comes after a university investigation submitted to the NCAA found that Figgs twice exchanged university-issued shoes for other items at a Lafayette sporting goods store last year.
Two of Figgs’ teammates — Jannon Roland and Stephanie White — also exchanged shoes at the store, but face no penalties. The three are the only returning Purdue players in the wake of last March’s firing of former Purdue women’s coach Lin Dunn and assistant MaChelle Joseph.
Last month, two Indiana newspapers reported that the NCAA had questioned three former players about allegations of improper payments to players, tennis shoe improprieties and illegal drug testing.
Purdue assistant athletics director Roger Blalock said in a statement Wednesday the university’s internal investigation was prompted by one of those newspaper stories. He said the investigation involved interviews with student-athletes in seven different sports, as well as equipment room personnel, coaches and local sports merchandise store managers.
The university’s report was submitted to the NCAA on Oct. 28, Blalock said.
“We did not find evidence of a widespread problem throughout our department as was alleged,” he said. “Nonetheless, we have taken additional corrective action internally to educate our coaches and student-athletes of the rules and to rewrite our policy and procedure for equipment issuance and renewal.”
Purdue, 20-11 last season, opens its regular season Friday night at Loyola Marymount. Figgs will play in Sunday’s game at Stanford.
She was suspended because her exchanges amounted to a secondary infraction under an NCAA bylaw pertaining to extra benefits, Purdue said in a statement.
The Georgetown, Ky., native has paid restitution of $102.50 — the value of the items.
In White’s case, the sophomore guard exchanged school-issued basketball shoes for cross-trainer shoes, but also received a bandana and headband because the new shoes cost less than the basketball shoes.
Because there were no extra benefits derived from White’s exchange, no penalty was imposed, Purdue said. The Seeger (Ind.) High School grad has made restitution for the value of the headband and bandana — $12.
Roland, a senior forward from Urbana, Ohio, exchanged school-issued basketball shoes on two occasions, once for the same type shoe in a different size and the second time for a pair of cross-trainers.
As in White’s case, no penalty was imposed because Roland did not derive an extra benefit from the exchanges, Purdue said.