HARTFORD, Conn. (AP) — Connecticut center Kirk King will be suspended for the rest of his senior season for accepting improper gifts, pending an appeal of an NCAA ruling by the university.
A source, speaking to The Associated Press on the condition of anonymity, confirmed Thursday night that the NCAA recommended the suspension. If upheld, the decision would end the UConn captain’s career.
King and sophomore point guard Ricky Moore had already missed two games while the NCAA investigated whether they should face further sanctions for accepting improper gifts, reportedly airline tickets.
It was unclear how long Moore’s suspension would be extended, although sources acknowledged his case wasn’t as severe.
Connecticut associate athletics director Tim Tolokan said the school would disclose no details of the NCAA findings until the Friday morning news conference it had previously scheduled.
“We will have all the information on the NCAA report at our press conference,” Tolokan said.
King and Moore missed games against Kansas and Miami, both losses.
In King, the Huskies lose their most experienced player. He is the team leader in rebounds with nearly eight per game, and is second in scoring at 12 points a game.
Moore has been running the floor for UConn all season and is averaging eight points and 6.5 assists.
UConn reported the violation to the NCAA about a week ago, soon after learning that King and Moore had received what the school described as improper gifts.
The school conducted its own review in conjunction with the Big East Conference, and detailed the case in a 25-page report that was sent to the NCAA last Friday.
The NCAA sent its own report to the school Wednesday night.
Neither UConn nor the NCAA have ever identified the improper gifts, but several newspapers have reported that an agent provided the players with airplane tickets in 1995.
The Augusta (Ga.) Chronicle reported last week that Moore’s mother said her son accepted a round trip plane ticket from Hartford to Augusta shortly before his first fall practice. She said her son learned after accepting the trip that the ticket came from an agent, an unidentified friend of former Connecticut star Ray Allen of the Milwaukee Bucks.