Cincinnati withdraws confession to NCAA

CINCINNATI (AP) — In about three months, the University of Cincinnati will know whether it has saved Bob Huggins’ basketball program.
Responding to the NCAA’s charge of lack of institutional control over the program, the university changed its stance Monday.
Athletic director Bob Goin imposed a one-year probation — a temporary limit on recruiting — and withdrew the university’s earlier admission to some violations.
“I think the rules were in place,” Goin said. “An awful lot of our infractions took place with kids stepping over the line and us doing some things, but I don’t think it was because we didn’t have a monitoring program in place.”
The NCAA will decide whether to accept Goin’s explanation or reject it and impose penalties that could include a ban, loss of scholarships and tougher recruiting limits.
The NCAA’s Committee on Infractions will consider the case during a meeting Aug. 7-10 in Seattle. Goin said a decision probably will be made by the end of September.
Four players were suspended for NCAA rules violations last season, assistant coach John Loyer has been on paid leave for more than a year and a manager has been fired because of violations uncovered by the university.
After the NCAA charged the school with lack of institutional control, the university reexamined the matter. It now says some of the actions could be interpreted to conform to NCAA rules, or that there is insufficient evidence to prove a violation occurred.
Asked to explain the backpedaling, Goin said: “I don’t know that there’s a good explanation. I think you look at things through different eyes. I’ve visited with a number of different people and said, `Is this how you see it? Do you agree with this? I can see there’s some gray here.’
“We admitted it, but even if we admitted it, we may have overreacted. We may have been overly sensitive.”
The university’s reversal pleased Loyer, whom the NCAA has accused of unethical conduct. The university now contends he is in the clear on two of the three worst charges.
“We hope to be shoulder-to-shoulder in agreement with the university on almost all of those (allegations). We’re close to that now,” said Loyer’s attorney, Steve Owens.
The university’s response also reiterated that Huggins had no role in the violations and was unaware of them. It added, “As the head coach, however, he should have been more aware.”
At Huggins’ suggestion, he will spend less time recruiting and doing public relations appearances so he can supervise his program more closely. He was on vacation Monday and did not return a telephone message.
In a letter to the NCAA that accompanied the university’s response, Huggins acknowledged he had ultimate responsibility. He called the improprieties inadvertent mistakes and regretted that the school was “subjected to the poor publicity that has resulted from this investigation.”