February 04, 2010
Back-to-back Pac-10 posts? Oh, yes! And, coincidentally, this one involves Arizona again.
It seems Lute Olson's shadow hasn't quite left the Arizona program.
Tonight, FOXSports.com's Jeff Goodman (an Arizona alumnus) got a tip from one of his sources that the school will punish itself over some minor no-no's that happened under Olson's watch in 2008.
The "deets," as the kids are prone to saying:
The school reported a potential violation of NCAA rules back in 2008 after former coach Lute Olson sent a letter to the Rebounders Club board of directors asking for financial assistance to the Cactus Classic – an AAU tournament that was held at McKale Center in May for three consecutive years.
NCAA rules prohibit institutional representatives or boosters from arranging financial assistance for potential recruits.
The letter was printed over Olson’s electronic signature. Olson “adamantly denied” knowledge of the letter being sent and later issued a retraction, saying he had not seen or approved the document.
So, what are the penalties? A scholarship will be lost, some on-campus visits from recruits will be nixed from the itinerary and the coaching staff will be prevented from travelling and recruited after the season is done. The details of all the aforementioned self-imposed penalties are still unknown.
Goodman's source also said current Arizona head coach Sean Miller, who was plucked from Xavier in the offseason, was well-aware that this kind of self-gashing could be a possibility this season.
What should be noted: Arizona did not eliminate itself from qualifying for the postseason. (Gotta keep the possibility of that tournament streak alive, after all.)
Your new editor, Jeff Eisenberg, is at the USC game tonight. Wonder if he'll be able to cajole former Arizona coach Kevin O'Neill into saying a thing or two about the Arizona punishment? Looks like O'Neill was destined for probation no matter where he ended up coaching.