Injunction by Harricks Denied

ATLANTA - A federal judge ruled Thursday that former Georgia basketball coaches Jim Harrick Sr. and Jim Harrick Jr. can not have an injunction to postpone the school's Saturday appearance before the NCAA Committee on Infractions. The decision, made by U.S. District Court judge Richard Story, was immediately appealed.

"We'll do everything we can to ensure the people of this world know the Harricks are innocent and falsely accused," attorney Robert Tanenbaum said.

It appears unlikely the appeal will be successful, and Tanenbaum said he is uncertain if the Harricks or their counsel will attend Saturday's hearing in Indianapolis. At that meeting, Georgia will present the findings of its case and answer questions from the Committee on Infractions.

UGA and NCAA investigators agree on the four main alleged violations: that Harrick Jr. paid $300 for expenses accrued by former player Tony Cole; that Harrick Jr. knowingly violated rules in making that payment; hat Harrick Jr. fraudulently awarded grades to Cole and players Chris Daniels and Rashad Wright in a physical education course; that six basketball players received extra benefits by making more than $1,500 worth of long-distance phone calls for which they never paid. Harrick Jr. was forced out during the investigation, and Harrick Sr. later resigned.

Georgia officials expect to hear the committee's ruling in four to six weeks, although Auburn University is now in its ninth week of waiting for word on an investigation into its program. Georgia self-imposed a severe penalty by pulling the Bulldogs from postseason play in 2003, and its representatives are hopeful the NCAA won't apply any further penalty. More than a dozen people will represent the school on Saturday.

The Harricks' attorneys argued Thursday that their clients weren't given due process because Georgia and the NCAA worked together so closely on the investigation, because Georgia denied the former coaches a name-clearing hearing and because school and NCAA officials intimidated witnesses, asking them not to speak to investigators employed by the Harricks.

"The allegations of witness intimidation are as shameless as the conduct of the plaintiffs that we believe led to this whole mess," said Peter Canfield, one of the lawyers representing UGA officials.

The Harricks' lawyers attempted to prove that UGA and NCAA investigators were serving as "state actors" during the investigation because it is only in that capacity that they could have denied due process.

"We're in an Alice in Wonderland situation," Tanenbaum said. "They investigated. They terminated. They stigmatized. Now they want to have a hearing. It's sort of a king saying, first the sentence, now the trial."

However, U.S. District Court judge Richard Story, citing the ruling in a similar case involving former UNLV basketball coach Jerry Tarkanian, decided the NCAA was not a state actor.

"I can see us opening a Pandora's Box in terms of the court invading a private process," he said. "Then the NCAA is in the position of saying, 'No, for goodness sakes, don't cooperate with us.'"

When questioned about the decision, Harrick Sr. stopped and said, "You heard it.," before being pulled away by attorney Herman Kaufman, who said his client could not speak to the media.

Athens attorney Ed Tolley, who led Georgia's investigation and was a defendant in Thursday's preceding, said the Harricks can have a name-clearing hearing after the Committee on Infractions meets.

Thursday's hearing, held in the Richard B. Russell Federal Building, lasted two hours and included at least one light moment when Tanenbaum - a popular non-fiction author, former assistant district attorney in Manhattan and Beverly Hills, Calif., resident - began talking too fast for Story's liking.

"We talk slow here," the judge said. "We hear slow, too."

The Harricks still have a federal lawsuit pending against Tolley and the University of Georgia Athletic Association, among others, which alleges their liberty interests were violated. Tanenbaum said he wants that trail to go to court as quickly as possible.

"(Thursday's) preceding is not going to change the Harricks' rights in any way in front of this court," Story said. "The court also finds the NCAA hearing would not constitute a name-clearing hearing for either or both of the plaintiffs."

The following group of Georgia officials will appear before Saturday's
NCAA Committee on Infractions:
Athens attorney Ed Tolley
University president Michael Adams
Athletic director Vince Dooley
Senior associate athletic director Damon Evans
Basketball coach Dennis Felton
SEC Commissioner Mike Slive
Compliance director Amy Chisholm
Senior woman administrator Glada Horvat
Physical education department head Paul Schempp
Health and human performance department head Douglas Kleiber
Director of legal affairs Steve Shewmaker
Presidential assistant Tom Landrum
Faculty athletics representative Jere Morehead

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