Harricks accused of NCAA rules violations

In an ESPN report Thursday night, Cole charged that Harrick Jr. arranged both financial and academic assistance not allowed by NCAA rules.

Harricks accused of NCAA rules violations Former Georgia basketball player Tony Cole has accused Georgia coach Jim Harrick and his son, assistant coach Jim Harrick Jr., of NCAA rules violations.

In an ESPN report Thursday night, Cole charged that Harrick Jr. arranged both financial and academic assistance not allowed by NCAA rules.

Cole, one of the most controversial athletes to participate in any sport at Georgia, told ESPN he came out with his accusations because he felt the Harricks abandoned him last year when Cole and two other student-athletes were charged and then cleared in the alleged sexual assault of a female student on campus.

Cole, who has been accused two other times of sexual assault and also recently was arrested for trespassing, was not allowed to return to the team following last year's alleged incident. He would have been a senior this season.

Cole returned to his Baton Rouge, La., hometown last month. He attended three high schools, two prep schools and two community colleges before signing with Harrick Sr. and Georgia. He originally tried to play for Harrick at Rhode Island but did not meet that school's academic entrance requirements.

Cole said that when he was living in Baton Rouge in the summer of 2001 before enrolling at Georgia, Harrick Jr. paid for almost $300 of Cole's phone bills. Cole was living in the home of Eva Davis, and ESPN showed a receipt of a $300 Western Union wire transfer sent from Jim Harrick to Davis.

Davis told ESPN she spoke on the phone with a man who identified himself as Jim Harrick, but she said she did not know which Harrick made the call or arranged the wire transfer.

Cole also alleged that Harrick Jr. arranged for him to receive credit for two correspondence courses at Lincoln Trail Community College in Robinson, Ill., when Cole was attempting to meet Georgia's entrance requirements. Cole says he did no work for either class.

When asked how he received an A in each of the courses, Cole told ESPN "Jim Harrick Jr. did. He had to. I got an A. I didn't do it.''

Cole also alleged Harrick Jr. paid his hotel bills in Athens before Cole could move into a dormitory.

NCAA rules prohibit coaches from providing such financial assistance to prospective or current student-athletes.

Georgia athletics director Vince Dooley said in a statement released Thursday night that Cole previously has said he received no improper benefits at Georgia.

"Anytime there are allegations made regarding possible NCAA violations, we take it very seriously,'' Dooley said. "And we will approach this situation in the same way.

"Tony Cole has been asked on previous occasions if he had received anything that could be considered extra benefits and a document has been signed by him indicating that he had not. However, we will use all of our capabilities in investigating each (allegation) in the proper way and in full cooperation with the SEC and the NCAA.''

Cole said Harrick Sr. was aware of the alleged rules violations.

Cole told ESPN: "It was like we know and we don't have to talk about it.''

As a junior in the 2001-02 season, Cole played in 16 games, including three as a starter, and averaged 5.6 points per game.

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