LEXINGTON, Ky. --- The NCAA has notified the University of Kentucky it has completed its investigation of the football program, the school announced Monday during the UK Athletics Association board meeting.
An official letter of inquiry stated no new major violations were revealed by the NCAA in addition to those self-reported by UK from its internal investigation. That left school officials cautiously optimistic that its recommended sanctions --- primarily centered around reduced scholarships and recruiting vistis --- would be accepted by the infractions committee when the body reviews UK's case from November 16-18 in Indianapolis.
"We certainly hope so, but it's hard to tell," said UK Athletics Director Larry Ivy, noting that there's a chance that UK's case could be heard even earlier, possibly in September.
Although there was little new information in the NCAA report, it did feature critique of former UK head coach Hal Mumme for failing to act on reports of possible violations by recruiting coordinator Claude Bassett on at least three occasions. It states that Mumme became "increasing protective" of Bassett during the process of the school's investigation.
Bassett, who is now the coach at Robstown (Texas) High School, is the centerpiece of what the NCAA deemed a dozen major violations among more than 30 infractions. The letter charges him with unethical conduct, which will likely make it difficult for Bassett to ever work again in the NCAA.
Among the charges associated with Bassett were: instructing a football office student assistant to purchase $1,400 in money orders and send them to Memphis High School coach Tim Thompson, who had several players either currently at UK or considering attending the school; providing illegal transportation and lodging funds to recruits, as well as cash for meals and clothing; and academic fraud.
According to UK, no academic fraud was committed by players. Compliance director Sandy Bell said that Bassett allegedly had papers written for three players, but the players did not accept or turn them in. When notified of the possible problem, the professors were also immediately alerted, Bell added.
Nine players are currently ineligible as the school awaits word from the NCAA on their status. Both Bell and UK coach Guy Morriss have expressed their full confidence that the players' eligibility will be restored prior to the Sept. 1 opener against Louisville.