NCAA Tells Schools To Return Money

Friday, June 30th 2000, 12:00 am
By: News On 6

INDIANAPOLIS (AP) — Texas Tech, Arizona and UCLA have been found guilty of using ineligible players by the NCAA and will have to return money to the organization received from basketball tournament games.

The NCAA said Friday that Texas Tech must return $282,800 for using ineligible players during the 1996 tournament and Arizona and UCLA must each return $45,321 from their tourney shares in 1999.

The NCAA began investigating Texas Tech in February 1996 for possible violations in the football and men's basketball programs, and during a second-round Big 12 tournament game in 1997, Tech learned two players were academically ineligible.

The school withdrew from the NCAA tourney the next day, and an internal audit seven months later revealed former basketball players Deuce Jones and Gracen Averil were among 76 athletes in eight sports who participated ineligibly during the 1990s.

The NCAA committee on infractions ``determined that the institution should bear responsibility for the use of ineligible student-athletes in the 1996 championship,'' the NCAA reported.

In the Arizona and UCLA cases, the committee said the schools had used athletes who were ineligible because they had received improper benefits, including benefits from a sports agent.

Arizona officials said Thursday that former All-America point guard Jason Terry, now with the Atlanta Hawks, took more than $11,000 and other benefits from agents after his junior year and as a senior. As a result, it had forfeited its only 1999 NCAA basketball tournament game, a 61-60 loss to Oklahoma, and will repay the money to the NCAA.

Coach Lute Olson said he was disappointed that Terry ``was not strong enough to resist the temptation.'' Athletic director Jim Livengood said Terry, whose violations made him ineligible for his entire senior year, has agreed to reimburse the university.

``The decision by the championship/competition cabinet was not unexpected,'' UCLA athletic director Peter Dalis said.

``We were aware that this was the last step of the JaRon Rush case and that we would have to return a portion of our share from the 1999 NCAA tournament. The university had no knowledge of JaRon's actions which caused him to be ineligible and the cabinet agreed, requiring us to return just 45 percent of the money we received by participating in the 1999 tournament.

``We now have closure on the matter and can move on.''