Report: Georgia accuses Jim Harrick Jr.

May 21, 2003 at 5:05 PM
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ATLANTA, May 21 (UPI) -- The University of Georgia has laid blame for problems with its men's basketball program squarely at the feet of Jim Harrick Jr.

The Atlanta Journal-Constitution reported Wednesday that the school has told the NCAA that Harrick Jr., whose father, Jim Sr., was fired earlier this spring, was "solely responsible" for the academic fraud which has affected the program and ultimately led to his father's ouster.

According to the paper, Harrick Jr. lied about his teaching credentials, and asked two players to lie about their participation in a course, among other things.

The paper said a letter from Compliance Director Amy Chisholm has been sent to the NCAA, outlining the allegations.

The paper said that, in the letter, Chiseholm contended Harrick Jr. misled superiors about how a Physical Education course in 2001 would be taught, and asked players Chris Daniels and Rashad Wright to lie about their participation in the course.

The Journal-Constitution obtained a copy of the letter under Georgia's public records law.

Chisholm told the paper she didn't know when the NCAA would send Georgia an official letter of inquiry, which is like an indictment listing the NCAA investigators' charges against the school, which will respond to the letter, then appear before the NCAA Infractions Committee, which determines guilt or innocence and hands out sanctions.

"Right now, we're just waiting on them," Chisholm said.

The paper said Chisholm told the NCAA in her letter that Daniels and Wright "unknowingly received preferential treatment" in the class and "did not commit academic fraud, as it has been alluded to in the media," and that Harrick Jr. told investigators a student had to receive 425 points to get an "A," with points awarded for going to class or attending the Bulldogs' practices or games.

Also, Daniels and Wright told investigators they attended classes regularly during the early part of the semester but quit going to class when Harrick Jr. told them they could get credit by going to practice, according to the paper.

Jim Harrick Sr. retired in late March after being suspended when the scandal broke. The resignation came less than three weeks after the scandal shamed the school into withdrawing from postseason play.

He ended any additional role in the turmoil by stepping down, and afterwards, said he will not return to the bench in either college or the NBA.

"I decided it's time that I retired and that's what I did," Harrick told the Los Angeles Times. "I had that right after 43 years in coaching."

Harrick Sr. had been suspended with pay since March 10, when Georgia President Michael Adams and Athletic Director Vince Dooley announced that the Bulldogs would not participate in the SEC Tournament, effectively ending the season for a team almost certainly headed for the NCAA Tournament.

The drastic move came amid allegations of academic fraud and improper benefits that prompted an investigation by the school, SEC, and NCAA. That investigation is ongoing, and apparently its findings thus far are the impetus for the settlement.

Harrick Sr denied any serious wrongdoing, and was confident that he would be exonerated.

"I will be in the end," Harrick Sr. told the Times. "They may find something, I don't know, but there is nothing major here."

The Atlanta Journal Constitution had reported that Harrick had three years remaining on a six-year contract that paid him $600,000 a year. That deal reportedly called for Harrick Sr. to receive a settlement of as much as $2.1 million if the school could not directly link him to alleged NCAA violations.

Since his firing, Georgia has hired Dennis Felton, late of Western Kentucky, as its new men's coach.

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