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Brown ‘confident’ SMU will move on after NCAA inquiry

Brad Townsend
The Dallas Morning News

Reached Thursday by The Dallas Morning News in the aftermath of a Wednesday-night Yahoo Sports report regarding his school’s June appearance before the NCAA Committee on Infraction, SMU coach Larry Brown reiterated there is little he and the school can say until the NCAA renders judgment.

SMU acknowledged in January its basketball and golf programs were under NCAA investigation.

A source said Thursday that SMU’s appearance before the NCAA Committee on Infractions occurred in mid-June. SMU’s appearance before the committee means the NCAA’s investigation is complete. The June hearing was for SMU to respond to the findings of NCAA enforcement investigators.

Typically, once a school appears before the Committee on Infractions, the committee takes six-to-eight weeks to render a judgment. If penalties are recommended, the school then would have 15 days in which to appeal.

“I can’t comment about this ongoing NCAA investigation,” Brown, the former Pistons coach, told The News when reached by phone. “I won’t give the writer (Pat Forde) any credibility by doing that. It’s a process that we’re dealing with right now. I’m not going to comment on it. The university came out with a statement in January about it and I thought it was pretty specific.

“I’m confident we’re going to move on and continue to try to do the right thing.”

According to the Yahoo Sports report, Brown faces a “lack of coach control” charge. NCAA enforcement officials, according to Yahoo, investigated whether a former secretary of Brown’s and former SMU assistant coach Ulric Maligi assisted guard Keith Frazier with coursework.

Frazier was ruled academically ineligible in January, the same month in which Maligi took an indefinite leave of absence. Maligi now is the national scouting director for John Lucas Enterprises in Houston.

A source said Thursday that Maligi’s leave of absence was a case of SMU self-imposing amid the NCAA’s investigation.

Wednesday’s Yahoo report inferred that Frazier’s being declared academically ineligible was linked to the NCAA investigation. A source said Thursday, however, that the NCAA investigation was focused on whether the secretary and Maligi assisted Frazier with an online course before he even enrolled at SMU — a course it turned out he didn’t even need, once his complete high school transcripts came in.

The source said that when Frazier was declared ineligible in January, it was due to his grade-point average at SMU. Frazier, the source said, is currently enrolled in summer school and doing well. School officials are hopeful of knowing in the next few days whether Frazier’s summer school grades will be sufficient in restoring his basketball eligibility.

As for the “lack of coach control” charge Brown faces, the NCAA added legislation recently that states that if rules are broken within a program, even if the coach was unaware of the infraction he or she is ultimately responsible for the infraction.

SMU released the following statement when asked for comment:

“As we acknowledged in January, we are working with the NCAA. We had an official hearing in June, but in respect for the integrity of the process, will have no further comment at this time.”