Saturday, July 16, 2005

Ex-assistant carries bulk of blame


Former Kansas University women's basketball assistant coach Tim Eatman was responsible for landing the nation's No. 6-rated recruiting classes in 1997 and 1998.

Though, after the University released the results of an internal investigation Friday, he was accountable for much more. The women's basketball program was found to have committed five violations in the summer and fall semesters of 2002, and Eatman's name is linked to four.

Eatman came to KU in 1996 as recruiting coordinator. After leaving to be the head coach at the Illinois-Chicago for four seasons, he returned for the two final seasons of the Washington era. He is currently an assistant coach at the University of Louisville. Attempts to reach him Friday were unsuccessful.

The violations garnered stiff penalties included in the two-year probationary period under which the athletics department was placed by KU Chancellor Robert Hemenway.

The program will forfeit two scholarships for the 2005-06 season, as well as reduce the number of off-campus recruiting coaches from three to two during the 2005-06 campaign.

The most serious violation came in summer of 2002, when Eatman arranged for two prospective players to attend Kaplan Test Preparation Center to help them achieve scores on standardized tests to gain eligibility. In evidence found during the investigation, the prospective student-athletes were given books for the prep course at no charge by Theresa Richter, a representative at the Testing Center.

In the fall semester, Eatman and former KU assistant Lynette Woodard, provided transportation to two prospective players on two separate occasions on the KU campus to take the standardized tests.

Also during that summer, Eatman made arrangements for two prospective players to both live and work at Naismith Hall, which is a dormitory not owned by the school. The recruits were supposed to work in Naismith's dining facility in exchange for the cost of their housing and meals, but the value of the work provided was deemed insufficient to pay for their time at Naismith.

Other violations involved two recruits participating in out-of-season pickup games with then-current KU women's players at the school's facilities in the late summer and early fall.

"Lew Perkins discussed these compliance issues with me during my interview process, so my staff and I have known about this since Day One," current coach Bonnie Henrickson said. "I appreciate Lew's forthrightness, and I think the penalties we have self-imposed are appropriate. We look forward to putting this behind us as soon as the NCAA completes its investigation."


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