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(NECN: Storrs, Conn.) - UConn men's basketball coach Jim Calhoun was cited by the NCAA for failing to "promote an atmosphere of compliance" as the NCAA alleged eight violations by his program.
"We are steadfast in our belief that we operate a program deeply committed to complying with NCAA guidelines," Coach Calhoun said, reading from a prepared statement.
The alleged violations against the program include improper phone calls and text messages to recruits, and giving recruits improper benefits. The NCAA and the school have been investigating the program since shortly after a report by Yahoo! Sports in March 2009 that former team manager Josh Nochimson helped guide basketball recruit Nate Miles to Connecticut, giving him lodging, transportation, meals and representation. The player was expelled from the school without ever playing for the Huskies; he was charged with violating a restraining order.
"While we may have made some mistakes in the recruiting process, UConn has never wavered in terms of fostering and maintaining a strong culture of compliance and has always strived to meet highest standard possible and the highest standard expected of us," Calhoun said.
The head coach later took part in a question and answer session, in which he admitted he did not see the allegation of NCAA violations ahead of time.
"No one wants (violation allegations) to happen. Did I ever see it happening? No. But it happened. Therefore, we're going to handle it the way we've always handled things -- upfront, transparently and do the best we possible can to find out what we have -- if we have made mistakes -- and carry on," Calhoun said. "This is our standard and we expect to uphold ourselves to that."
"It's a very serious matter. Conversely, I'm not defeated, because I don't get defeated by things," Calhoun said. "Matter of fact, I'm going to be educated by certain matters, if in fact we did make mistakes."
The school refused to answer questions specific to the allegations, citing the ongoing investigation. It is "in the middle of" the NCAA enforcement processing of a major infractions case. The program expects to learn of any possible discipline in 90 days.
"The next phase is an opportunity for the university to read, understand and figure out how to respond to the allegations," Rick Evrad, university legal counsel for NCAA-related matters said. "We have been along every step of the way with the NCAA."
Assistant Coach Patrick Sellers and Director of Operations for the men's basketball program Beau Archibald resigned last Sunday and last Thursday, respectively, but remain an active part of the process of the investigation.
"I hope that you can respect that they're individuals that have made a personal decision for them, and it is obviously a personnel matter for us," the athletic department said.
Documents released by the school showed pages and pages of phone and text message correspondence between Nochimson and UConn coaches Calhoun, Tom Moore, who is now head coach at Quinnipiac, and Sellers.
Material from The Associated Press used in this report. Video courtesy of WTNH.