Though he’s now with the Tennessee Volunteers, Rick Barnes coached the Texas Longhorns for 17 years. Those years were very up and down, and now they could be heading more into down territory.
Per a report from Brad Wolverton of the Chronicle of Higher Education, there was alleged academic impropriety while Barnes was in Austin, specifically with players P.J. Tucker, Martez Walker and J’Covan Brown. Walker was caught his freshman year texting pictures of test questions in hopes of getting answers, while Tucker had a paper written for him and Brown had some extra help writing papers.
Though he typed them himself, the words were not his.
Granted, this isn’t nearly enough (at least not yet) for the NCAA to hit either Texas or Barnes with major sanctions, but the timing could not be worse.
Barnes was fired from the university after yet another early exit from the NCAA Tournament this past season, and was hired at Tennessee shortly afterward. The last thing both he and Tennessee need right now is for anything shady involving him to come out, especially if he knew about it and turned a blind eye.
The mark of an excellent coach is one that does his job well and keeps his team under control, and these allegations paint Barnes as one that did the opposite of the latter.
This story is still very much in the early stages, but Campus Sports will update it as more information becomes available.
*Featured Photo (above) credit to USA TODAY Sports