The University of Texas has released a statement on the alleged misconduct that occurred under the watch of former head men’s basketball coach Rick Barnes, who was with the program from 1998 up until his firing after yet another early exit from the NCAA Tournament this year.
“Academic integrity is at the core of the University of Texas,” the statement reads. “Our student-athletes’ academic progress rates are among the best in the nation. And we continually seek to foster an ethical culture that reduces the risk of wrongdoing, manages our internal controls, and responds to inappropriate conduct.
“The university takes any suggestion of wrongdoing extremely seriously. We are always looking to identify problems that may exist and ways we can do better. Working with external NCAA bylaw and academic compliance experts Gene Marsh and Geoff Silver, UT is investigating allegations raised by The Chronicle of Higher Education and has contacted the NCAA about them. We determined that the university had no knowledge of two former student-athletes allegedly receiving improper help with high school coursework before they enrolled. We now are reviewing three other cases purported to have occurred over a nine-year period since 2006 to determine if any university or NCAA rules were violated and if any action is needed. The university has no information that suggests … Rick Barnes knew of or was involved in any academic improprieties. President Gregory L. Fenves is actively working with his leadership teams in both Student Affairs and Athletics to pursue the highest levels of integrity for all UT students.”
Olverton’s piece specifically mentions former Longhorns players Martez Walker, J’Covan Brown and P.J. Tucker, all of whom allegedly committed some sort of academic misconduct during their respective times in Austin.
Tucker currently plays for the NBA’s Phoenix Suns, while Walker is currently enrolled at Oakland University in Michigan and Brown is playing overseas in Turkey.
There isn’t any hard evidence at this point that the NCAA can use to sanction Texas, but the timing could not be worse. Barnes is the new head coach at Tennessee, while Texas hired legendary Virginia Commonwealth coach Shaka Smart to succeed him. The last thing either man needs is to begin next season surrounded by bad publicity in their first years at new institutions.
Campus Sports will update this story as new information becomes available.
*Featured Photo (above) credit to USA TODAY Sports