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An investigation by Yahoo! Sports has found that the University of Connecticut violated NCAA rules in its recruitment of troubled former guard Nate Miles. This unwelcome news for the school comes while the Huskies are in the midst of the NCAA Tournament, and scheduled to play Purdue in the Sweet 16.
The story gave specific details on the violations:
"Miles was provided with lodging, transportation, restaurant meals and representation by Josh Nochimson – a professional sports agent and former UConn student manager – between 2006 and 2008, according to multiple sources. As a representative of UConn’s athletic interests, Nochimson was prohibited by NCAA rules from having contact with Miles and from providing him with anything of value."
The report adds that one of UConn's assistants knew about the relationship between Miles and Nochimson, and that coaches at the university (including head coach Jim Calhoun) contacted Nochimson via text and phone thousands of times between 2006 and 2008. The report includes images of documents discovered in the investigation, including phone records which were obtained from the school via the Freedom of Information Act.
The documents raise the possibility that UConn's program also violated rules regarding the amount of calls that can be made to a prospective recruit still in high school. A particularly serious concern noted by the Yahoo! Sports report is the possibility that agents and schools are developing relationships to "steer" athletes in certain directions, in exchange for having the player handed back to the agent for their lucrative pro careers.
As a sidenote, Nochimson himself doesn't have a clean slate as far as his past relationships with players go, as the report noted he has been accused by NBA star Richard Hamilton of stealing more than $1 million from him.
A tiny bit of silver lining, if you can call it that, for UConn fans who are following the team's progress in the NCAA Tournament is that Nate Miles was actually expelled from the school in October of 2008. The discipline was handed down following allegations that he abused a female student, and after he was charged with violating the same student's restraining order. As a result, Miles never played a game for the school and an ESPN story noted "there is no chance for forfeiture of games, meaning that the Huskies' pursuit of the 2009 national title should not be affected".
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