Report: Connecticut violated NCAA recruiting rules in pursuit of Nate Miles - ESPN
Connecticut potentially committed NCAA rules violations in its recruitment of former guard Nate Miles, Yahoo! Sports reported Wednesday.
The Web site reported that according to multiple sources, between 2006 and 2008, Miles was provided with lodging, transportation, restaurant meals and representation by Josh Nochimson, a former UConn student manager who had become a professional sports agent and formerly represented ex-Huskies star Richard Hamilton.
According to the report, one of UConn's assistants knew about the relationship between Nochimson and Miles as early as fall of 2006, and that phone records show UConn coaches made thousands of phone calls and text messages to Nochimson over the next two years.
Among the infractions reported Wednesday by Yahoo! Sports:
• One of UConn's assistants knew about the relationship between Nate Miles and Josh Nochimson, a former student manager turned sports agent, as fall of 2006. • Phone records show UConn coaches may have exceeded limits on phone calls and text messages to Miles and others close to him. In December 2006, for example, former UConn assistant coach Tom Moore made 27 calls to Miles' guardian and a person Miles referred to as an uncle as well as three calls to Miles. The limit is one.
Under NCAA regulations, Nochimson is deemed a representative of UConn's athletic interests because of his connection to the basketball program. Therefore, he was barred from recruiting Miles, from contacting Miles or his family, or from providing anything of value to Miles.
The program may also have exceeded the number of phone calls allowed to Miles under NCAA regulations during its recruiting, Yahoo! Sports reported, citing phone records obtained under the Freedom of Information Act.
The NCAA allows a single phone call per month to a prospect or his family in a player's junior year of high school. Yahoo! Sports reported that according to records, UConn coaches exceeded that limit over several months in 2006 and 2007 in the program's recruitment of Miles. In December of 2006 alone, former UConn assistant coach Tom Moore made 27 calls to Miles' guardian and a person Miles referred to as an uncle as well as three calls to Miles.
The Web site also reported that Moore, currently the coach at Quinnipiac, made Nochimson aware that UConn was recruiting Miles and that he knew Nochimson and Miles had talked.
According to records obtained by Yahoo! Sports, over a two-year period, five different UConn coaches traded at least 1,565 phone and text messages with Nochimson, including 16 from coach Jim Calhoun.
UConn athletic director Jeff Hathaway and Calhoun declined comment through a university spokesperson, according to the report. Nochimson also declined comment.
[+] EnlargeAP Photo/Fred Beckham
Former UConn assistant Tom Moore, kneeling at center, reportedly was aware a former UConn student manager turned professional agent had a relationship with Huskies recruit Nate Miles, in violation of NCAA rules.
Miles, who was expelled from UConn this fall after being accused of assaulting a female student and violating a restraining order by calling her minutes after the order was issued, is now at the College of Southern Idaho, a junior college.
ESPN.com's Andy Katz reported that according to a source with direct knowledge of NCAA procedures, based on the level of detail in the Yahoo! Sports report, the NCAA is expected to look into the allegations. According to the source, the decision on how to proceed should come quickly, possibly within the next 24 hours. But the following investigation could take months.
The NCAA will likely focus on the amount of telephone calls made and whether the school knew that Miles had a relationship with a registered agent, and if they knew, to what degree, the source said. Kelvin Sampson's case of impermissible phone calls at Indiana brought about a tweaking in an NCAA bylaw that may apply, according to a source. There is now a potential violation that details a lack of "coach control." The coach, according to the source, is obligated to create an atmosphere of compliance.
UConn is expected to release a statement later Wednesday from the West Regional in Glendale, Ariz., where the Huskies will play Purdue in the Sweet 16. According to a source close to UConn, the school will likely say that it was fully aware of the report -- as the school released the phone records to Yahoo! Sports -- but would not comment further at the time, Katz reported.
UConn is expected to take the approach that it will defend itself to the NCAA, rather than sound off publicly, despite public opinion that would likely work against it as an investigation unfolds. UConn is also expected to defend the nature of the calls to Nochimson, in particular claiming that at least one of the lengthy calls made by Calhoun -- a 58-minute call in 2007, while Miles was attending Calhoun's summer basketball camp -- was about Hamilton, not Miles.
UConn has a regularly-scheduled news conference expected to be held at or after 4 p.m. ET on Wednesday.
According to the Yahoo! Sports report, player agents have increasingly become involved in players' lives while they are still amateurs, in the hopes they can land them as NBA clients when they turn pro. The trend has grown to agents steering players to specific schools, with college coaches reciprocating by delivering the player back to the agent when he decides to turn pro.
"We're concerned in terms of agents steering certain kids to certain [schools]," Rachel Newman Baker, the NCAA's director of agent, gambling and amateurism activity, told Yahoo! Sports. "We're concerned about agreements under the table between agents and even our college coaches."
In 2006, Moore was in Chicago watching Miles at a prep tournament when he told his former student manager, Nochimson, who was there to scout potential future clients, that UConn was recruiting the 6-foot-7 shooting guard. By that evening, Miles said he had met Nochimson, according to the report.
The fact that Moore knew Nochimson and Miles were talking was an NCAA violation, according to the report. Asked if he had lost sight of the fact that Nochimson was also a representative of UConn's athletic interests under NCAA rules, Moore said "Probably. I looked at him as a young professional working as an agent, doing what he does in his career."
Miles gave conflicting statements about his relationship with Nochimson, according to the report. After at first saying he'd never heard of Nochimson, Miles said he had been his adviser. But he denied that Nochimson had ever provided him with meals or other benefits. When asked if Nochimson had arranged for him to attend IMG's Basketball Academy and Pro Training Center in Bradenton, Fla. -- which the center's director, Mike Moreau, confirmed was the case to Yahoo! Sports -- Miles ended the interview.
Nochimson has moved to decertify himself as an agent after Hamilton fired him and accused him of stealing more than $1 million from him, according to the report.
Since Miles didn't play a game for UConn -- he was expelled before preseason practice began -- there is no chance for forfeiture of games, meaning that the Huskies' pursuit of the 2009 national title should not be affected. The Huskies' 2008-09 season records also include Calhoun's 800th career victory.
Meanwhile, Quinnipiac must wait to see how Moore may be affected and how the school might respond. The alleged violations happened while Moore was a UConn assistant, and according to a source, Quinnipiac would not have access to an investigation while it is underway.
A call to Moore wasn't returned Wednesday, Katz reported.