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Violations by UConn?

Report: School broke NCAA rules

By Dave Collins
Associated Press / March 26, 2009
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Connecticut coach Jim Calhoun said he and the university are looking into a Yahoo! Sports report claiming the school broke NCAA rules during the recruitment of former basketball player Nate Miles, but added Miles is not at UConn and his team remains focused on the NCAA Tournament.

Yahoo reported yesterday that Miles, a 6-foot-7-inch guard from Toledo, Ohio, was given lodging, transportation, meals and representation by sports agent Josh Nochimson, and a UConn assistant coach knew about the relationship between the player and the agent. The story cited interviews, documents obtained under Freedom of Information laws, and other sources.

Nochimson, a former student manager for UConn, was considered a representative of UConn's athletic interests by the NCAA and was prohibited from contacting Miles or giving him anything of value, Yahoo reported.

Records also show that five UConn coaches called Nochimson and text-messaged him at least 1,565 times during a nearly two-year period before and after Miles's recruitment in 2006 and 2007. Calhoun had 16 of those communications, Yahoo said.

Miles was expelled from UConn in October without playing a game for the Huskies after he was charged with violating a restraining order in a case involving a woman who claimed he assaulted her. He attends the College of Southern Idaho and plays for the basketball team.

Miles could not be reached for comment. A cellphone number used by the Associated Press to contact him in the past was answered by his uncle, Thomas Pettigrew of Toledo, Ohio, who said the NCAA needs to do more to prevent recruiting violations.

"I just think he got mixed up with the wrong people," Pettigrew said. "There was a whole bunch of adults who should have been doing their job instead of doing what they did."

Pettigrew added, "No matter what anybody says about him, my nephew is a great basketball player and a good person."

Calhoun, in Glendale, Ariz., yesterday as the team prepared for an NCAA regional semifinal against Purdue tonight, did not specifically respond to the allegations. He pointed out that Miles is "not involved with our program" and said he is not concerned about the issue distracting the Huskies.

"We can keep our kids focused on what we're going to do, let them understand that the university . . . will handle anything else that needs to be handled," Calhoun said. "We can't do anything about it. The only thing we can do is play basketball and hopefully advance our way to Saturday."

UConn is the No. 1 seed in the West Regional.

Calhoun's comments echoed a statement released by UConn yesterday, saying that when it began recruiting Miles, it consulted its outside counsel, who worked with NCAA staff to examine Miles's amateur status.

"The NCAA's Eligibility Center reviewed all information that it had concerning the student-athlete's eligibility status and determined that he was eligible for his freshman year. The student-athlete departed from the university before ever participating in athletics competition," the statement said.

"The University takes very seriously its responsibilities of NCAA membership and will do all that is expected to follow up on any information related to possible NCAA rules violations," the statement said.

UConn athletic director Jeff Hathaway, in Boston at the East Regional as an NCAA site representative, declined to comment.

Nochimson did not return a message seeking comment.

Former UConn assistant coach Tom Moore, now head coach at Quinnipiac, made calls to Miles, to Miles's guardian, and a person Miles said was his uncle, all in December 2006, Yahoo reported. Moore acknowledged to Yahoo Sports that he knew Nochimson had contacted Miles "a couple of times," although the documents Yahoo obtained show pages and pages of phone and text message correspondence.

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