Georgia Tech basketball punished by NCAA

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Thursday, Sept. 26, 2019

ATLANTA (AP) — Georgia Tech's basketball team was banned from postseason play for the upcoming season and slapped Thursday with four years of probation for major recruiting violations committed by a former assistant coach and an ex-friend of head coach Josh Pastner.

The sanctions handed down by the NCAA also included a reduction in scholarships, limits on recruiting and a fine of $5,000 plus 2% of the program's budget — a major blow to Pastner's efforts to rebuild the struggling Atlantic Coast Conference program.

The NCAA said former assistant coach Darryl LaBarrie gave $300 to a highly touted prospect for a visit to an Atlanta strip club and arranged for him to meet with a former Georgia Tech athlete who played for the NBA's Atlanta Hawks, including a visit to the player's home and a free meal at a lounge owned by the player.

The NBA player was not identified, but Jarrett Jack was on the Hawks' roster in 2016. He never played for Atlanta, which waived him during training camp as he struggled to return from a serious knee injury

LaBarrie was given a three-year show-cause ban from coaching for failing to cooperate in the investigation. The NCAA said he denied any involvement during his first interview with the enforcement staff and also tried to get the prospect to lie about what happened. LaBarrie later acknowledged that he arranged the illegal benefits, the investigation found.

The committee said another booster, identified previously as Pastner's former friend Ron Bell, provided two players and a potential transfer athlete with $2,424 in shoes, clothes, meals, transportation and lodging.

The NCAA found that Pastner repeatedly cautioned Bell not to provide any illegal benefits, though the coach allowed him to continue interacting with the program. Bell warned the three players to never tell Pastner about the gifts and benefits, according to the report.

Georgia Tech has permanently cut ties with Bell.