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Lute Olson fires back at the NCAA

The NCAA infractions committee ruled in July that Arizona had committed major recruiting violations and then-coach Lute Olson had failed to promote an atmosphere of compliance.

The violations landed Arizona on probation, led to vacated wins, and resulted in recruiting restrictions and scholarship reductions that new coach Sean Miller has had to deal with in order to rebuild the program.

But in an interview on RadioExiles.com, the retired Hall of Famer Olson wasn't exactly contrite in his comments about the NCAA investigation.

"That was a farce, really. They came out here expecting to find something, and we had to get telephone records for the last five years and other questions. There was nothing there, and I felt that what really happened was they had spent a lot of money... coming out here and that they had to satisfy their people in Indianapolis by coming up with something. That's a complete farce.

"See they can misconstrue the facts and everything else, and you can't question 'em. As far as I'm concerned, that situation is not over yet because they deserve to have something thrown back at 'em. But the university was concerned that if you challenged them, then they'll hit you harder. And now that I'm no longer involved with that, I can tell the truth as opposed to all the fabrications of the truth that the NCAA gave out."

Arizona self-imposed sanctions and chose not to appeal when the NCAA added to them.

Among the violations, the NCAA reported that Olson arranged for the promoter of an on-campus AAU tournament to speak to the program's booster club and that a letter was sent to boosters with Olson's electronic signature asking for a donation with a reminder of how important the event was for recruiting.

"A mistake was made in my office where something was sent out under electronic signature," Olson said on Radio Exiles. "If I had ever seen that, why that thing would have been thrown out immediately because it’s obvious you can’t do that."

Back in 2008 in an interview with ESPN.com, Olson denied he knew the letter was being sent out, but appeared more willing to accept responsibility.

"I think that was my fault," Olson said then. "That wasn't anyone else's fault. It was my error and it was a big error. But I guess in 26 years you are allowed to make a mistake once in a while anyway and that's not to say I haven't made a lot of them but in terms of that, that was a big mistake on my part."