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Friday, February 5, 2010
Arizona goes on probation

By Diamond Leung

Arizona announced today self-imposed sanctions due to NCAA violations related to a letter being sent by former coach Lute Olson to the Rebounders booster club asking for donations to support a 2008 AAU tournament held on campus.

From the press release:
The UA announced it will place its basketball program on probation for the 2010-11 and the 2011-12 seasons, relinquish one scholarship for the 2011-12 academic year, reduce the number of days coaches are allowed to recruit for the next two seasons, reduce the number of official campus visits allowed by prospects and reduce the number of coaches allowed to recruit off campus at one time for summer 2010 recruiting. The NCAA may modify these self-imposed sanctions.

Additionally, the University has disbanded the Rebounders Board of Directors and undertaken a number of administrative and rules education changes.

The release details other allegations the NCAA is making, and final resolution to those charges is next expected until the middle of this year.

One allegation contends Olson misled an NCAA compliance officer during the investigation and that he "failed to...promote an atmosphere of compliance."

The school's release notes that Olson was going through health problems at the time and "had suffered a stroke that affected his decision-making abilities."

According to the release, The NCAA also questions whether or not the school failed to monitor the program since an associate athletic director was present during at least one Rebounders club meeting and did not immediately recognize or report the violation.

ESPN's Andy Katz spoke to Olson in October 2008.

"I think that was my fault," Olson said. "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."