Thursday, July 12, 2007
Thompson resigns two days after AD said no change was coming
By Andy Katz ESPN.com
Ball State coach Ronny Thompson resigned after one season, BSU assistant athletic director Joe Hernandez told ESPN.com.
An official announcement is due later Thursday with a news conference Friday.
Hernandez said he was unsure if there was a buyout of any kind.
Thompson, the son of Hall of Fame coach John Thompson and brother of Georgetown coach John Thompson III, lost a school record 22 games last season. Ball State is awaiting word from the NCAA after commiting a secondary violation for the second year in a row for conducting offseason workouts.
University spokesman Tony Proudfoot said the search for a new
coach would begin immediately. He said several factors contributed
to Thompson's decision to resign.
"Coach Thompson has expressed concern about the recent NCAA
investigation as well as other issues," Proudfoot said.
The resignation comes two days after Ball State athletic director Tom Collins told ESPN.com that there will be no change in men's basketball by the school or the coach.
"I'm committed to Ronny Thompson and his staff he's got and the great recruiting class he has coming in," Collins said Monday afternoon. "I'm committed to Ronny Thompson, and Ball State is committed to him. We want to see this thing through, and we're all behind him 100 percent. I'm here to help him be successful."
Throughout the first weekend of the July evaluation recruiting period, Thompson's job status was the source of intense speculation by colleagues. Rumors swirled at various coaches camps, and in the Muncie, Ind., area, that Thompson would resign after his staff was caught committing offseason workout violations for the second time in as many years.
Late last month racist letters were slipped under Thompson's door. According to the Muncie Star-Press, racial slurs, along with words "cheaters" and "liars," were written on notes left in the basketball offices in a "break-in" on June 24.
Ball State University police officer Gene Burton told ESPN.com Wednesday that the case should be resolved next week.
The suspense intensified when Thompson went on vacation the first weekend of the July evaluation period while the majority of coaches were on the road.
Thompson and his staff were cited for the second year in a row for violating NCAA rules by being present at voluntary offseason workouts. It has been reported by the Star-Press that the staff lied about the violations, too.
Ball State athletic director Collins said the school is waiting to hear back from the NCAA.
"We filed them as secondary violations and now we'll wait to hear from them," Collins said. "We have no idea how long the response will take."
Collins said Thompson and the staff have gone through rules education and understand "the consequences" and what "the issues are and are now working hard on the recruiting trail."
Andy Katz is a senior writer for ESPN.com. The Associated Press contributed to this report.