The NCAA committee on infractions on Thursday placed the Georgia Tech men’s basketball program on four years’ probation and banned the Yellow Jackets from playing in the postseason in 2019-20 because of violations involving impermissible benefits.
The Yellow Jackets will also lose one scholarship for each year of probation, along with other recruiting restrictions.
Tech had self-imposed a $5,000 fine and the NCAA added an additional 2 percent of its operating budget for men’s basketball.
Former Georgia Tech assistant coach Darryl LaBarrie was given a three-year show-cause order, in which “any NCAA member school employing him must restrict him from athletically related duties unless it shows cause why the restrictions should not apply.”
Georgia Tech had self-imposed a three-year dissociation with LaBarrie and permanent disassociation from Ron Bell, a former friend of current Tech coach Josh Pastner, and the NCAA ordered the school to disassociate from former star player Jarrett Jack for three years as well.
It was the third time Georgia Tech’s athletic department has appeared before the NCAA infractions committee since 2011.
“While we regret that these violations have occurred and appreciate the NCAA Committee on Infractions’ work on this case, we are disappointed with the severity of the penalties imposed, some of which will have a direct and unfair impact on current student-athletes,” Georgia Tech athletics director Todd Stansbury said in a statement. “We are exploring our options and giving serious consideration on whether to appeal some aspects of the decision.”
ESPN reported in March that LaBarrie was charged with a Level I violation related to an Atlanta strip club visit in November 2016 that sources said included NBA guard Jack and current Chicago Bulls player Wendell Carter.
Jack, whom the NCAA declared to be a representative of Georgia Tech’s athletics interests, is alleged to have provided Carter and an unidentified then-Georgia Tech player with $300 for the strip club visit, the sources told ESPN.
“Adult entertainment has no place in the NCAA Collegiate Model,” the committee said in its ruling. “It is particularly abhorrent in the recruiting process where coaches and others in a position of trust are responsible for the wellbeing of high school students visiting their campus. The COI has previously concluded that such activity is inexcusable and results in Level I violations.”
Bell also was charged with multiple rules violations, including Level I violations, which are the most serious under NCAA rules.
“Both sets of violations occurred because men’s basketball coaching staff members invited outside individuals into their program,” the committee said in its decision. “They permitted these outside individuals to interact with their student-athletes, and those actions resulted in violations.”
Jack, a 13-year NBA veteran, did not play last season after being released by the New Orleans Pelicans in October. Jack had signed with New Orleans a week before training camp.
LaBarrie was charged with offering impermissible recruiting benefits as well as failure to cooperate and unethical and dishonest conduct. LaBarrie is accused of providing false and misleading information to NCAA investigators and Georgia Tech officials regarding his knowledge of the alleged incident. He also is accused of trying to influence the player to provide misleading information to investigators.
LaBarrie was put on administrative leave in November 2017 and resigned later that season.
The NCAA also declared Bell, a resident of Tucson, Arizona, as a booster of Georgia Tech’s athletic interests, despite objections from university officials.
Bell, who met Pastner while he was an assistant coach at Arizona, was charged in the notice with offering impermissible recruiting benefits after he allegedly paid for airline tickets for former Georgia Tech players Josh Okogie and Tadric Jackson to fly to Arizona. Bell also allegedly attempted to influence former Memphis player Markel Crawford to transfer to Tech.
The NCAA determined that Bell gave Okogie and Jackson sneakers, clothing, meals and travel expenses worth more than $1,400.
Bell and his girlfriend, Jennifer Pendley, accused Pastner of sexually assaulting Pendley in a Houston hotel room in February 2016 and of harassing her at other times.
Bell suggested in recorded jailhouse conversations that the couple fabricated the allegations, according to a court filing by Pastner’s attorneys in July 2018.
Pastner and his attorneys have denied the allegations, and a Title IX investigation conducted by attorneys hired by Georgia Tech cleared Pastner in the matter in June 2018. The parties dropped their civil lawsuits against each other in August.