Utah Basketball Given 2 Years Probation by NCAA over Recruiting Violations

Paul KasabianSenior ContributorAugust 6, 2019

PALO ALTO, CA - JANUARY 24: Utah Head Coach Larry Krystkowiak during their game against the Stanford Cardinal at Maples Pavilion on January 24, 2019 in Palo Alto, California. (Photo by Cody Glenn/Getty Images)
Cody Glenn/Getty Images

An NCAA Division I committee put the University of Utah men's basketball program on probation for two years and handed down other penalties after the team self-reported recruiting violations in April 2018, per Steve Bartle of 247Sports. 

Bartle reported the committee's findings:

"The committee found that an associate head coach coordinated with a local community college's men's basketball head coach to get a high school prospect to the university's campus for a visit, that would be paid for by the community college. While the prospect was in the area, he also visited the Utah campus, according to the committee. Since the community college paid for the prospect's visit to the university, the visit was classified as an official visit and caused the university to exceed the number of allowable official visits."

Utah has also incurred a self-imposed $5,000 fine, a few minor recruiting restrictions and a one-year show-cause order for the associate head coach.

The associate head coach in question is Tommy Connor, per Kurt Kragthorpe of the Salt Lake Tribune.

Head coach Larry Krystkowiak provided the following statement, per Bartle:

"While they were inadvertent and unintentional mistakes on our part, and there was never an intent to circumvent any rules, we accept that they were violations and, as the head coach, I am accountable for them. I have always been a strong proponent of protecting the integrity of college basketball and that will not change."

Per Kragthorpe, "the violations stemmed from what a school news release labeled 'a misreading of the NCAA calendar' in the spring of 2018, when Utah’s four full-time coaches (including DeMarlo Slocum, now on UNLV’s staff) visited an out-of-state prospect at his school during a recruiting quiet period."

Kragthorpe also reported that Utah revoked a 2015 "coach-in-waiting" agreement with Connor to eventually succeed Krystkowiak.

"You can't run from the fact that there were NCAA violations committed here," Utah athletic director Mark Harlan told Kragthorpe. "But again, there's a big difference between inadvertent mistakes and perhaps some of the other things we've seen in the country."

The NCAA seemed to acknowledge those sentiments when the NCAA committee revoked a two-game suspension initially handed down, per Emily James of NCAA.org.

After the panel conducted a hearing, "the committee determined the violations were unintentional, limited and not indicative of systemic problems," per James.

The Utes have made the NCAA tournament twice in eight years under Krystkowiak, notably amassing a 53-18 record over the 2014-15 and 2015-16 seasons. The Utes made the Sweet 16 in the former year.

Utah has earned 11-7 records in Pac-12 play over the past three years and made the NIT twice.