Friday , Nov , 26 , 2004 C.Y. Ellis

St. John’s violates rules; imposes penalties

Queens, NY (Sports Network) – The St. John’s men’s basketball program was
issued two years of penalties by the University on Friday, after an internal
investigation found that a former player was given cash by an athletic
department employee.

Earlier this year, former player Abe Keita alleged he was given $300 per month
by a member of the basketball staff. The school says that the funds were
provided out of “humanitarian intent,” but recognizes it was still a violation
of the NCAA’s extra-benefit rules.

Keita was one of six players suspended by St. John’s following a February off-
court incident in Pittsburgh. He was recruited and played under former head
coach Mike Jarvis, who was fired early last season over a contract dispute.
The Red Storm finished last year under interim coach Kevin Clark with a 6-21
mark overall and a dismal 1-15 record in the Big East.

Since, the school has begun an attempt at turning around its storied program,
hiring former Kansas assistant and New York-native Norm Roberts as its head
coach. However, the Red Storm are still picked to finish last in the Big East
this season.

Among the penalties imposed on the program by the University, the team will be
banned from postseason play during this season and lose a scholarship in each
of the next two years. The NCAA will review the findings and determine if the
penalties are sufficient.

The University hopes that these penalties will bring an end to one of its
most disappointing eras in history. In addition to the messy break-up between
the school and Jarvis, the incident in Pittsburgh and the failure on the court
a season ago, former player Ron Artest has been issued the largest suspension
in NBA history after going into the stands and fighting fans.

A statement released by the school in reference to the rules violations said
in part, “St. John’s is committed to shaping a compliance program that will be
a model for the NCAA and its member institutions. It is the intent of the
University to correct the mistakes of the past and continue on the road to
making the entire athletic program one of which all can be proud.”