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Report: Possible violation involved player’s father

May 2, 1997

LOUISVILLE, Ky. (AP) _ Louisville might have violated NCAA regulations when an assistant basketball coach allegedly provided financial help to the father of freshman Nate Johnson, The Courier-Journal reported Friday.

The NCAA said such a case might violate its rules barring special benefits to players or their relatives.

The university already is on NCAA probation.

The newspaper said Carlton ``Scooter″ McCray acknowledged in an interview Tuesday using his personal credit card to help Frederick Johnson avoid being evicted from a Louisville hotel for failing to pay his bill.

McCray said he told the hotel to use his Diners Club card only as assurance that Johnson wouldn’t leave without paying. But instead the hotel mistakenly charged him for some of Johnson’s expenses, McCray said. He said Johnson’s hotel charges later were removed from his credit-card bill.

When the newspaper described the case to NCAA official Athena Yiamouyiannis without identifying the individuals or the university involved, she said the fact that a credit card was provided _ even if no charges were paid _ constituted a violation of an NCAA rule that says a university can’t offer extra benefits to players or their relatives.

``Nobody else on campus is able to have the athletics department guarantee payment for them,″ she said.

McCray acknowledged waiting more than two months to inform head coach Denny Crum of the use of his credit card at the hotel.

But university officials sought to downplay the significance of the case.

McCray and others said Frederick Johnson was staying at the Wilson Inn because he wanted to be near his son and watch him play basketball.

University officials said they began their own investigation after McCray told Crum two weeks ago about the credit-card billings. Associate athletic director Kevin Miller said the university notified the NCAA about the case Monday and planned to submit a report to the NCAA this week.

McCray told The Courier-Journal his only regret was that the university might get in trouble over what he called ``a mistake in judgment.″

Crum defended McCray, saying that if he had been in McCray’s place, he probably would have done the same thing. ``I don’t see anything wrong. If it’s a technical violation, it’s a technical violation.″

Crum added, ``It’s impossible to know all the rules or to do everything perfect all the time; you can’t do it.″

If the NCAA agrees that a violation occurred and that it is a secondary _ less serious _ offense, Louisville might not face punishment. But if the violation is deemed more serious, punishment could include the so-called ``death penalty″ for repeat offenders _ suspension of the basketball program for at least a year.

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