The NCAA and USC jointly announced Thursday afternoon the Gamecocks men’s basketball program will suffer no additional penalties beyond what was self-imposed for the involvement of former assistant coach Lamont Evans in the FBI college basketball sting operation. The NCAA found Evans accepted bribes between $3300 and $5800 from an individual associated with a sports agent.
In its defense, USC argued its three year investigation found that Evans was a lone wolf, no one else in the program was involved in the caper, and no athletes or prospects received improper benefits. The NCAA Committee on Infractions basically accepted USC’s findings and did not add to the penalties the University had proposed.
The Committee and USC did agree on two “aggravating factors” that applied to the case…the athletic program’s recent history of NCAA transgressions (this is South Carolina’s eighth Level I/II or major case, and its third case within the past four years), and that persons of authority condoned, participated in or negligently disregarded the violation or wrongful conduct, a factor the Committee on Infractions regularly applies to institutions where coaching staff members directly participated in violations.
The case was resolved by using a cooperative summary disposition, a process in which involved parties collectively submit the case to the committee in written form. All participating parties must agree to the facts of the case for this process to be used instead of a formal hearing.
USC self-imposed the following penalties:
- Two years of probation.
- A $5,000 fine (self-imposed by the university).
- A reduction of men’s basketball official visits to 25 during the 2020-21/2021-22 rolling two-year period (self-imposed by the university).
- A prohibition of unofficial visits in men’s basketball for a total of four weeks during the fall of 2021 and/or 2022 (self-imposed by the university).
- A prohibition of men’s basketball telephone recruiting for a six-week period during the 2020-21 and/or 2021-22 academic years (self-imposed by the university).
- A reduction in the number of men’s basketball recruiting person days by 17 during the 2020-21 and/or 2021-22 academic years (self-imposed by the university).
- A 10-year show-cause order for the former assistant coach. During that period, any NCAA member school employing him must restrict him from any athletically related duties unless it shows cause why the restrictions should not apply.
Statement from AD Ray Tanner:
“During the NCAA investigation process, members of our athletics staff, Southeastern Conference staff and the NCAA Enforcement staff, met in Indianapolis to review the facts of the case,” said University of South Carolina Athletics Director Ray Tanner. “It was a cooperative meeting and I felt it was important in how we got to this conclusion.”
“I am proud of how our department handled this situation. Once we became aware of this situation, we were proactive in determining what happened and worked in cooperation with the Department of Justice and the NCAA. The NCAA’s acceptance of our self-imposed sanctions validates our commitment and the work done by our compliance staff, administration and coaches.”
Statement from basketball coach Frank Martin:
“I would like to thank our Board of Trustees, President Caslen, Coach Tanner, our administration, our campus leadership and our compliance department who have worked so hard for our program and to get us to this place. Our compliance department does an unbelievable job working with and educating our staff and players. I’d also like to thank the NCAA, for the thoroughness and thoughtfulness that went into this process. As I have said throughout my entire career, I lead my program with transparency, an open-door policy and with integrity – it is in my heart and it is at the core of who I am. We move forward, and I’m thankful to have this situation behind us.”
Evans eventually pleaded guilty in New York federal court to a federal conspiracy bribery charge. He admitted to accepting $22,000 in bribes while at USC and Oklahoma State. Evans was sentenced in June of 2019 to three months in prison, ordered to forfeit $22,000 and directed to serve 100 hours of community service.
Evans came to USC when Frank Martin was hired prior to the 2012-13 season and was with the Gamecocks thru the 2016 season.