MUNCIE, Ind. (AP) -The NCAA has asked Ball State officials to investigate new accusations of rules violations surrounding the men's basketball program, including an allegation that the women's volleyball coach was fired for reporting suspected infractions.
The latest allegations were outlined in a letter from the NCAA dated two days before Ronny Thompson's resignation on July 13 after one season as coach. School officials said then that Thompson and his staff broke NCAA rules by attending voluntary offseason workouts the past two years, then lied about their involvement this May.
The NCAA's letter seeks additional investigation by the school into other suspected violations involving Thompson and his staff. The Star Press reported Monday on the letter, which it obtained under an open-records request to the school.
The allegations described by the NCAA include that:
- Thompson contacted a recruit who later transferred to the school before it was permissible and may have provided financial assistance to someone involved with the athlete's decision.
- The possible recruiting violation was brought to the attention of associate athletics director Pat Quinn, who tried to investigate before being reprimanded by athletic director Tom Collins for pursuing the matter.
- Thompson provided Nike shoes to athletes as a reward for improved grades, which could be considered an extra benefit.
The letter also said the NCAA had been told that Ball State President Jo Ann Gora directed Collins to fire women's volleyball coach Randy Litchfield after 18 seasons on Thompson's request.
``It was reported that Thompson's request and Litchfield's termination were in response to NCAA violations by the men's basketball coaching staff that Litchfield's staff reported to the institution,'' the letter said.
Last month, Litchfield filed a notice with Ball State that he intended to file a lawsuit over his firing, which a school attorney denied was linked to the basketball staff investigation.
Collins said the school has hired a Kansas City law firm to handle the NCAA's request and that he hoped the allegations would not hinder the search for a new basketball coach.
``We want to get to the bottom of it,'' he said. ``And as quickly as we can get answers, we'll get them back to the NCAA.''
Thompson, the son of former Georgetown coach John Thompson, was hired in April 2006 and finished 9-22 last season with the Cardinals.
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