|Ball State apologizes, says ex-coach victim of 'unprofessional behavior'|
|Written by Admin|
|Wednesday, 19 December 2007 09:11|
INDIANAPOLIS (AP) -Ball State apologized to former basketball coach Ronny Thompson after an outside review found ``unprofessional behavior'' by an employee tainted the school's report to the NCAA on possible rules violations.|
Ball State also said Wednesday that the school and Thompson, a son of Hall of Fame coach John Thompson, had resolved a dispute surrounding his July resignation after a 9-22 record in his lone season with the Cardinals.
The school's statement also said the university and Thompson agreed he had not lied during an internal investigation last May into possible rules violations.
However, the outside review conducted by former Indiana Supreme Court Justice Myra Selby found no basis for allegations that the university had unlawfully discriminated against Thompson. Both Thompson and Selby are black.
The school did not mention a financial settlement in its statement, and Ball State spokesman Tony Proudfoot did not to answer directly when asked whether there was one. He said the news media were welcome to submit an open records request to the university.
The Associated Press left phone messages with a lawyer for Thompson. It also sought comment from Thompson through Comcast SportsNet, which employs him in Bethesda, Md., as a part-time analyst on televised college and professional games.
Ball State will submit a report to the NCAA saying there is no evidence Thompson violated any NCAA ethical rules, the statement said.
In announcing Thompson's resignation, Ball State said he ``expressed concerns about the recent NCAA investigation, as well as other issues.''
Notes including racial slurs and insults had been slipped under the office doors of Thompson and other basketball staff members in June. A campus police investigation into the notes did not determine their source.
The review by Selby found ``evidence of isolated incidents of racially hostile or insensitive behaviors on the part of a few athletic department employees,'' but they were not enough to create ``an unlawful racially hostile environment.''
``With respect to Coach Thompson, Ball State wishes to extend its sincere apology for the unprofessional and unauthorized behavior of its employees that led to his resignation, for the unfortunate distress that resulted from these actions, and for the unwarranted negative effect on his reputation,'' Ball State's statement said.
Selby's investigation found that a person identified only as a ``key staff member with the athletic department'' used a racial epithet, Ball State's statement said.
Ball State said the person cited for unprofessional actions in the NCAA report had resigned, and others have been disciplined. Proudfoot said the names of those people would remain confidential as personnel matters.
At the time of Thompson's resignation, the university said he and his staff had broken NCAA rules in the summer of 2006 and in May 2007 by attending voluntary offseason team workouts. It also said they had lied about their involvement in the May infraction.
The new statement said Ball State officials and Thompson agreed that those conclusions about the ``truthfulness of the coaching staff in addressing the alleged violations were not an accurate reflection of what transpired.''
Selby found the university had enough evidence to warrant the filing of a self-report to the NCAA last June, but its investigation was compromised by the action of the staff member who conducted the investigation.
``The unprofessional and unauthorized behavior of this employee created significant misunderstandings and miscommunications during the investigation into the alleged violations,'' Ball State said.
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