NCAA's UConn men's basketball investigation relates to recruiting practices

Published on Sunday, 28 January 2018 22:42
Written by Neill Ostrout

Journal Inquirer

The NCAA investigation the UConn men’s basketball program is currently going through relates to its recruiting practices.

The school announced Friday morning that the NCAA “has notified UConn of an inquiry into its men’s basketball program,” and added that it is working with the NCAA’s enforcement division as the investigation goes forward.

An NCAA Letter of Inquiry serves as the signal to a school that a formal investigation has begun. UConn has not yet received such a letter, but was notified verbally, which essentially serves the same purpose.

UConn hired the legal firm of Lightfoot, Franklin and White in the fall as part of a review of its men’s basketball program. That internal review was prompted by the FBI scandal that rocked college basketball and saw four prominent assistant coaches arrested on bribery charges. And the NCAA recommended that all programs perform similar internal reviews in the wake of those arrests.

Several sources have said that the school did not self-report anything that stemmed from that initial investigation to the NCAA, prompting this current inquiry. The two matters are unrelated, one source said, and the current issue involves the recruitment of players.

It’s not clear which recruits are in question, and whether or not they ended up attending UConn.

Although interviews have already been conducted and information compiled in regards to the NCAA’s inquiry, UConn has not received the more foreboding “notice of allegations” from the governing body of college athletics.

UConn has faced NCAA scrutiny before, most notably for the 2008 recruitment of Nate Miles. Then-coach Jim Calhoun’s Huskies were put on three years’ probation and Calhoun was suspended for three games during the 2011-12 season.

The current inquiry comes at a time when coach Kevin Ollie’s Huskies have been struggling. They are coming off their first losing season in 30 years, and are a longshot to make this year’s NCAA Tournament.

If UConn does miss the tournament this season, it will be the first time it has failed to qualify for the event in consecutive seasons since the 1987-88 and 1988-89 campaigns.

Huskies hire O-line coach

The UConn football team filled its final coaching vacancy Friday, naming Frank Giufre as its offensive line coach.

Giufre spent the last six seasons as the offensive quality control coach for the NFL’s Indianapolis Colts.

He replaces J.B. Grimes, who left UConn after one season to take the same job at Auburn.

As part of his duties for the Colts, Giufre served as assistant tight ends coach in 2012 and assistant offensive line coach from 2013-17.

Giufre has 17 years of coaching experience total, including 11 seasons in college football. He was a college assistant at Maine, Sacred Heart and Miami.

Giufre is a graduate of Syracuse, just as his new boss at UConn, Randy Edsall, is.

“I’m pleased to have Frank join our staff and coach our offensive line,” Edsall said in a statement released by the school. “His attention to detail and ability to teach and coach the fundamentals and techniques of offensive line play will benefit our young offensive line. Having college and pro experience really fit what I was looking for in an offensive line coach and after talking with Bruce (Arians), Chuck (Pagano) and Coach Cosgrove (former Maine head coach) it was apparent to me that Frank was our guy. He has a great ability to connect with the student-athletes and will be a tremendous asset on the recruiting trail.”

Before he went to the Colts, Giufre spent five years as the run game coordinator, offensive line coach and tight ends coach at the Maine.

“I’m excited to back in the northeast and thrilled to be a part of coach Edsall’s program at UConn,” Giufre said in a statement. “I have worked with (defensive line coach) Dennis Dottin-Carter and (director of player personnel) Michael Zyskowski during my time at Maine and have a great relationship with those guys. I can’t wait to coach with them and everyone else on staff in Storrs. It is an honor and a privilege to be on Coach Edsall’s staff and I am grateful for the opportunity.”

Posted in Newington Town Crier, UConn on Sunday, 28 January 2018 22:42. Updated: Sunday, 28 January 2018 22:44.