The NCAA has cleared San Diego State’s men’s basketball program of any rules violations, the school announced Tuesday, thanking the press for playing the case straight.
“I am particularly grateful to those national and local media outlets that allowed this process to play out and refrained from sensationalizing unsubstantiated allegations,” said coach Steve Fisher.
“These types of allegations are not uncommon in major college athletes. What is uncommon is that they ever come out in public. I appreciate the NCAA’s efforts to look thoroughly into this matter as well as the conclusion that there was no wrongdoing.”
In its statement, the school said the NCAA director of enforcement had notified SDSU that allegations made against the program were not substantiated.
Fisher said he was grateful to SDSU President Elliot Hirshman, athletic director Jim Sterk and others.
“I am pleased that this confirms what I and our administration have known all along, that as a staff, we take great pride in representing San Diego State University and the men’s basketball program, and conducting this program with the highest integrity,” Fisher said.
The San Diego Union-Tribune said “CBS Sports reported Sept. 15 that SDSU’s basketball program is ‘under investigation by the NCAA for potential rules violations (that) include possible improper benefits to prospects.’ That prompted SDSU to issue a statement that ‘members of the NCAA staff confirmed for the university that they have not commenced a formal investigation.’”
The Union-Tribune reported that SDSU retained attorney Kelleigh Fagan, who once worked in the NCAA’s enforcement division, served as a liaison between the school and NCAA, “filing a report in December that responded to allegations of rules violations.”
The U-T said it learned that part of Fagan’s report to the NCAA focused on an investigation commissioned by SDSU in late 2014 that originated from allegations of academic impropriety made – and later changed – by Ruth Patterson, who married Aztecs assistant coach Justin Hutson in 2011 and is now finalizing a divorce.
Patterson initially began answering questions from a U-T reporter and then declined comment.
“I’m going through a divorce,” Patterson said. “I have nothing to say.”
Citing NCAA policy, SDSU said it cannot provide additional details about the inquiry.