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UB TO PENALIZE ITSELF AS A RESULT OF BASKETBALL RECRUITING PROBE

The University at Buffalo today was to announce self-imposed sanctions for its basketball program stemming from alleged violations committed while Tim Cohane was coach.

Those sanctions are expected to include delaying the start of all preseason practices by two weeks. Individual workouts for new coach Reggie Witherspoon's revamped squad didn't begin until Sept. 15, and team workouts won't begin until Nov. 1.

The latter delay eliminates any opportunity for UB to participate in Midnight Madness and leaves only 16 days to gear up for its season opener against Niagara at Alumni Arena.

Also, UB was expected to eliminate one full scholarship for the 2001-02 season, cut from 12 to 10 the number of allowable campus recruiting visits during the 2000-01 academic year and reduce from two to one the number of coaches permitted on the road to recruit at any given time.

The penalties were decided upon after consultation with the Mid-American Conference and will be forwarded to the NCAA infractions committee to determine if further sanctions will be handed down.

"It's still an ongoing investigation, so there's nothing specific I can say about the violations," UB Athletic Director Bob Arkeilpane said.

"But our self-imposed sanctions are based on previous-case precedent. We hope the NCAA will be satisfied with what we have done and will see that we took the matter seriously."

Witherspoon declined to comment on the sanctions.

NCAA officials also declined to comment, citing its ongoing investigation.

UB reported to the MAC last October what the school felt were multiple violations during Cohane's tenure.

The MAC's ensuing report was then forwarded to the NCAA, which determined an investigation was warranted.

The most publicized infractions were illegal workouts of prospective recruits, including point guard Brian Keenan.

The Canisius High grad signed with UB but has since left the program and now plays at NAIA Division II Daemen College.

The other alleged violations have yet to be revealed by UB, the MAC or the NCAA.

Cohane resigned under fire in December and was replaced by Witherspoon. The NCAA likely will look favorably on Cohane's departure when making its final decision.

Arkeilpane pointed to the NCAA's backlog of cases as the main reason the investigation has dragged on so long with no official conclusion in the offing.

"I'm certain this won't be resolved by the end of the year," Arkeilpane said. "Hopefully, by early spring."

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