NCAA sus­pends Jack­son, Oko­gie

Penal­ties for vi­o­lat­ing rules end up lighter than what guide­lines sug­gest.

The Atlanta Journal-Constitution - - SPORTS - By Ken Sugiura ksug­iura@ajc.com

The NCAA sus­pended Ge­or­gia Tech guards Tadric Jack­son and Josh Oko­gie three and six games, re­spec­tively, for vi­o­lat­ing rules

re­gard­ing pref­er­en­tial treat­ment, ac­cord­ing to a per­son fa­mil­iar with the de­ci­sion. The school re­leased a state­ment Tues­day evening con­firm­ing the rul­ing.

The judg­ments were lower than

the guide­lines the NCAA has set for the length of sus­pen­sions based on the value of the ben­e­fits they re­ceived.

As school of­fi­cials waited for the NCAA to bring back a rul­ing af­ter they had self-re­ported the vi­o­la­tions, their hope had been the sus­pen­sions would be lighter than the sug­gested lengths, as they be­lieved there were mit­i­gat­ing cir­cum­stances in the vi­ola- tions. Jack­son and Oko­gie re­ceived trans­porta­tion, ap­parel and meals from an in­di­vid­ual, who iden­ti­fied him­self in a CBS Sports ar­ti­cle as Ron Bell of Ari­zona, who is not a Tech em­ployee nor was deemed a booster. Bell said he was a friend of Past­ner’s.

Jack­son’s ben­e­fits were val­ued at about $525, Oko­gie’s at $750.

The NCAA’s guide­lines call for a sus­pen­sion of 20 per­cent of the reg­u­lar sea­son for the value of Jack­son’s ben­e­fits (six games) and 30 per­cent of the sea­son for Oko­gie’s (nine games).

Jack­son will be back for the North Texas game Nov. 24. Oko­gie will be re­in­stated for the Ten­nessee game Dec. 3, al­though he may not be able to play be­cause of his dis­lo­cated fin­ger.

The sea­son-open­ing loss to UCLA counts as one of the games in the sus­pen­sion, as Tech with­held both play­ers from the game.

Ac­cord­ing to Bell’s ac­count in the CBS Sports ar­ti­cle, Jack­son and Oko­gie were flown to Ari­zona in May for five days. In ad­di­tion, Bell pur­chased their meals and bought them ap­parel. Bell al­leged Past­ner was aware of the trip and tac­itly en­cour­aged it.

In a news re­lease put out by the school last week, Tech de­ter­mined Past­ner did not know about the vi­o­la­tions un­til Oct. 2, at which point he re­ported them to the ath­letic depart­ment’s com­pli­ance of­fice. Past­ner has de­clined to com­ment to this point, want­ing to wait un­til the NCAA had made its rul­ing.

At Tech’s sea­son opener against UCLA in Shang­hai on Satur­day (Fri­day in the U.S.), school Pres­i­dent G.P. “Bud” Peter­son of­fered his en­dorse­ment of Past­ner, say­ing he was “proud to have him as our bas­ket­ball coach.”

BRUCE NEW­MAN / THE OX­FORD (MISS.) EA­GLE

Tech guard Josh Oko­gie (5) will be re­in­stated for the Ten­nessee game Dec. 3, but he may not be able to play due to his dis­lo­cated fin­ger. Tadric Jack­son will be back for the North Texas game Nov. 24.

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