EAST LANSING, Mich. - Michigan State coach Tom Izzo will serve a one-game suspension for a secondary violation of NCAA rules related to a basketball camp.
School officials said Friday that Michigan State employed someone associated with a potential recruit during a basketball camp in June. The person was paid $475 for five days of working with middle school-aged campers. Izzo said at a somber news conference that he regrets what happened, but called it an unintentional violation of the rules.
The Spartans will be led by associate head coach Mark Montgomery today against Prairie View A&M.
Tom Izzo, shown at last month’s EA Sports Maui Invitational, will not coach Michigan State today against Prairie View A&M.
The Maui News / MATTHEW THAYER photo
"As you can imagine, I'm upset about the situation, but it's an isolated, inadvertent situation," Izzo said. "In no way, shape or form did we think in any way we did any-thing wrong, but by the broad letter of the law here, it could be interpreted in many different ways, and I have to accept the interpretation of the NCAA."
Athletic director Mark Hollis said the NCAA viewed the case as a secondary violation, but the school was told to suspend Izzo for a game.
The school said the NCAA has indicated the case will be closed once the suspension is served. Still, both Izzo and Hollis sounded miffed at the severity of the sanction, which Izzo called "unprecedented" for this type of situation.
Hollis said an "individual associated with a prospect" can be anybody who has communication with a prospect because of his athletic performance. Michigan State said the person employed at the camp wasn't accompanied by the prospect and didn't have any contact with the prospect while coaching at the camp.
"To our knowledge, the individual in this case is not a handler or an agent, no money was funneled to him for access to the recruit, and the individual's camp employment had no impact on the recruitment of the prospect," Hollis said. "I believe this falls into an unintended 'IAWP' violation when the individual maintained contact with the prospect for personal reasons and then was employed as a camp counselor at our camp. The prospect and the high school coach never viewed the individual as their guy or as MSU's guy."
The school said the individual in question was paid the same amount as other camp counselors. The school didn't identify the prospect.