Sports

TCU gets 3 years’ probation over ex-assistant

The NCAA Division I Committee on Infractions on Tuesday placed TCU‘s men’s basketball program on three years of probation and issued a five-year show-cause order for a former Horned Frogs assistant coach who was accused of accepting $6,000 during an undercover FBI sting.

TCU fired former assistant Corey Barker in March 2019, after he was accused of meeting with aspiring business manager Christian Dawkins and others in a Las Vegas hotel room in July 2017. The federal government alleged that Barker accepted the money to steer TCU players toward Dawkins’ fledgling sports management business.

“Government recordings — which were evidence in federal court and included in the infractions case record — show that during that meeting, the coach touted his relationships with certain student-athletes and prospects who had NBA potential, giving the impression that he could steer those players to the management company when they turned professional,” the NCAA ruling said. “During that meeting, the agent associate discussed monthly payments for the assistant coach, and at the conclusion of the meeting, the assistant coach accepted $6,000.”

Dawkins testified during a federal criminal trial that Barker returned the money to him shortly after the Las Vegas meeting. Barker was never charged with a crime.

The NCAA ruling said Barker also facilitated a phone call between Dawkins and a student-athlete’s father and another meeting with a different player. Barker told Dawkins that the meeting would be “a layup for you,” according to the NCAA.

“The agent associate was arrested before that meeting occurred, but in facilitating the phone call and meeting, the coach had followed through on the agreement he entered into when he accepted the $6,000 in Las Vegas,” the NCAA ruling said.

During an internal investigation in 2017, according to the NCAA, Barker provided false or misleading information to TCU officials when he “verbally denied any involvement in or knowledge of activity that led to the arrests.” In March 2019, after the federal government issued a superseding indictment in the criminal case, Barker declined to meet with TCU officials.

The NCAA said Barker cooperated during the enforcement staff’s investigation but “claimed he did not accept a payment or enter into an agreement with the company, and he also claimed he did not facilitate or arrange meetings with student-athletes.”

The committee classified the case as Level I-mitigated for the school and Level I-aggravated for Barker. During the five-year show-cause period, any NCAA member school that hires Barker must restrict him from any athletically related duties unless it shows cause why the restrictions should not apply.

TCU is the sixth program penalized by the NCAA for conduct related to the federal investigation into bribes and other corruption in college basketball. Alabama, Creighton, Oklahoma State, South Carolina and USC previously had cases adjudicated through the committee on infractions. Five other programs — Arizona, Kansas, Louisville, LSU and NC State — have ongoing cases that are going through the Independent Accountability Resolution Process, which was introduced to handle more complex infractions cases.

Auburn hasn’t indicated whether it has received a notice of allegations from the NCAA and hasn’t responded to open records requests from ESPN. In a victim impact statement included in former assistant coach Chuck Person’s sentencing documents, Auburn said it expected to be charged with rules violations by the NCAA. The Tigers self-imposed a postseason ban for the 2020-21 season.

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