College Basketball

Memphis Head Coach Penny Hardaway Suspended For Three Games For Recruiting Violations

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penny hardaway

Penny Hardaway Will Serve His Suspension For the First Three Games Next Season

The NCAA has announced that Penny Hardaway, the head coach of the Memphis men’s basketball team, has been suspended for the first three games of the 2023-24 season due to recruiting violations. The violations occurred when Memphis coaches conducted two impermissible in-home recruiting visits with a prospect in 2021, who was still a junior in high school at the time. NCAA rules state that in-person contact with recruits during their junior year must occur at the prospect’s school, and in-home visits are not allowed.

The NCAA Committee On Infractions Releases Statement

The NCAA Committee on Infractions found that Hardaway’s personal involvement in the violations, as well as his failure to monitor his staff, violated the NCAA’s head coach responsibility rules. Hardaway argued that he should not be held responsible for the violations because he was unaware that in-person home visits were prohibited and claimed that the compliance office had not adequately trained his newly promoted director of recruiting.

“Ignorance of the rules is not an excuse,” the NCAA panel said in its decision. “The head coach’s inattentiveness to compliance — particularly at a time when his program was under scrutiny related to a different infractions case — resulted in careless violations.”

As part of the NCAA’s decision, an additional year of probation has been imposed on the Memphis program, extending the probationary period to September 26, 2026. However, no further penalties will be imposed on the program apart from Hardaway’s suspension. During his suspension, Hardaway will not be allowed to attend his team’s games or have any contact or communication with players or coaches.

Memphis Athletic Department Supports Penny

Memphis Athletics released a statement expressing their belief that Hardaway did not intentionally commit a violation. Hardaway, a former NBA star who played college basketball at Memphis, is entering his sixth season as the head coach of the Tigers. The team had a successful 2023 season, with a 26-9 record and winning the American Athletic Conference tournament. They have made the NCAA tournament in the past two years but fell in the Round of 32 in 2022 and lost in the first round in 2023 to Florida Atlantic, who went on to reach the Final Four.

“We supported Coach Hardaway’s right to work directly with the NCAA on his portion of the case, and we strongly believe Coach Hardaway never intentionally committed a violation,” the Memphis statement says. “The University of Memphis is committed to compliance. We will learn from this incident and be even more diligent in our education and monitoring. Now that the entirety of this case is finalized, we will move forward in support of Coach Hardaway and our men’s basketball program.”