Was Nate Miles’ Restraining Order the Best Thing That Could Have Happened to UConn?

Posted by rtmsf on March 25th, 2009

As it stands today, the #1 West seed UConn mens’ basketball team  is sitting in Glendale, Arizona, awaiting its Sweet Sixteen matchup against Purdue on Friday night, having obliterated its sub-regional opponents by roughly 1000 points in two blowout wins.  It’s still relatively early, but the Huskies appear to be the favorite going into the rest of the Tournament, with their scoring threats at every position and their game-changing defensive presence in the middle known as Hasheem Thabeet.  Scarily, UConn isn’t even at full strength, as two players who were on the roster at the beginning of the school year are no longer playing for the Huskies – we all know about Jerome Dyson’s injury, but what about the other guy… Nate Miles? 

You remember Miles, right?  Jim Calhoun brought the troubled-but-talented 6’7 wing player in from Toledo as a freshman, but he was expelled from UConn in early October for violating a restraining order based on an accusation that he assaulted a female student.   Sixteen minutes after the restraining order was issued, mind you.  He then re-surfaced at a JuCo in Idaho, where he dropped in 19 ppg this season.  So why is this all relevant now? 

A Yahoo Sports investigation led by Dan Wetzel and Adrian Wojnarowski issued a comprehensive report today outlining the sordid tale of how Miles was ‘delivered’ to UConn by a former team manager turned agent named Josh Nochimson, and how current and former UConn coaches (including Jim Calhoun) may have pulled a Kelvin Sampson and egregiously violated the recruiting contact provisions with Miles throughout 2006 and 2007.   From the report:

The University of Connecticut violated NCAA rules in the recruitment of former guard Nate Miles, a six-month investigation by Yahoo! Sports has found.  Miles was provided with lodging, transportation, restaurant meals and representation by Josh Nochimson – a professional sports agent and former UConn student manager – between 2006 and 2008, according to multiple sources. As a representative of UConn’s athletic interests, Nochimson was prohibited by NCAA rules from having contact with Miles and from providing him with anything of value.  The UConn basketball staff was in constant contact with Nochimson during a nearly two-year period up to and after Miles’ recruitment. Five different UConn coaches traded at least 1,565 phone and text communications with Nochimson, including 16 from head coach Jim Calhoun.  UConn may have committed major recruiting violations by exceeding NCAA limits on phone calls to Miles and those closest to him, records show. The NCAA allows a single phone call per month to a prospect or his family in a player’s junior year of high school. That limit was exceeded over several months from late 2006 into 2007.

This makes the Kelvin Sampson and Rob Senderoff thing at Indiana look tame by comparison. 

UConn released a statement that doesn’t really say much, but what they should be saying (at least privately) is THANK THE F#%&ING LORD!  Consider…  the Huskies may well be on their way to their third national title in the last eleven seasons.  At worst, they appear a strong contender for another F4 appearance.  If Miles was still on this team, suddenly the entire house of cards could have come crumbling down.  Even if UConn ultimately won the 2009 championship, there would be a strong likelihood that much of their season would be later vacated, Chris Webber-style

Ironically, Miles' Restraining Order May Have Saved UConn's Season

Ironically, Miles' Restraining Order May Have Saved UConn's Season (Unlike C-Webb's Michigan Teams)

Not now.  Now any punishment that UConn will take over this admittedly serious set of violations will be prospective, and it should not affect this year’s Husky team (unless the NCAA digs up some other violations impacting current players).  We don’t mean to be callous, but in a tradeoff, wouldn’t most UConn fans take that deal?  You can win the 2009 title, but you’ll have to face a 1-year postseason ban and scholarship reductions at some future point.  Yeah, thought so.   So congratulations, Connecticut fans, there is a silver lining in what was otherwise not your best day. 

Final thought here: it’s nice to see that Yahoo Sports took it upon itself to do the NCAA’s work here.  A simple FOIA request – that’s all it took?  You’d think that the NCAA’s army of investigators could figure out that one by themselves.  Easy, low-hanging fruit at these public universities.  Or, maybe not. 

rtmsf (3998 Posts)

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3 responses to “Was Nate Miles’ Restraining Order the Best Thing That Could Have Happened to UConn?”

  1. Josh says:

    For the record, i love how after all the things that happen to it (The player getting expelled, the laptop stealing scandal, this now, etc etc), no one seems to care when Uconn wins and no one cries about how dirty they are. Lovely.

    As for recruiting snafus….well, one thing I’m proud of about my team is that I’m pretty sure it doesn’t pull any garbage like this (and we don’t hire family members or coaches of prospects either). Roy Williams I’m pretty sure is quite clean as well, so I’d say its certain to me that you don’t need to do such dirt to have good solid teams through good recruiting. I’m sure other coaches people could name are probably upstanding recruiters. Yet today when i see this discussed on several ESPN shows, “Oh everyone does it! Its not a big deal at all!”

    God I hate these cynics and the fact that its their fault this isn’t as much of a PR snafu as it should be. Jerks.

  2. rtmsf says:

    Josh, you might want to check your facts on Ol’ Roy’s history of gray-area violations with recruiting and Coach K’s for that matter as well.

    A couple of names you should google – Vivian Harper and Lester Earl.

    Are these situations as bad as what may have been going on with Nate Miles? Who knows? But we shouldn’t play the holier-than-thou card when there are several questionable issues involving the schools you mention above.

  3. ghg says:

    Actually, a couple of things:

    1. On the surface, this is far, FAR less of a problem than what Kelvin Sampson did. I don’t see how you can infer otherwise. This is a kid who was a student manager a decade ago and involves one player. Sampson committed HUNDREDS of violations involving multiple players over several years at two schools!

    Also, AW and DW indicted themselves on CT radio yesterday. They admitted:
    1. The texts are entirely legal because of the time when they occured.
    2. They didn’t know that Nate Miles was a SENIOR, not a Junior. He was reclassified by the NCAA.

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