More Gillispie Information Comes to Light Via University EmailsPosted by dnspewak on October 26th, 2012
There are many terrific things about our country’s democracy. The endless amount of political attack ads during election season are highly entertaining, our election results are actually legitimate, and our president flies all around the nation in a sweet airplane named Air Force One. The very best part about American democracy, however, is perhaps our nation’s open records laws. When you screw up or have information pertinent to the public interest, we’re there to call you out via police reports, court documents, and, as Penn State knows so well, e-mails.
That brings us to Texas Tech‘s men’s basketball program. USA Today‘s open records request of the university’s emails during the Billy Gillispie scandal reveals a few tidbits of intriguing material. Unfortunately for all you sadists out there, this isn’t the Freeh Report, and there’s no evidence of wrongdoing or mass scandal on the part of the athletic department, but correspondence between university officials sheds a little light into how the situation went down. According to the article, an assistant to the chancellor of the university forwarded articles from ESPN and CBS Sports to the Board of Curators, in addition to a personal letter from the mother of a 17-year-old who alleged verbal abuse from Gillispie. The most interesting aspect of these emails, though, deals with the practice violations.
Athletics director Kirby Hocutt told The Associated Press in September that the school reprimanded Gillispie for exceeding the NCAA maximums of four hours practice per day and 20 hours per week. The story said the violation occurred in December. But the documents show the school’s report differs from other accounts of when the violations occurred and how many extra hours the Red Raiders practiced. Several players spoke of marathon practices which frequently exceeded four hours. Kevin Wagner and Jaron Nash told CBSSports.com that one practice in early November exceeded eight hours.
In the documents released to USA TODAY Sports, the school’s reporting to the NCAA doesn’t indicate that. On Sept. 1, a day after CBSSports.com published the story detailing excessive practice time, a Texas Tech compliance representative e-mailed the story to the NCAA. Jennifer Lisle Brashear, associate athletics director for compliance, e-mailed Chris Strobel, NCAA director of enforcement for secondary violations, to say the school already had investigated and “self-reported the violation to the NCAA on January 10th.”
The school concluded it had exceeded practice time by a total of 6 hours, 10 minutes in the fall semester. It self-imposed a practice reduction of double that — 12 hours, 20 minutes — and reprimanded Gillispie and Bubba Jennings, an assistant coach. In the three weeks in which Texas Tech found the program exceeded practice limits in October and November, none were reported to have totaled eight hours in a day.
So, according to the documents, Texas Tech already knew about Gillispie’s excessive practice time and even punished him for it. There’s no telling whether the school’s self-reported times are correct, so it’s not as though Wagner and Nash’s allegations are false by any means. Plus, later in the article, Jennings admitted he wasn’t relying on a watch when he submitted times to the NCAA. No matter what the e-mails say, though, Billy Gillispie is long gone from Lubbock and will never return in any capacity. At this point, it’s just extra fun to dig into the details.