June 30, 2000
As the final step associated with the JaRon Rush student-athlete reinstatement case, the NCAA has ruled that UCLA must return to the Association 45 percent of its share of revenue from its participation in the 1999 NCAA Division I Men's Basketball Tournament -- $45,321. The NCAA's Division I Championship/Competition Cabinet released its ruling today.
"The decision by the Championship/Competition Cabinet was not unexpected," said Peter T. Dalis, UCLA Director of Athletics. "We were aware that this was the last step of the JaRon Rush case and that we would have to return a portion of our share from the 1999 NCAA Tournament. The University had no knowledge of JaRon's actions which caused him to be ineligible and the Cabinet agreed, requiring us to return just 45 percent of the money we received by participating in the 1999 Tournament.
"We now have closure on the matter and can move on."
On March 11, 1999, UCLA lost in the first round of the NCAA tournament to the University of Detroit Mercy, earning one participant unit. Rush, then a freshman, participated in that contest. One unit is valued at $100,800. Forty-five percent of one 1999 unit was valued at $45,321, the amount that UCLA must return to the NCAA.
Nine months after the loss to Detroit Mercy, on Dec. 10, 1999, UCLA suspended Rush while the university investigated him for possible NCAA violations. On Feb. 1, 2000, UCLA was informed by the NCAA that Rush had been suspended one half-season (15 games) for receiving money from an agent ($200) and one season (29 games) for accepting benefits ($6,525) from a non-scholastic coach (AAU) prior to his enrollment at UCLA. UCLA filed an appeal on the second penalty of Feb. 17, 2000. On Feb. 28, 2000, UCLA was informed that Rush's 29-game suspension had been reduced to nine. In all during the 1999-2000 season, Rush played in the first three contests, missed the next 24 and played in the final six games.
In June, UCLA filed a report to the Division I Championship/Competition Cabinet in accordance with NCAA bylaws. According to those bylaws, if the Cabinet felt that an institution knew or should have known about the use of an ineligible player, it could call for the return of up to 90 percent of the revenue. It was UCLA's stance that the institution, at the time of the 1999 NCAA Tournament game, did not know, nor should it have known, about any NCAA rules violation with regard to Rush.
The Cabinet agreed with UCLA and has now required the return of the lesser amount -- $45,321. UCLA is not subject to further NCAA sanctions because of the student-athlete's action.