Texas Tech athletic director Kirby Hocutt spoke Wednesday about the developing situation regarding men’s basketball coach Billy Gillispie, who is currently hospitalized at the University Medical Center and has been accused of several NCAA violations.
Hocutt said he is aware of the allegations and the university is investigating the situation. He said he was supposed to have a meeting with Gillispie on Friday morning, but was unable to speak to Gillispie because of his health condition.
“We are in an unusual and unfortunate position,” Hocutt said. “We are dealing with an NCAA rules component and we’re dealing with a personnel component.”
One of the NCAA components is the violation of the allotted practice time. Former players, including Jaron Nash and Kevin Wagner, accused Gillispie of forcing the team to practice up to eight hours at a time. NCAA regulations permit up to four hours of practice in one day and 20 hours in one week.
“Those inquiries were investigated and submitted, and those sanctions have been served already by our program,” Hocutt said.
Associate athletics director Blayne Beal released a statement regarding the situation Friday.
“We are aware and are looking into concerns within the leadership of our men’s basketball program.” Beal said in the statement. “Student-athlete well-being is our top priority and a matter we take extremely seriously at Texas Tech. Texas Tech is devoting its full resources to look into this matter.”
A total of six players from last year’s team transferred out of the Tech program. All attempts of contacting these players have been unsuccessful or they have declined to comment on the matter. Attempts to contact Gillispie via phone were unsuccessful as well.
Big 12 commissioner Bob Bowlsby said he felt Tech was competent enough to deal with this on its own.
“I’m confident in their abilities to manage the situation,” Bowlsby said.
Hocutt said the university is still in the process of acquiring more knowledge of the situation.
“What I can assure you of is we are going to continue to gather facts,” he said, “and we will continue to move forward with the NCAA rules component as well as the personnel component as expeditiously as possible.”
A decision on Gillispie’s status as coach of the men’s basketball team has yet to be made, Hocutt said.
“I want to assure everyone that as we go through this unusual and unfortunate position, that our decision-making will be guided by our mission statement, which is ‘To educate, serve and grow fearless champions’ and by the guiding principles which we have adopted as an athletics program,” he said.