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Member of U of L Investigation Committee says he opposed postseason ban

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Jamie Rhodes-USA TODAY Sports

Little has been known about what new evidence U of L President James Ramsey was given that led him to self-impost a postseason ban on the men's basketball program, and now a member of the university's investigation committee says there was no new evidence at all.

From Andy Wolfson at the Courier-Journal:

Professor Ricky Jones, chair of the Pan African Studies Department, said there was no vote on the matter and that Ramsey made the call himself about the team sitting out the ACC and NCAA tournaments.

In an interview, Jones also said there were no startling revelations in an update on the NCAA probe that was provided to the university the day before the decision was announced.

"There was nothing we saw that implicated anyone but Andre McGee," Jones said. McGee was the former director of basketball operations whom Katina Powell has accused of paying $10,000 over four years from 2010 to 2014 to entertain prospects and players.

...

The university declined to release the names of the investigations panel until Monday. Besides Jones, its members are Ramsey; Elaine Wise, professor and chair of the division of humanities; Jerry Tolson, professor of Jazz Studies and Music Education; general counsel Leslie Strohm; and John Carns, senior athletic director for compliance.

Jones said he is not a critic of Ramsey but thinks it was unfair to punish players on the current roster who were not involved in the allegations.

"The institution really needed to fight it out so you are not punishing people who weren't involved," he said.

Well, that should calm everybody down.

UPDATE: More quotes from Jones via his conversation with Eric Crawford.

"There was no update given that I am aware of that fundamentally changed the basic facts of the case," Jones said. ". . . There has been no smoking gun, that, you know, would prove that Tom Jurich or Rick Pitino had any knowledge, gave any money, that any boosters showed up and gave money. None of that. There has been none. There has been no institutional link to those actions other than we had an individual work at the institution doing those things."

...

"My position the whole time, and I've told the community this, and it's no secret, my question is where does the individual responsibility end and institutional culpability begin?" Jones said. "Obviously nobody can deny that Andre McGee was an employee of the university. But does that make the university responsible for all his behavior, where the program is concerned, if nobody else knew? I think, I've always thought, that is an unreasonable standard or care. And I think we responded because of fear of the NCAA."

Jones said that he wants to be clear that he continues to support Ramsey as president of U of L. But he wants to be just as clear that the postseason ban was not a group decision.

"Please, please, say this, I am not being critical of President Ramsey," Jones said. "All right? I think most people know that at this moment I strongly support him as an individual and the president of the school. But it would be disingenuous for people to think that this was a decision made by that committee. We had no decision-making power."

Based on what he has seen, Jones said, he believes the university should have fought to maintain that its basketball program as a whole did not promote, condone or even know about the alleged behavior, but was the victim of a rogue employee engaged in criminal behavior.

"My opposition to this is because of a philosophical difference with some people over the amount of power that the NCAA has," Jones said. "I think the NCAA has too much punishment power and makes too much money the way things are organized, so they rule on a system of fear. That's what this decision was, to get this behind us, put this problem behind us. . . . And it may suffice. And if it does, then it gets this behind us, you can talk to new recruits, it won't be hanging over anyone's head, and it won't damage you that way. But the essential problem with that, it may work out, but we're still at the NCAA's mercy. So they may still do something. You just don't know."