Harvard Accepts Secondary Recruiting Violation

Harvard has elected to acknowledge a secondary violation stemming from in-person recruiting during periods when the National Collegiate Athletic Association does not permit contact with prospective players, and will self-impose recruiting limits during the 2010-2011 academic year, the Ivy League announced Thursday.

Current Assistant Men’s Basketball Coach Kenny Blakeney reportedly provided “improper recruiting assistance” to members of the Harvard coaching staff in the summer of 2007 after meeting with two potential recruits named Max Kenyi and Keith Wright.

Blakeney, who reportedly had travelled a long distance to play pickup basketball with Kenyi, said that he had not been officially hired as a coach by Harvard when he visited the rising-juniors. Given that Blakeney did not have an employment agreement at the time of his recruiting efforts, the violation has been categorized as a secondary violation, defined as “inadvertent.”

Harvard’s violation was first reported in a 2008 New York Times article, but the Ivy League cleared the school of any Ivy League or NCAA violations. According to a 2008 Ivy League statement, interviews with Blakeney, head coach Tommy Amaker, and other “involved” individuals, as well as an “examination of thorough records,” revealed that contacts between coaches and recruits were “entirely consistent” with regulations.

But the Ivy League’s conclusion underwent revision when the League determined that, under NCAA’s interpretation of its rules, Blakeney had provided improper recruiting assistance to Harvard after he independently observed prospective athletes.

“These events occurred three years ago, and I’m pleased to bring this two-year review to a conclusion,” Amaker wrote in a statement to The Crimson. “This extensive and comprehensive inquiry yielded one minor and unintentional secondary.  We’re excited about the future, growth and development of our basketball program at this tremendous institution.”

In their first two seasons with the Crimson, Wright and Kenyi have both spent significant time in the starting lineup. Wright finished third on the team in scoring and second on the team in rebounding this past season, averaging 8.9 points and 4.6 rebounds per game. Kenyi chipped in with 3.3 points per game, but made his biggest impact on the defensive end.

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