Friday, February 06, 2015

Gib Arnold out as Hawaii basketball head coach

[2/22/15] Gib Arnold's exit is getting expensive

[2/8/15] It started with a "4"

[2/6/15] Booster or not a booster?

[2/6/15] Former men's basketball coach Gib Arnold has filed a grievance against the University of Hawaii, claiming a violation of his employment agreement, the school said Thursday.

Athletic director Ben Jay said notice of the grievance, dated Feb. 3, has been forwarded to UH attorneys for review.

UH coaches are represented by the HGEA.

An attorney for Arnold referred questions about the grievance to UH.

William McCorriston, outside counsel for the school, said the contention is UH violated section 8 of the contract, the portion dealing with termination by the university.

Arnold claimed in a statement Tuesday that he was owed $1.4 million by the university, not just the balance of his $344,000 base salary from the 2014-15 season that UH said he was due Jan. 26.

McCorriston said, "everybody is focusing on section 8, but the contract has to be read as a whole and there are many different provisions and the provision which is paramount in this contract is paragraphs "a," "b" and "c," which require Coach Arnold to comply with the laws of the NCAA and its regulations and protocols."

McCorriston added, "if the notice of allegations received from the NCAA is correct, in whole or in part, it would be a violation of the contract. That provision —- and the breach of it — would have to be considered along with any obligations, which may or may not exist, in section 8."

[2/4/15] Gib Arnold is not going down without a fight.

The ex-University of Hawaii basketball coach and his former employer might be headed toward a legal tussle over more than $1.4 million that Arnold said Tuesday he is owed as part of his termination of employment.

A UH source not authorized to speak publicly on the matter said the university's outside counsel does not agree with Arnold's contention.

In a statement released to the media Tuesday afternoon, Arnold disputed charges against him in the NCAA's notice of allegations delivered to the university Friday, saying he will "most fiercely defend" himself against two Level I allegations, the most severe category.

In the notice, the collegiate sports governing body alleged Arnold "acted contrary to the NCAA principles of ethical conduct" and "knowingly influenced others to provide the institution with false or misleading information, or to conceal information" regarding violations from the fall of 2010, the start of Arnold's tenure at UH, through the course of the NCAA's eight-month investigation of the Rainbow Warriors program in 2014.

Arnold and assistant coach Bran­dyn Akana were fired "without cause" by UH on Oct. 28, meaning they were entitled to compensation.

Arnold said he will use the mandated 90 days — the amount of time institutions are given to respond to NCAA allegations upon deliverance of the notice — to prepare a defense. Arnold, who was also cited in four Level II violations, said he will use his personal funds.

"Fortunately, the University agreed under my contract to pay me more (than) $1.4 million as my termination payment, so I will have the resources to fight the NCAA's allegations against me," Arnold stated.

UH was to have paid Arnold the remainder of his 2014-15 salary of approximately $346,000 in a lump sum in late January.

But Arnold says his contract entitles him to an amount of severance money equal to what he accrued since his contract began on July 1, 2011.

Arnold stated: "UH decided they would rather pay me the contract price — three and half years' salary and bonuses totaling over $1.4 million — to terminate me ‘without cause' rather than fire me ‘with cause' and pay nothing. That decision, made when the Athletic Department was already millions of dollars in the red, tells you the University did not have confidence that the facts they heard amount to cause for dismissal. On that point, UH and I agree."

[2/1/15] Even for someone regularly briefed on the progress of the NCAA's eight-month investigation, Manoa Chancellor Robert Bley-Vroman said he was taken aback by the seven violations contained in the "notice of allegations" against the University of Hawaii men's basketball team.

"We knew, more or less, what was going on (with the investigation), but it was still a little bit striking to see it all written down there because it is very important for us to keep high standards," Bley-Vroman said. "It was very disturbing to see the extent of the allegations."

In the 42-page notice, UH was charged with three Level I violations, the most serious of the four-tiered NCAA system, and four from Level II. They included charges of impermissible tryouts, improper benefits, dishonest conduct and using operations staff as coaches to circumvent the limit on the number of coaches, all occurring "between the 2010-11 and 2014-15 academic years."

In the notice, the NCAA cited evidence obtained in interviews with current and former players, staffers and other coaches as well as email and cellphone records.

Former head coach Gib Arnold and ex-assistant Brandyn Akana were repeatedly tied to allegations. Benjy Taylor, the current coach, was not cited by the NCAA for any violations.

Arnold, who was on the mainland, declined immediate comment but said in a text message he may respond at a future date. Akana did not answer requests for comment.

Both were dismissed by UH on Oct. 28 "without cause."

UH has 90 days from receipt of the allegations in which to contest or accept the charges, and the NCAA then has 60 days to respond. After that, the NCAA's Committee on Infractions may mete out penalties.
"I think the report pretty much speaks for itself," Bley-Vroman said. "They've been very clear, very detailed, so I don't think I have much more to add."

The chancellor declined to say if UH will contest any of the charges or self-impose penalties. "We have to study (the notice) and see where we go from here."

UH could face a postseason ban, loss of scholarships and/or practice time and other sanctions.

Individuals could face suspensions or multiyear "show cause" orders in which any NCAA member that seeks to employ them would have to demonstrate a reason for their clearance.

[10/28/14] The University of Hawaii announced Tuesday afternoon that Gib Arnold has been removed from the position of head men's basketball coach.

Assistant coach Brandyn Akana has also been "relieved of coaching duty," according to a press release sent out by the university.

Arnold will be paid a lump sum for the remainder of his contract through June 30, 2015, and will be officially employed through Jan. 31. He was to be paid $344,000 for the entire 2014-15 season.

Akana will also be employed through Jan. 31 but will not be entitled to additional compensation, UH said.

"These painful but critical steps are being taken in an effort to strengthen our athletics program and to do right by our student athletes and students in general," athletic director Ben Jay said in a statement. "We appreciate the work of Gib and Brandyn and wish them both the best in the future."

Manoa Chancellor Robert Bley-Vroman said: "We are committed to setting the best possible examples for our players not only on the field of sports but in life. Athletics Director Jay has my full support in these steps that will strengthen the long-term future of our athletics program and our university."

Arnold, whose program has been under NCAA investigation since March, was about to enter the fifth season in his tenure leading the Rainbow Warriors.

He is expected to be replaced in the short term by associate head coach Benjy Taylor, sources indicated to the Honolulu Star-Advertiser. Also, former 20-year head coach Riley Wallace has been mentioned by sources as a strong candidate to take over for Taylor for the rest of the 2014-15 season, which begins Nov. 14.

The university has been in the process of deciding on self-sanctions in advance of the NCAA releasing its findings in the case, which could come before the regular-season opener vs. Arkansas-Pine Bluff.

Arnold did not immediately respond to a phone call seeking comment.

Last Thursday amid talk of university self-sanctions, Arnold sought to reassure the UH fan base. He released the statement: "The Hawaii fans need to know that we are doing the best we can to run a program they can be proud of. We are not paying players, committing academic fraud, putting our student-athletes in harm's way or treating them poorly.

"We have yet to even receive a notice of any possible allegations from the NCAA. Nor have we been given our mandated 90 days to respond to any allegations. If there has been anything administratively in our program where we have fallen short we will learn from it and correct it immediately."

Earlier this year, UH self-reported to the NCAA a Jan. 9, 2014 situation where, "a men's basketball coach submitted an altered document that was essential for admissions purposes," according to information obtained by the Honolulu Star-Advertiser under the state's open records law.

*** [10/29/14]

Even before the dust settles from the stunning termination of head basketball coach Gib Arnold and assistant Brandyn Akana on Tuesday, the University of Hawaii is bracing for the next shoe to drop.

It could be as big as size 15 with concerns about the eligibility of the Rainbow Warriors' top player — 6-foot-8 all-conference forward Isaac Fotu — apparently yet to be resolved.

Athletic director Ben Jay refused Tuesday night to say whether Fotu would be available when the 'Bows play an exhibition game Nov. 6 against Hawaii Pacific University. "I won't discuss him or our other student-athletes," Jay said.

*** Gib Arnold statement

"I would first like to thank former AD Jim Donovan, former Chancellor Hinshaw, and former President Greenwood for the opportunity to return home and coach at the University of Hawaii. We inherited a losing program with very little support and transformed a 20-loss team into a 20-win team in four short years. Our players represented the state of Hawaii on the floor, in the community and classroom. We recently set an all-time high in GPA and our "Give Back Hawaii" campaign has touched thousands of children. I am very proud of these accomplishments. We leave Hawaii loaded with great young talent and great kids. This program is definitely far better off than when we arrived.

I am being fired "without cause." That means that UH does not need to prove they have a reason to fire me. It pains me that they are taking my team and career away based on unknown allegations from unknown sources that have not been proven and that I have never been able to defend. I do know we have never paid any players or recruits, never committed any academic fraud, never had an off-court issue involving domestic violence or criminal behavior. We ran a program the people of Hawaii could be proud of.

I am aware of new NCAA legislation that all actions of assistants or administration fall upon the shoulders of the head coach, even if they have no knowledge of the situation. I strongly believe I deserved the right to address those allegations against my assistants or administration. I certainly don't feel the NCAA changed this legislation so administrators can fire head coaches without cause. I feel that UH administration acted prematurely offering the heads of both Coach Akana and I before we were given due process.

As for now, my family and I look forward to the next adventure life brings. I want my players to know I love and support them and to always fight for what's right. I also want to personally thank all the wonderful people of Hawaii for their love and aloha."

[see provision C]

***

Timeline.

It was an altered number.

Dave Reardon

[10/30/14] Isaac Fotu ineligible, pending appeal

Benjy Taylor press conference transcript / Valdes, Nevels video

Gib Arnold speaks (Star Advertiser, KITV report, KHON report, transcript)

[Ben Jay's resume looked good too]

[10/31/14]  Dave Reardon again

StarAdvertiser editorial

[11/1/14]  Alumni show their support

[11/2/14] Isaac Fotu likely to leave and turn pro / yep he has departed

[11/4/14] Who's in charge at UH? (Ferd Lewis)

[11/12/14] Fotu signs with team in Spain

[11/14/14] Sammis Reyes changes his mind and rejoins the team

[11/19/14] Brad Autry hired as assistant coach

[11/20/14] Sammis Reyes breaks hand in practice

[11/22/14] Riley Wallace suffers stroke

[11/22/14] Hawaii shocks Pitt

[11/24/14] Hawaii fears severe NCAA infractions

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