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By Joel Flom
Arizona Daily Wildcat
May 1, 1998

Olson foresees little effect from UCLA ruling


That was men's basketball coach Lute Olson's initial reaction to learning that UCLA's basketball program was put on three years' probation by the NCAA for violating recruiting regulations and giving improper benefits to athletes.

After taking a closer look at the guidelines set by the NCAA, Olson thinks the ruling on the Bruins is not as bad as it sounds.

"The three years probation sounds really serious, but then as far as restrictions as a result of it, there doesn't appear to be a lot that will affect them," Olson said.

Olson said the ruling will not have much of an impact because the games will still be televised and the team will remain eligible for postseason.

"Personally, I don't think it will have any affect on them," Olson said.

In addition to being put on probation, UCLA must reduce official visits by recruits by six for the 1998-99 season and the 1999-2000 season.

According to Olson, this will not slow down UCLA's ability to bring in top recruits.

"As far as limiting visitations, an awful lot of their visitations are from local players who can come in on unofficial visits," Olson said.

Schools are not limited in how many unofficial visits are made to the campus. On unofficial visits, no money can be spent by the university, no recruit can be taken off campus by an athlete or official or be in contact with them off campus, and the school can not provide any meals, even on campus.

The school can, however, provide three tickets to any home event.

"Everything must be done on campus and nothing can be spent on them except the complimentary tickets," Olson said.

Olson foresees UCLA using all their official visits on recruits from out-of-town, while local players will go on unofficial visits.

Olson also said he doubted the restrictions on UCLA recruiting will influence more recruits to visit Arizona.

So, does Olson feel the punishment fits the crime?

"Obviously the NCAA felt that UCLA had done a really good job presenting them with all the materials needed in this case," Olson said. "They must have felt they were putting in place the kinds of university controls to make sure these kinds of things don't happen again."

Olson is confident that this instance will not be a black eye for the Pacific 10 Conference.

"No, I don't think so," Olson said. "I think that its not something the university can be happy about, but I don't think it will effect the league."

Associate Athletic Director Rocky LaRose could not comment because she is a part of the Pac-10 Rules Committee.

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