ESPN's Andy Katz is reporting today that multiple sources have told him that the NCAA has been investigating the Saint Mary's basketball program this year for potential recruiting violations.
As the article indicates, the entire Saint Mary's administration as well as the NCAA are declining to comment at this time so it is unlikely there will be any type of development for quite some time. We had heard about Randy Bennett's back surgery this summer but the below excerpt is very interesting:
Three West Coast Conference coaches told ESPN.com that they did not see Bennett at any site for the three recruiting evaluation periods in July. When asked whether Bennett, who had back surgery in June, was held out from recruiting in July or missed the period due to his recovery, Saint Mary's compliance director Stephanie Shrieve declined comment.
Saint Mary's associate athletic director Richard Kilwein also declined to comment when asked whether Bennett's surgery was the reason for his absence during the evaluation period. At one point, Kilwein said he wasn't allowed to speak to the media about the subject and that his job could be on the line if he did so.
Katz seems to lead on that the focus of the investigation may be on a former assistant, David Patrick, who was responsible for recruiting a number of Australian prospects including Patty Mills. At this point, there is not enough content to form an opinion on the subject but the fact that this investigation has been going on for some time is a bit concerning. If it had something to do with Bennett not being on the road recruiting this summer, than it would be very alarming. For the good of the conference, we are hopeful that this news is nothing more than 'a conversation' as Saint Mary's has been a huge reason for the increased respect the WCC is now getting.
We will keep everyone as up to date as possible on any news moving forward.