Atlanta — Georgia Tech's basketball team was banned from postseason play for the upcoming season and slapped Thursday with four years of probation for major recruiting violations committed by a former assistant coach and an ex-friend of head coach Josh Pastner.
The NCAA said former Yellow Jackets assistant coach Darryl LaBarrie gave $300 to a highly touted prospect for a visit to an Atlanta strip club and arranged for him to meet with a former Georgia Tech athlete who played for the NBA's Atlanta Hawks, including a visit to the player's home and a free meal at a lounge owned by the player.
LaBarrie was given a three-year show-cause ban from coaching for failing to cooperate in the investigation. The sanctions handed down by the NCAA also included a reduction in scholarships, limits on recruiting and a fine of $5,000 plus 2% of the program's budget — a major blow to Pastner's efforts to rebuild the struggling Atlantic Coast Conference program.
Joel Maturi, the chief hearing officer for the NCAA's committee on infractions, said the penalties could have been more severe.
"Quite frankly, if you look at the penalties that were prescribed, they are ... in most cases at the lower level of level one standards," Maturi said. "We're trying to be as fair and consistent as we can."
CBS Sports reports another major violation came when a separate booster provided impermissible benefits to a potential transfer student-athlete that included thousands of dollars worth of shoes, lodging, clothing, transportation and meals.
Georgia Tech athletic director Todd Stansbury said in a statement the school is considering a possible appeal.
"While we regret that these violations have occurred and appreciate the NCAA committee on infractions' work on this case, we are disappointed with the severity of the penalties imposed, some of which will have a direct and unfair impact on current student-athletes," Stansbury said in a statement. "We are exploring our options and giving serious consideration on whether to appeal some aspects of the decision."
The postseason ban seems largely symbolic. The Yellow Jackets haven't appeared in the NCAA tournament since 2010 and made their last postseason appearance in 2017, during Pastner's first season at Georgia Tech. The postseason ban also includes the Atlantic Coast Conference tournament. Pastner is 48-53 at Georgia Tech entering his fourth season with the Yellow Jackets.