Former University of Arizona coach Lute Olson’s recent comments regarding the NCAA’s investigation into his basketball program are inaccurate and misleading. When the enforcement staff receives reliable information that a major rules violation has occurred, it must investigate and gather facts. The enforcement program is committed to fairness throughout this process and many times closes a case because investigators discover that no violations occurred.
Despite his public statements to the contrary, that simply was not the situation with the University of Arizona investigation, which included four major violations involving his basketball program. Olson had several opportunities to share his side of the story, but he repeatedly declined to do so. The enforcement staff requested an interview with him multiple times, all of which he turned down. Further, Olson did not respond to the charges in the Notice of Allegations and chose not to attend the Committee on Infractions hearing, which would have been two additional opportunities for him to state his case.