WVU Gameday Blog

About Bob Huggins…

Perhaps you’ve read today about Michael Beasley’s lawsuit against his former agent and an oh-by-the-way reference to, and perceived implication of, Bob Huggins. Specifically, a suggestion has been made Huggins took the Kansas State job and hired Dalonte Hill because Hill could bring Beasley to Manhattan, Kan.

This puts a black hat on Bob Huggins, but I don’t believe it fits.

For background, Huggins hired Hill from the University of Charlotte. Hill played there from 1997-2000 (he later transferred to Bowie State University) and then coached there from 2003-05. For the two years before taking that job, Hill coached the DC Assault, which is a big-time AAU program. And, yes, Beasley played for the Assault. And, yes, he went to Kansas State.

Huggins wasn’t the coach there when Beasley enrolled, though, which makes this a Kansas State matter and not a Bob Huggins matter … and I really wonder if this ever becomes a Kansas State matter. Beasley committed to Huggins in November, 2006, five months before Huggins returned home to WVU. All the serious allegations about benefits and dealings with agents seem to be tied to the DC Assault.

This is where it gets a little tricky because of Hill’s association with the program and to Beasley, as well as Beasley’s mentor in the matter, and because of  Huggins hiring Hill. There’s nothing illegal about Huggins hiring Hill, though. There’s not. He was building a staff and knew Hill from Charlotte and Conference USA, where Huggins and his Cincinnati Bearcats had a nice  little thing going against Bobby Lutz and his 49ers — the 49ers that gave Hill a scholarship. As a bonus, Hill gave Huggins some pretty useful connections in recruiting. That, and the association with Beasley, was not a secret.

There are rules now that prevent a school from hiring someone in a non-coaching capacity that has connections with a prospect. That rule was adopted in January, 2010, but excluded anyone hired before October 2009. It’s all covered under the IAWP.

NCAA Bylaw 11.4.2 – Individual Associated with a Prospective Student-Athlete — Men’s Basketball.
In men’s basketball, during a two-year period before a prospective student-athlete’s anticipated enrollment and a two-year period after the prospective student-athlete’s actual enrollment, an institution shall not employ (or enter into a contract for future employment with) an individual associated with the prospective student-athlete in any athletics department non-coaching staff position.

And Hill doesn’t fall in that category, either. Schools can hire an AAU coach as an assistant, but that’s monitored and filtered by the Basketball Focus Group, an investigative body founded in 2008 for enforcement matters in men’s basketball. It tries to keep people honest and tries to keep a school from hiring a AAU or prep school or high school coach or junior college for the obvious intent to land players.

The NCAA and the BFG don’t uniformly prevent colleges from hiring AAU coaches as assistants because, really, that keeps a lot of people from achieving dreams. It can also be hard for a school to find a prospective assistant coach who, through AAU or prep school or high school or junior college coaching, isn’t associated with prospects.

There’s also a claim out there that a five-year statute of limitations could drag Huggins into all of this. It’s actually four years, which would have expired. Still, there are exceptions for extenuating circumstances, namely egregious offenses that involve extra benefits, recruiting practices and the stuff the NCAA really cares about adjudicating. There could be an investigation and Huggins could, in theory, be interviewed, but there’s nothing out there that showed he did something wrong.