LUBBOCK (AP) – Texas Tech on Wednesday disclosed that it had reprimanded men’s basketball coach Billy Gillispie earlier this year after learning he was exceeding NCAA practice-time limits.
Red Raiders athletic director Kirby Hocutt said the school reported the secondary violations to the NCAA and the governing body approved the penalty that Texas Tech had decided upon. The letter of reprimand came in January and included language that there would be “no tolerance for disregard of rules,” Hocutt told The Associated Press after speaking to members of the local media.
Hocutt added that no tolerance covered a “commitment to the spirit of all rules.”
The school is now investigating allegations that Gillispie mistreated players, Hocutt said.
Gillispie, 52, has been hospitalized since Friday and did not respond to a text message seeking comment Wednesday.
“If these allegations are proven to be true then I will be extremely upset and disappointed and will handle accordingly,” Hocutt said. He declined to say whether that could include Gillispie being fired.
“I’m very troubled by the information I’ve heard,” he said.
Reports about a meeting with the players and Hocutt were first reported by ESPN.
CBSsports.com reported that Gillispie made players practice long hours, which led to injuries.
“It was pretty bad,” Jaron Nash, who transferred to North Dakota after last season, told CBSsports.com. “A lot of guys were really hurt after it. One guy had a stress fracture in both legs.”
Hocutt said the penalty last season meant the team was docked twice the number of hours that Gillispie had exceeded during a two-week period in October or 12 hours and 20 minutes. An unnamed assistant coach was also reprimanded.
The NCAA allows 20 hours of practice per week.
Hocutt said several players came to him on Aug. 29 to discuss how they were being treated and he met with the entire team again last Friday.
Hocutt told the AP that he and Gillispie were scheduled to meet at 8 a.m. last Friday. But the meeting never took place because Gillispie called 911 a few hours beforehand and was taken to University Medical Center.
Gillispie told the Lubbock Avalanche-Journal last week that he experienced what felt like a “stroke” or a “heart attack.” He told the newspaper he has been dealing with stress of late.
Hocutt said he has been to see Gillispie each day the first-year coach has been hospitalized, though they have not discussed the investigation.
He remained hospitalized Wednesday evening.
Gillispie is entering his second year as coach of the Red Raiders. His first Texas Tech team finished 8-23 and won only one game in the Big 12.
When Gillispie was hired by Texas Tech, he had been out of coaching for two years after being fired by Kentucky after just two seasons. He was named Southeastern Conference Coach of the Year in his first season, but his second team failed to reach the NCAA tournament.
Six months after his firing, Gillispie sought treatment at John Lucas’ substance-abuse program in Houston. That followed his third arrest for drunken driving in 10 years.
Gillispie got the Kentucky job after leading Texas A&M to three consecutive 20-win seasons. In his previous coaching stop, he oversaw a turnaround at UTEP in which the Miners tied the NCAA record for most improved team from one season to the next.
In December 2009 Texas Tech fired football coach Mike Leach amid allegations he mistreated a player with a concussion. Leach, who is coaching at Washington State, has denied the allegations.
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