The NCAA Committee on Infractions handed out six penalties against Creighton’s men’s basketball program Tuesday, announcing it was punishing the school alongside issuing a two-year show-cause penalty against former Bluejays assistant Preston Murphy.
Creighton is not being punished with a postseason ban. Instead, its most severe sanctions are tied to recruiting visits, all of which were self-imposed by the school and subsequently accepted by the COI.
Creighton had been subject to a years-long probe by the NCAA, though the school never publicly acknowledged that reality. The case was tied to the federal government’s investigation into fraud and bribery in college basketball, which led to five people being sentenced to federal prison.
Murphy is not explicitly named in the Committee on Infractions’ report, but he was the subject of the probe due to his relationship with convicted felon Christian Dawkins. Murphy left Creighton in November 2019 after being put on a months-long leave. He was captured on surreptitious FBI video in Las Vegas in July 2017, in a posh hotel suite, accepting $6,000 from undercover FBI agents. Murphy was never charged with a crime, and Dawkins testified that Murphy never kept any of the money, which was offered under the guise of helping to funnel players to Dawkins’ company.
Despite an absence of proof that Murphy kept any of the money, the captured-on-video act of initially accepting the payment in the hotel suite was enough for the NCAA to issue him a two-year show-cause penalty, which means a school would have to “show cause” why Murphy should not be subject to the ban. The NCAA states Murphy “provided false or misleading information about his actions during the investigation.”
Here is what the NCAA is serving to Creighton, which has the option to appeal if it so chooses.
Two years of probation.A $5,000 fine plus 1% of the men’s basketball program budget.A reduction of men’s basketball scholarships by one per year for the 2021-22 and 2022-23 academic years (self-imposed by the university).A reduction of men’s basketball official visits by six during the 2021-22/2022-23 rolling two-year period (self-imposed by the university).A reduction in the number of men’s basketball recruiting person days by 10% from the previous four-year average for the two-year probationary period (self-imposed by the university).The university will prohibit complimentary admission to home games for all prospects and coaches in November 2021 (self-imposed by the university).A two-year show-cause order for the former assistant coach. During that period, any NCAA member school employing him must restrict him from any athletically related duties unless it shows cause why the restrictions should not apply.
“Although the committee found that the assistant coach did not take any further action following the meeting, the meeting violated NCAA rules because the receipt of money formalized a business relationship between the assistant coach and the management company for the purpose of using the coach for access to student-athletes,” the Committee on Infractions (COI) said in its release.
Creighton athletic director Bruce Rasmussen also failed to report the “potential violation,” according to the COI. Rasmussen knew months before that Murphy had accepted the $6,000 in cash but did not report the violation formally because Murphy satisfied his then-boss in proving he never kept the money.
No one at Creighton was ever arrested in connection with the federal government’s case. Murphy was one of a few assistant coaches to accept money from undercover agents; USC’s Tony Bland, Oklahoma State’s Lamont Evans and TCU’s Corey Barker were others.
Creighton was initially pulled into the case because, in a separate trial, on Oct. 14, 2018, Brian Bowen Sr. said under oath that Dawkins indicated Creighton was willing to pay the Bowen family $100,000 and a offer “good job” if his son played for Creighton. It was when that happened that Rasmussen reviewed his men’s basketball program, in an informal capacity, but it wouldn’t be until the spring of 2019 — when the video of Murphy was played in court — that Creighton would be put on the path to the punishment it was delivered Tuesday.