Former Creighton Assistant coach Preston Murphy was given a two-year show cause sentence for accepting improper payments, a Level I violation uncovered during the FBI investigation that rocked college basketball, the NCAA Division I said Committee on Infractions on Tuesday with.
During the bribery investigation that led to the arrest of four Division I assistant coaches, Murphy was charged in a federal indictment in March 2019 of paying $ 6,000 during a meeting with Christian Dawkins, his friend and an FBI employee Accepted by an undercover FBI agent Center of the FBI investigation, agreed to direct players to Dawkins’ management company during a July 2017 meeting in a Las Vegas hotel room. Murphy resigned in November 2019.
Murphy’s lawyers had argued that he returned the money after the meeting.
According to the committee, Murphy lied when asked on his school’s internal questionnaire whether he accepted payments from an agent or financial advisor, or accepted “anything of value” in order to direct players to an advisor or agent. Murphy checked “No” twice. However, he later briefed head coach Greg McDermott of the meeting, and McDermott then told sporting director Bruce Rasmussen. According to the committee, Rasmussen investigated the incident without informing his compliance department. After Murphy announced to Rasmussen that he had repaid the money after the meeting, Rasmussen decided not to respond to the information until the federal charge came in naming the former assistant coach two years ago.
“Most of the violations stem from individuals letting personal relationships cloud their judgment and influence their decision-making,” the committee said. “The assistant coach in particular placed great value on loyalty to his friend, the agent-partner; and the athletics director ignored alarming behavior based on his trust in the assistant coach.”
While the two-year show cause is the heaviest sentence for Murphy, the school has also faced a variety of other penalties, including a 1% cut in the men’s basketball budget and two years probation. Some of the penalties, such as losing a scholarship for the next two years, were imposed by the school itself.
Rasmussen was given a Level II extenuating sentence for conducting the investigation.
“It is noteworthy that the Committee noted in the Public Violations Report that this is Creighton’s first case of Level I, Level II, or Serious Violations, the lack of a history, in the 100 year history of Creighton’s participation in Division I athletics of violations is rare. So the panel gives this (mitigating) factor significant weight. “There is no postseason penalty for the men’s basketball program and none of our current or future student athletes will be affected,” said Creighton said in a statement.
“We used this as an opportunity for self-reflection, evaluation and improvement. As a result, the Department of Athletics has implemented a number of policy and process reforms, including an even more robust education and monitoring program, to ensure that our programs continue to adhere to the high ethical standards of the NCAA. Indeed, these actions and the university’s willingness to cooperate on this matter have been welcomed by NCAA enforcement staff. We strive to move forward. “
David Vaughn, Murphy’s attorney, said via email that his client passed a polygraph test which proved he did not withhold the money he received at the meeting and had no relationship with the people in the room after the meeting.
But the committee said Murphy had already broken NCAA rules by the time he walked into the hotel room that day.
“For the panel, we focused on behavior, and for the panel, this meeting was about knowing what they knew about the meeting, knowing who was going to be at the meeting, and then paying for $ 6,000. Accept dollars and put it in his pocket, “said Sankar Suryanarayan, Princeton university councilor and member of the infringement committee, during a conference call Tuesday. “For us, that was the action that triggered the violation.”
Suryanarayan also said Rasmussen failed to “conduct a reasonable investigation” after learning of Murphy’s Las Vegas meeting. But the committee, he said, took into account Creighton’s athletic director’s track record in imposing a Level II mitigated sentence on him.
“We’ve talked about how serious this is and it needs to be put in context,” he said. “What we found was that based on what he did – and we also looked at his reputation and experience, including him and Creighton, the lack of any real history of violations – that was what the sporting director did was unreasonable. “
Creighton is just the youngest school to receive sentences from the NCAA based on allegations first made in a federal criminal case that resulted in the conviction of 10 men, including four former assistant basketball coaches.
Murphy was not among the coaches facing federal charges, but his relationship with Defendant Dawkins, an aspiring sports agent, did play a role in April 2019 trial with Dawkins and former Adidas advisor Merl Code. Prosecutors played a video of Murphy accepting a payment of $ 6,000 from an undercover FBI agent in a Las Vegas hotel room at a meeting that Dawkins invited him to in July 2017.
Government witness and former financial advisor Marty Blazer – who was part of the FBI investigation – testified that Murphy was one of the coaches Dawkins would hire to influence top players. While meeting at a posh Las Vegas hotel, Murphy spoke about how he could deliver a top NBA prospect named Marcus Phillips who wasn’t a real player.
When Murphy resigned two years ago “to pursue other opportunities in basketball,” McDermott issued a statement calling him an “excellent coach” and an “invaluable member of my staff.”
Tuesday’s decision extends a controversial year for Creighton’s men’s basketball.
McDermott was suspended from school in March after telling the players to “stay on the plantation” after losing. He was reinstated in time to train at the Big East tournament.