POSTED: 1:30 a.m. HST, Jul 22, 2011
LAST UPDATED: 9:32 a.m. HST, Jul 22, 2011
Several athletes who played for the University of Hawaii men's basketball team this past season say they have been contacted by a lawyer investigating aspects of the program.
The players, who have asked to remain anonymous because they have been counseled not to speak publicly, said they were asked questions about the program and head coach Gib Arnold.
The inquiry might be a reason that Arnold's contract extension — a rumored 5-year agreement said to be worth as much as $300,000 a season — has yet to be announced.
"I'm not allowed to talk about the investigation," one player wrote in a text to the Star-Advertiser. "But I will say the allegations against Coach Arnold are ridiculous."
He declined to detail allegations.
Asked if UH was investigating its basketball program or a coach, UH associate vice president Lynne Waters wrote in an email, "We cannot confirm or deny if such a situation were to exist, and would be prohibited from commenting on such a situation anyway."
But a player who said he had been contacted identified a caller as Cal Chipchase and provided a telephone number corresponding to that of Calvert G. Chipchase, an attorney with the law firm of Cades Schutte. UH has used the firm on other matters, including the case of Daniel Smith, a football player who sued the school when he claimed a scholarship offer was rescinded. Smith received $41,500 in a settlement from UH last year.
Chipchase said he could "neither confirm nor deny" whether he was representing UH in an investigation.
Athletic director Jim Donovan has refused comment on the matter or to say whether it involved NCAA or internal policies. Donovan referred questions to the school's office of general counsel and to Arnold.
The general counsel's office has not responded to emails. Arnold is recruiting on the mainland and did not immediately address questions texted to him Wednesday or Thursday.
KKEA 1420-AM basketball analyst Jeff Portnoy, who is a partner at Cades Schutte, said he is not currently involved in any legal matters with UH.
Arnold, whose team finished 19-13 in his first season, has been in discussions with the administration about an extension of his original three-year, $240,000 contract since March. An announcement was expected this month.