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Gib Arnold expands on NCAA statement

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An expanded statement in defense of his basketball program was given to the Honolulu Star-Advertiser Thursday morning by Hawaii coach Gib Arnold. This came a day after the newspaper’s report that the university could elect to self-sanction the Rainbow Warriors in the coming weeks.

The NCAA reportedly closed out interviews for its months-long investigation of the UH hoops program on Friday.

Self-imposed penalties could come in the next couple of weeks as UH seeks to implement sanctions before the start of its season Nov. 14 and ahead of an official notice of allegations from the NCAA.

Arnold’s statement read: “The Hawaii fans need to know that we are doing the best we can to run a program they can be proud of. We are not paying players, committing academic fraud, putting our student-athletes in harm’s way or treating them poorly.

“We have yet to even receive a notice of any possible allegations from the NCAA. Nor have we been given our mandated 90 days to respond to any allegations. If there has been anything administratively in our program where we have fallen short we will learn from it and correct it immediately.”

In January, UH self-reported an NCAA violation, saying “a men’s basketball coach submitted an altered document that was essential for admissions purposes.”

Since March investigators have talked to more than 25 people, some of them multiple times, in a wide-ranging inquiry, people interviewed have said.

On Wednesday, UH athletic director Ben Jay said, “we’re having internal discussions, we’re having talks with our people as to some of the things that we might do.” But, he said, “Nothing is solid yet.”

Jay declined to say if coaches and or players will be suspended or terminated.

“It is still a work in progress,” he said.

So far, the only steps acknowledged by UH have been two suspensions of assistant coach Brandyn Akana.

Akana was suspended for 30 days by UH and missed 12 of the team’s final 14 games last season.

Also on Thursday, the men’s team was picked fifth among nine teams in the Big West Conference preseason poll. Junior forward Isaac Fotu was named to the six-member preseason all-conference team.

Arnold took a recruiting trip to the West Coast on Thursday and was to return to the islands Friday.

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