In a lengthy statement released Tuesday, former Hawaii basketball coach Gib Arnold said he will fight charges against him in the recently released NCAA notice of allegations and pursue a $1.4 million termination fee from the University of Hawaii.
Arnold was cited repeatedly in the notice released on Saturday and was named heavily in two Level I violations (the most severe variety) for unethical conduct, as well as four Level II violations.
He said he will “most fiercely defend” himself against the Level I claims, and plans to do it with money he feels the the university owes him based on his contract.
The university has said it intends to pay him only the remainder of his $346,000 salary for the completion of his original contract, which was to end after the 2014-15 season.
Arnold and former assistant coach Brandyn Akana were fired “without cause” on Oct. 28.
The “Termination Without Cause” section of Arnold’s contract states: “This Agreement may be terminated without cause upon ninety (90) days written notice to Coach. In such event, the University will pay as liquidated damages, a lump sum amount equal to the total amount of compensation earned under the terms of this Agreement as of the date of termination (incentives and extensions not achieved are not included in liquidated damages).”
Here is the complete text of Gib Arnold’s statement:
“I first would like to say how proud I am of the guys and how hard they have played. I also think Benjy and the coaching staff are doing a great job. I always felt this was not only my best team but a very special group of high major players and high character young men; a team I built over the course of 4 years and would have loved to have coached.
“After over a year’s worth of investigation and numerous interviews with players and coaches the NCAA has finally come out with 7 allegations. I reiterate that these are allegations and allegations only. The majority of these allegations are level 2. The two Level 1 “unethical conduct, failure to promote an atmosphere of compliance” I will most fiercely defend. I have truthfully and fully complied with this investigation. I have never deliberately violated any rule, or knowingly concealed any violation of a rule or made any statement that I did not believe to be true.
“As I have said all along, the NCAA has a designated process. Under the process, the coaching staff and the University now have a mandated 90 days to look at all information, collect new information to support our claims, cross-examine all testimonies, find common ground in any differing testimonies and supply the NCAA with our facts about the 7 allegations. I look forward to this process, which is only just beginning and won’t end until late Summer.
“I will therefore have to rely on my own financial resources to fight these charges. Witnesses to these events of past years are scattered around the country and it takes money to gather evidence and have lawyers present it. Fortunately, the University agreed under my contract to pay me more over $1.4 million as my termination payment, so I will have the resources to fight the NCAA’s allegations against me. It is important for everyone to know that the University sat through the investigation and heard all the witnesses along with the NCAA when they had a choice between firing me “with cause” or “without cause” last fall. UH decided they would rather pay me the contract price — three and half years’ salary and bonuses totaling over $1.4 million — to terminate me “without cause” rather than fire me “with cause” and pay nothing. That decision, made when the Athletic Department was already millions of dollars in the red, tells you the University did not have confidence that the facts they heard amount to cause for dismissal. On that point, UH and I agree.
“I will continue to fully comply with the NCAA and have no desire to fight the NCAA or The University in the media. However, early reports from some media sources have already vastly misinterpreted the facts based on limited knowledge of the situation. One media source reported that “Arnold and Akana provided an impermissible benefit in the form of a hotel stay for a player and three recruits. They reportedly provided rooms for them at the Sheraton Waikiki hotel.” This couldn’t be further from the truth. The actual Allegation is that rather than paying 100’s of dollars to take 3 recruits and a mother to breakfast we took them to a free continental breakfast in their hotel concierge lounge consisting of scrambled eggs, corn flakes, and guava juice. By trying to save money on a limited budget we unknowingly broke an NCAA rule by eating in the concierge lounge. Ironically, we could have taken them to a beach front restaurant or the restaurant on the top floor of the hotel and spent 100’s of dollars and not been in violation of any rule.
“If there has been anything positive that has come out of this it has been the overwhelming outpouring of love and aloha we have felt from the people of Hawaii. During this very tough time this amazing show of support has forever entrenched the love my family and I have for these islands and, most of all, its people. I sincerely apologize for any negative light this may have shed on Hawaii. We ask all fans to be patient, understand the complexity of the matter, reserve judgment and allow the process to take its full due course. Kulia Pono, Finish Strong!”