Despite a suspension by the NCAA, former University of Hawaii men’s basketball coach Gib Arnold is “very pleased” with the outcome of the case, his attorney, James Bickerton, said today.
“Gib is very pleased. He always knew that the program faced some violations findings but he was adamant that he had not made any Level I violations, and now he has been vindicated,” Bickerton said.
UH has not yet commented on the case, which will include a reduction in scholarships and a ban on post-season play for the 2016-17 season.
The NCAA classified it as a Level II case, downgrading three of the Level I violations. Levels I and II are the most severe of the four categories.
Bickerton said, “It is important to realize that we got no help at all from the university which actually pleaded guilty to Level I. I think if the university had simply stood shoulder to shoulder with us and down some investigation that we could have done even better than we did.”
In addition, Bickerton said, “The university wouldn’t turn over critical phone records and emails that would have damaged the credibility of some of the accusing witnesses. They didn’t interview key witnesses. They never took a statement from Benji Taylor.
“I think with the institution basically laying down on the charges it made it harder for us to defeat them. But we were still able to defeat the Level I charges. We could have done better with their help.
“I forget who used to say it, but there’s a saying in Hawaii, ‘cool head main thing,’ and I just wish the university brought a little bit more of that to the situation. They were like Chicken Little.
“The NCAA found that the compliance department mishandled matters and did not do its job and that contributed to the problems substantially.”
Bickerton said, “I think that the committee a fair job on this case. We still don’t really agree with all the findings but that often happens in a case that you have your own view of the evidence. I think they acted in good faith and did their best.
“We’d like to see no sanction at all (against Gib) but I think (under) the circumstances that is a result Gib can live with. Basically what they found is that there were violations, but the lack of action by the compliance office put the team in a difficult spot and put Coach Arnold in a tough situation that led to the violations piling up. That, I think, is mitigating to him and the panel understood that.”