AUBURN

NCAA Committee on Infractions to release decision on Auburn basketball Friday

Bennett Durando
Montgomery Advertiser

AUBURN — The NCAA Committee on Infractions will release its findings and possible penalties regarding an investigation into Auburn basketball at 11 a.m. CT Friday.

A press conference will be held one hour later with Vince Nicastro, the chief hearing officer for the Committee on Infractions panel and deputy commissioner of the Big East Conference.

The investigation stems from former assistant coach Chuck Person's September 2017 arrest and eventual conviction for accepting bribes to steer pro prospects to an agent and financial adviser. It was part of a wide-reaching FBI investigation into corruption throughout college basketball.

Auburn fired Person, and in 2019, he was sentenced to community service and two years of probation. Auburn self-imposed a postseason ban for 2020-21 season in hopes of avoiding further consequence from the NCAA.

NCAA hands down punishment:Auburn basketball faces 4-year probation, scholarship penalties but no postseason ban

"I hate it for our current players," Auburn coach Bruce Pearl said at the time. "They lost the opportunity for the postseason last year because of COVID, and now they will miss the postseason again. It's a two-year postseason penalty for them. However, we need to take this penalty now to put it behind us."

Self-imposed sanctions do not automatically mitigate punishment handed down by the NCAA.

When Pearl was the coach at Tennessee, he was also involved in a major NCAA infractions case, which ended in a three-year show-cause penalty. Pearl was fired from Tennessee in 2011. 

This is his eighth season at Auburn, a tenure that includes a 145-93 record and a trip to the Final Four in 2019.

The two players involved in the FBI investigation were Austin Wiley and Danjel Purifoy.  On Nov. 2, 2017, Auburn announced Wiley and Purifoy would sit out indefinitely from game action, identifying them as the previously unnamed "Player 1" and "Player 2" in the federal complaint against Person. The assistant coach was indicted by a federal grand jury and fired by Auburn five days later.

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In January 2018, the NCAA announced Wiley would not be eligible to play the remainder of the season, a ruling that was upheld after Auburn appealed. Purifoy was ruled to be ineligible for the first 30% of the next season.

On the current 2021-22 roster, Auburn (7-1) has no players who were in college at the time of the infractions. The Tigers are scheduled to play Nebraska at 10:30 a.m. CT in Atlanta on Saturday.