Over a 13-year period, University of Kentucky basketball players routinely accepted cash payments, received fees for public appearances and sold their free season tickets, a published report said Sunday.
The Lexington Herald-Leader reported in its Sunday editions that 26 former Wildcats said they participated in activities that violated NCAA rules. Of 33 former players interviewed, 31 told the newspaper they knew of the unauthorized practices.
Payments of up to $500 at a time were made in the offices and homes of Kentucky boosters, the newspaper said. Players also told of receiving "$100 handshakes” in the Rupp Arena locker room after games.
Joe B. Hall, who retired at the end of last season after 13 years as Kentucky’s basketball coach, declined to comment. In a written statement, he said: “I have not participated in any such violations and would not have permitted them had any been brought to my attention.”
The newspaper said that one former player made $4,800 by selling his complimentary ticket to Hall’s lawyer, Cecil Dunn. Dunn, an assistant in the Fayette County attorney’s office, declined to comment.
Jay Shidler, who played from 1976 to 1980, said Dunn paid him $1,200 for two season tickets when he was a sophomore. The price went to $800 apiece as a junior and $1,000 each when he was a senior.
NCAA rules prohibit the sale of tickets and limit students on athletic scholarships to receiving tuition and fees, room and board and books. They also receive four passes to games.