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Idaho basketball coach Don Verlin on administrative leave amid potential NCAA violations

UPDATED: Wed., May 29, 2019

Idaho basketball coach Don Verlin patrols the sidelines during a game at Eastern Washington on Jan. 12, 2018. UI placed Verlin on paid administrative leave  on Thursday. (Dan Pelle / The Spokesman-Review)
Idaho basketball coach Don Verlin patrols the sidelines during a game at Eastern Washington on Jan. 12, 2018. UI placed Verlin on paid administrative leave on Thursday. (Dan Pelle / The Spokesman-Review)

MOSCOW, Idaho – University of Idaho men’s basketball coach Don Verlin was placed on paid administrative leave Thursday, one day after university officials received a consultant’s final report detailing three potential violations of NCAA bylaws.

Idaho reported those potential violations to the NCAA, according to athletics department spokesman Mike Walsh. He said the report, from the firm Ice Miller, “includes references to instances over the course of a few seasons.”

None of the violations involved impermissible monetary payments to players, Walsh said. One of the violations is seemingly minor. Walsh confirmed that basketball operations staff member and former player Stephen Madison was alleged in the consultant’s report to have practiced with the team.

Verlin’s administrative leave is for 10 business days. But the situation surrounding it remains fluid, and the leave could be shortened or extended, Walsh said, and it might result in Verlin being fired.

“All options are on the table,” Walsh said.

The decision to place Verlin on leave involved athletics and central administration officials. Incoming president Scott Green, who will take over for UI president Chuck Staben on July 1, was made aware of the issue.

“All parties were consulted,” Walsh said.

Staben and interim athletics director Pete Isakson were not available for comment Tuesday.

Staben is stepping down as president and joining Idaho’s faculty. During his tenure as the university’s leader, Staben made several controversial decisions that were of great consequence to Vandals athletics.

Staben directed Idaho to end two decades as a Football Bowl Subdivision program and return to the Football Championship Subdivision and the Big Sky Conference after Sun Belt Conference members voted to end the Vandals’ membership in the FBS league after the 2017 season.

A year ago, Staben placed athletics director Rob Spear on administrative leave and subsequently fired him following reports from two former student-athletes that Spear did not adequately address their complaints that they had been sexually harassed by a former UI football player.

Men’s basketball student-athletes report to campus for the summer on June 8. An update on Verlin’s status will be available no later than that date, Walsh said.

In the meantime “no one is more or less in charge” of the basketball program, according to Walsh. Staff members are carrying out their regular assignments, he said.

Walsh characterized the Ice Miller review as “fairly common.” Schools initiate such performance reviews to ensure they are in compliance with NCAA rules, he said.

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