Texas announces independent review of basketball academics

AUSTIN, Texas (AP) The University of Texas has hired an outside investigator for an independent probe into allegations of academic fraud within the men's basketball program.

School spokesman Gary Susswein said late Monday the investigation will be overseen by Gene Marsh, a former chairman of the NCAA infractions committee, who has already begun his work.

The review was ordered by new school President Greg Fenves, who assumed the post June 3. Last week, the Chronicle of Higher Education reported on three cases of alleged academic misconduct by men's basketball players.

The university scheduled a conference call with reporters Tuesday morning to discuss the investigation. The cost of the probe and how long it will take were not immediately announced.

The announcement of the investigation was first reported by the Austin American-Statesman.

In the report by the Chronicle of Higher Education, a former academic counselor said a math instructor told him she saw former basketball player Martez Walker cheating on an exam, and that Walker was allowed to pass anyway. Walker has since transferred.

The counselor also said he believed former Longhorn P.J. Tucker received impermissible help with a paper while preparing for the NBA draft, and a former academic mentor said he helped write papers for former player J'Covan Brown.

Texas officials said last week they had looked into a Chronicle report last year that questioned men's basketball academics and ''determined that the university had no knowledge of two former student-athletes allegedly receiving improper help with high school coursework before they enrolled.''

''We now are reviewing three other cases purported to have occurred over a nine-year period since 2006 to determine if any university of NCAA rules were violated and if any action is needed,'' the school said.

That time span covers part of the tenure of former coach Rick Barnes, who was fired in March after 17 seasons. Barnes was then hired at Tennessee.

Texas said last week it ''has no information that suggests'' Barnes knew of or was involved in any academic improprieties.

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