Georgia Tech suspends Jackson, Okogie for accepting benefits
ATLANTA (AP) Georgia Tech suspended starting basketball players Tadric Jackson and Josh Okogie indefinitely Thursday after learning they accepted benefits in violation of NCAA rules.
Georgia Tech says the two players will not accompany the team to China for its season opener against UCLA on Nov. 10. The length of the suspensions will be determined by the NCAA.
The school said it reported to the NCAA results of its internal investigation which showed Jackson and Okogie received apparel, meals and transportation valued at less than $525 and less than $750, respectively, from the same person, whose identity was not revealed. The school says the person who provided the benefits is not a booster and is not employed by Georgia Tech.
Georgia Tech says on Oct. 2 coach Josh Pastner became aware of the violations and reported the situation to the compliance office, which then began its investigation and informed the NCAA of its findings. The players were declared ineligible on Oct. 6, after Georgia Tech investigation showed the violations of NCAA rules.
The school says its investigation shows the violations were isolated and took place without the knowledge of Pastner and his staff.
''While we never want to learn that NCAA rules violations have occurred, I applaud coach Pastner and our compliance staff for taking immediate action as soon as these violations came to light,'' Georgia Tech athletic director Todd Stansbury said in a statement released by the school.
Okogie, a sophomore forward, ranked third among Atlantic Coast Conference first-year players with his average of 16.1 points while starting 37 games last season. He averaged 5.4 rebounds.
Jackson, a senior guard, averaged 12.1 points in 36 games, including five starts, last season.
Pastner is hoping to have the starters back early in the season.
''Nothing is more important to me than having an atmosphere of compliance,'' Pastner said. ''This isolated situation can and will be a learning opportunity for our entire program. We're moving ahead and looking forward to having Tadric and Josh back in game action early this season.''
Jackson played in Thursday night's exhibition game against Faulkner. Okogie was held out with a finger injury.
Georgia Tech says it is awaiting a resolution of the matter from the NCAA.
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