The National Junior College Athletic Association has found no wrongdoing concerning preseason practices by the Howard Community College men's basketball program, according to an HCC official.
Dean of students Walter Bumphus, who oversees the athletic program, said the college was notified in a letter from the NJCAA Friday that it had been found not in violation of association rules.
Bumphus would not release a copy of the letter, but said that allquestions concerning the practices have been answered.
"Its a closed issue," Bumphus said.
George Killian, executive director of the NJCAA, confirmed Friday that a letter had been sent to HCC officials concerning the practices. He would not reveal the contents of the letter, however.
Last week, the NJCAA said it had contacted school officials to determine whether pre-season practices were held this month. Association rules prohibit teams from practicing between Aug. 1 and Sept. 16, the official start of the season. The rule exists so students can adjust to classes before starting athletic practices.
The NJCAA says a practice has occurred when a coach and team members participate in field, floor or on-court activity. If practices occur during the off-limits period, penalties can range from a reprimand to probation.
Men's basketball coach Wheeler Brown said the team has had no formal practice since mid-July.
However, the NJCAA investigation apparently focused on open gym sessions Brown supervised at HCCthis month with team members present.
"The kids were practicing on their own," Brown said last week. "It wasn't restricted to kids whoplay at the school. It was open to the public."
After the NJCAA began its inquiry, HCC athletic director Tom Carbotti instructed players not to come to the open gym sessions "to avoid any further conflict."
A team member this week said Brown had supervised players during at least two sessions this month, on Aug. 1 and Aug. 8.
The player said of the session, "Everybody that was practicing was going outfor the team in the fall."
At the Aug. 1 session, Brown instructed players from the floor as he talked with a Howard County Sun reporter. Brown was not available for comment Friday afternoon.
Killian said the association's investigation, which began Thursday and concluded Friday, is complete.