NCAA suspends Simpkins over loan infraction Check from former coach will cost Terp 3 games

February 16, 1996|By Ken Murray | Ken Murray,SUN STAFF

COLLEGE PARK -- Maryland point guard Duane Simpkins was dealt a three-game suspension by the NCAA yesterday for attempting to repay a university loan with money he received from his former AAU coach.

Simpkins, a senior, began serving the suspension with last night's game against No. 8 Wake Forest.

Maryland athletic director Debbie Yow said yesterday that university bursar Lynn Van Wagenen first suspected a violation last week when Simpkins attempted to repay his debt with a check from the former coach.

Yow said the university launched an investigation and notified the NCAA, and that a Maryland representative informed Simpkins and the coach that the money was in violation of an NCAA bylaw that prohibits a student-athlete from receiving preferential benefits on account of his or her athletics reputation or skill.

Yow said Simpkins this week attempted a second time to pay his debt with money from the coach, and this time the check was accepted. Asked how the university discovered the second violation, Yow said, "Through conversations with the student-athlete. He eventually shared with us that the check did come from the same source."

Yow said Simpkins "exercised poor judgment."

Maryland notified the NCAA again and filed a second report, recommending a two-game suspension, but the NCAA imposed a three-game sanction.

Simpkins attended last night's game, and will be able to practice rTC with the team, but a university spokesman said the guard would have no comment. Neither was coach Gary Williams available for immediate comment.

Yow would not disclose how much money Simpkins owed, or the name of the AAU coach. But she confirmed that Simpkins played for the DC Players' AAU team, whose coach is Donnie Gross.

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