Idaho men's basketball coach Don Verlin sighs as a long season came to an end at the Big Sky Tournament last month.

Moscow-Pullman Daily News reporter Stephan Wiebe reports that as the University of Idaho celebrated the groundbreaking for its new arena Thursday, a key basketball member was missing from the crowd: Men's basketball coach Don Verlin, who is on administrative leave after reported NCAA violations that UI basketball supporters decried as minor. At the groundbreaking, about half a dozen Vandal fans carried signs saying “KEEP COACH VERLIN.”

The Daily News reported that the potential violations included a non-coach, Brooks Malm, acting in an apparent coaching manner by holding a whistle and play cards at a game in December; they were dummy play cards. The two other potential violations were listed as less severe, including one that was redacted and another involving two prospective athletes participating in pickup games without first receiving medical evaluations.

The UI's self-imposed penalties include a one-game suspension for Verlin, Malm prohibited from attending preseason workouts and regular-season practices, a $5,000 fine, a reduction in coaches’ weekly contact with players from 20 hours to 19 hours for the upcoming season and a requirement for men’s basketball members to attend an NCAA Regional Rules seminar.

Idaho graduate Tom Clark of Lewiston, who provided the pro-Verlin signs at Thursday’s ceremony, told the Daily News, “I think it’s reckless how the university has handled this. I am personally aware of what the allegations are, and they are minimal allegations that should not have been handled like this. The way they are being handled, it’s damaged the program.”

Clark said he’s aware of two unnamed recruits who have left the program in the wake of Verlin’s leave. You can read Wiebe's full report at

Betsy Z. Russell is the Boise bureau chief and state capitol reporter for the Idaho Press and Adams Publishing Group. Follow her on Twitter at @BetsyZRussell.

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