Review of men’s basketball program finds no systemic problems related to May prostitution, drug arrests

Review of men’s basketball program finds no systemic problems related to May prostitution, drug arrests

Review of men’s basketball program finds no systemic problems related to May prostitution, drug arrests
November 14
12:54 2017

Six months after three former members of the men’s basketball program were arrested in connection with a prostitution and drug scandal investigation, UNT released the findings of an independent review of the program Tuesday morning.

The incident occurred in May when an arrest affidavit identified three UNT students and former members of the men’s basketball team as Derail Green, Rickey Brice Jr. and Brian Johnson. Brice was taken into custody on May 1 on the charge of possession of marijuana less than two ounces, according to Denton County Jail records.

Johnson was booked into the Denton County Jail on May 3 on charges of engaging in organized criminal activity and possession of marijuana less than two ounces. Green was booked on charges of promotion of prostitution and possession of a dangerous drug, according to Denton County Jail records.

President Neal Smatresk and athletic director Wren Baker hired law firm Bond, Schoeneck & King to conduct an independent, comprehensive review of the culture and climate of the men’s basketball program. Those findings were distributed in a university-wide email around 10:42 a.m. Tuesday morning.

According to the email, the significant findings were:

• There were no “red flags” or other indicators that individuals outside of those involved in the alleged criminal events were aware of the activity.

• The men’s basketball program under the prior coaching staff did not create, encourage, condone, nor appear to tolerate the type of behavior that was the subject of the arrests.

• There were no systemic cultural issues in the men’s basketball program.

• There is no indication of any persisting criminal activity with respect to the current student-athletes.

• There were no systemic problems with how the men’s basketball student-athletes interacted with female students or women in the university and surrounding communities in general.

• There were instances of a lack of discipline and accountability under the previous coaching staff.

• A few former student-athletes of the men’s basketball program used marijuana, though the entire team was frequently warned and drug tested as means of deterrence against its use.

All three students were no longer associated with the program when the arrests were made and had no association with the current team, which is now led by first-year head coach Grant McCasland.

Former coach Tony Benford is now an assistant at Louisiana State University.

“I believe this review was valuable and that we will be a stronger athletics program because of it,” Smatresk said in the email. “I have complete confidence in the direction of men’s basketball under coach Grant McCasland and in the leadership of Wren and his oversight of athletics. They, and others in the department, have already made a positive impact on the athletics program and are committed to ethics, integrity and discipline.”

Featured image:  Former North Texas men’s basketball head coach Tony Benford reacts to a play against the Southern Miss Golden Eagles on Jan. 9, 2014. Courtesy Rick Yeatts. 

About Author

Brady Keane

Brady Keane

Brady Keane is the Sports Editor of the North Texas Daily. He previously served as Deputy Sports Editor (Jan. 2017-May 2017) and as a Staff Writer (Aug. 2015-May 2016).

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