The NCAA Committee of Infractions enacted six penalties against the Creighton Blue Jays’ men’s basketball program Tuesday for violating NCAA rules.
Former Assistant Coach Accepted $6,000
A former assistant, Preston Murphy, was the subject of the probe into the school’s affairs and resultant penalties after he accepted $6,000, though he claims to have not kept the money.
Murphy became a person of interest due to his relationship with convicted felon Christian Dawkins, and subsequently became the target of a two-year investigation by the Federal Bureau of Investigation. In a 2017 operation captured on surveillance cameras, Murphy was seen accepting $6,000 from an undercover agent in a hotel suite in Las Vegas, Nevada.
The former Blue Jays’ Assistant left the university in 2019 after he had been placed on a months-long leave of absence.
Creighton Basketball Probation | FBI Investigation
Creighton was initially roped into the FBI’s investigation after the father of five-star recruit Brian Bowen II said under oath that Dawkins had suggested that Creighton would pay him $100,000 if his son played for their university.
Creighton Athletics Director Bruce Rasmussen began an internal investigation as a result but never produced any findings. Rasmussen also became aware that Murphy had accepted the $6,000 bribe but did not report anything after the former assistant convinced him that he had not kept the money.
The FBI eventually concluded its two-year investigation into Creighton and Murphy, who has been given a two-year show-cause penalty— in essence, institutions may not hire him to an athletics-related position without first showing cause that Murphy should not be subject to the ban.
Dawkins later testified that Murphy did not keep any of the money that he had been given under the expectation that it would be used to herd future prospects into Dawkins’ company.
Consequences for the University
Creighton’s basketball team will not be banned from postseason tournaments but will face a litany of recruiting-focused penalties, including one less available scholarship slot until 2023, and a reduction in official visits by 10% from the four-year average.
The Blue Jays reached the Sweet 16 in March Madness before falling to eventual runners-up Gonzaga and appeared to be ready to head down a similar path in 2022 after landing four four-star recruits, including top-50 prospect Arthur Kaluma. Creighton also finished second in the Big East’s regular-season standings and postseason tournament.
Murphy escaped jail time as a result of his involvement in the investigation, and although there is no proof that he kept the money, the NCAA has stated that Murphy “provided false or misleading information about his actions during the investigation.”
The Committee on Infractions also stated that the nature of Murphy’s involvement in the conversation at the Las Vegas hotel was enough to warrant punishment, regardless of what he did with the money that had been given to him.
“Although the committee found that the assistant coach did not take any further action following the meeting, the meeting violated NCAA rules because the receipt of money formalized a business relationship between the assistant coach and the management company for the purpose of using the coach for access to student-athletes,” the Committee on Infractions said in a release.
Nobody on Creighton’s staff will face incarceration as a result of the probes into their operations, but they will suffer from both NCAA and self-imposed consequences. The COI has also found other coaches and universities to be guilty of violating similar rules and will continue to crack down on these violations.
Grant Mitchell is a sportswriter and multimedia contributor for the Sports 2.0 Network dealing with basketball, football, soccer, and other major sports: you can connect with him on Twitter @milemitchell to stay up to date with the latest sports news and to engage personally with him.