The NCAA has suspended two Oregon basketball players nine games each for selling team-issued shoes, an Oregon athletic department spokesman confirmed to USA TODAY Sports Thursday night.
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Ben Carter and Dominic Artis, both sophomores, violated NCAA bylaw 22.214.171.124, which prohibits student-athletes from receiving extra benefits. The selling of team-issued apparel falls under that bylaw.
Oregon self-reported the violations to both the NCAA and the Pac-12. In addition to serving their suspensions, Carter and Artis must each donate $1,800 to charity (the amount they received for selling the shoes, according to ESPN.Com).
“Ben and Dominic are two good young men who made a poor decision that was against NCAA rules,” Oregon coach Dana Altman said in a statement earlier this week. “I feel that both regret their decisions and the impact that it has on their teammates and our university.”.
Carter and Artis did not travel with the No. 18 Ducks to South Korea, where they open the season against Georgetown Friday night. The duo will also miss games against Ole Miss and Illinois during this nine-game time frame.
Artis, the team’s starting point guard who missed nine games with a foot injury as a freshman, averaged 8.5 points, 3.2 assists and 2.2 rebounds per game while shooting 36 % from three-point range last season. A 6-8 forward, Carter played just 10.4 minutes a game last season, while averaging 2.4 points and 2.3 boards per game.
Both players expressed regret over their actions in statements released earlier this week.
“I want to apologize to the University, to Coach Altman and to my teammates for selling team apparel,” Artis said. “I regret my actions and do not want this situation to define me or my character.”.
Though a pair of nine-game suspensions hurts, Oregon is fortunate that it has some depth on this roster. Two weeks ago, the NCAA declared Houston transfer guard Joseph Young (18 ppg) eligible to play immediately for Oregon. UNLV’s Mike Moser, an all-Mountain West forward in 2011-12, also transferred to Oregon in the offseason and can play right away due to graduate transfer rules. Those transfers join a squad that reached the Sweet 16 last season.
Nicole Auerbach, a national college basketball reporter for USA TODAY Sports, is on Twitter @NicoleAuerbach.