Georgia Tech assistant placed on leave, player suspended 2 games

Georgia Tech head coach Josh Pastner answers a question during the Atlantic Coast Conference men's NCAA college basketball media day in Charlotte, N.C., Wednesday, Oct. 25, 2017. (AP Photo/Chuck Burton)

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Georgia Tech head coach Josh Pastner answers a question during the Atlantic Coast Conference men's NCAA college basketball media day in Charlotte, N.C., Wednesday, Oct. 25, 2017. (AP Photo/Chuck Burton)

Georgia Tech coach Josh Pastner has long prided himself on NCAA rules compliance. He said as much in a statement after the school announced it was withholding team members Josh Okogie and Tadric Jackson after having found both had broken NCAA rules in receiving plane tickets, meals and apparel from a friend of Pastner with ties to the team.

“Nothing is more important to me than having an atmosphere of compliance,” Pastner said in the statement.

To that end, it has been a rough few weeks for Pastner and his team, and the latest hits came Wednesday. The school announced that it had placed assistant coach Darryl LaBarrie on paid administrative leave as it investigated a recent allegation of an NCAA rules violation. According to an ESPN report, the alleged violation occurred during an official visit by a prospect who ultimately did not sign with Tech.

Tech also announced that guard Justin Moore was to be suspended two games by the NCAA for violating an NCAA rule.

He was to sit out Wednesday’s game vs. Texas-Rio Grande Valley and Friday’s against North Texas.

For the game Wednesday, one-fourth of the scholarship players available to Pastner – Okogie, Jackson and Moore – were sat down by the NCAA.

It has been a tumultuous start to Pastner's second season. Okogie dislocated his finger in a scrimmage against Georgia State on Oct. 28. On Nov. 2, the day before the team was to leave for China, the decision to withhold Okogie and Jackson was released. That was followed by a CBS Sports report five days later in which the friend of Pastner's who had provided plane tickets, meals and transportation to Okogie and Pastner alleged that the coach was aware of the violations. Earlier that day, three Tech players were questioned in the UCLA shoplifting arrests in Hangzhou, China, before being cleared.

And, Wednesday, the decisions on LaBarrie and Moore became public. Unlike the Okogie/Jackson decision, the school did not identify the violation that Moore committed, but said that the matter is closed. A school spokesman would not say whether it was related to the Okogie/Jackson violations.

It would seem an embarrassing stretch for an athletic department that has endeavored to build a culture of NCAA compliance after two completely avoidable rules infractions resulted in the vacating of the 2009 ACC football championship and then the extension of probation in 2014 after Tech coaches were found to have made hundreds of impermissible calls and texts. The school's six-year NCAA probation ended in July of this year.