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College

Saint Mary’s Gaels Men’s Basketball Under NCAA Investigation

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Rob Jones #22 of the St. Mary's Gaels drives against Lewis Jackson #23 of the Purdue Boilermakers during the second round of the 2012 NCAA Men's Basketball Tournament at CenturyLink Center on March 16, 2012 in Omaha, Nebraska. (Doug Pensinger/Getty Images)

Rob Jones #22 of the St. Mary’s Gaels drives against Lewis Jackson #23 of the Purdue Boilermakers during the second round of the 2012 NCAA Men’s Basketball Tournament at CenturyLink Center on March 16, 2012 in Omaha, Nebraska. (Doug Pensinger/Getty Images)

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MORAGA – The Saint Mary’s College men’s basketball program is being investigated for possible recruiting violations, according to a published reports.

ESPN.com reported it was unclear what the alleged violations were but said multiple sources indicated an investigation was underway at the East Bay college.

Gaels head coach Randy Bennett and athletic director Mark Orr were unavailable for comment, according to the report.

Saint Mary’s media relations director told the San Jose Mercury News and USA Today the school and the NCAA were cooperating on matters related to the men’s basketball program. Saint Mary’s President, Brother Ronald Gallagher, issued a similar statement on the Lasallian Catholic school’s Facebook page.

Bennett has missed several recruiting events this summer, according to the ESPN report, which said it was not clear whether his absence was due to recovery from back surgery in June or the NCAA investigation.

A former Gaels assistant, David Patrick, has been interviewed by the NCAA, according to the report.

Patrick, now an assistant coach at Lousiana State University, was suspended by the National Basketball Association for working out players during the 2010 lockout when he was a scout for the Houston Rockets.

ESPN reported Patrick helped recruit several Saint Mary’s players from Australia, such as guard Patty Mills and last year’s star player Matthew Dellavadova.

Bennett became the Gaels head coach in 2001. After a 9-20 record in his first year he has turned Saint Mary’s into annual West Coast Conference title contenders with a number of NCAA tournament appearances, reaching the Sweet 16 in 2010.

(Copyright 2012 by CBS San Francisco. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.)

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