McCaffery calls infractions "blown way out of proportion"


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The Iowa men's basketball team was the subject of Sunday's top story on ESPN.com. Head coach Fran McCaffery doesn't think it should have been.

The first-year head coach said the recruiting violations that thrust the team into the spotlight weren't deliberate, and the media made the transgression seem much larger than it was.

"Anything that took place on any recruiting weekend is by the book, [and] anything that happened other than that is unintentional," McCaffery said. "Without question, this has been blown way out of proportion."

The incident, in which prep prospects met former Iowa basketball players, was deemed a secondary violation of the NCAA's recruiting rules — the second of McCaffery's coaching career. He didn't shy away from discussing the first infraction, which revolved around a recruiting letter he sent while coaching at North Carolina-Greensboro. The letter was on white paper with colored ink, a breach of NCAA regulations.

"If it was on letterhead, it would have been legal," McCaffery said. "If it was in black and white on plain white paper, it would have been legal. But because it was in color on plain white paper, it was a violation, which we self-reported. That's the extent of my transgressions with the NCAA, but it gives you an idea of what we deal with."

McCaffery said he doesn't agree with the idea that the team's recent transgression casts a negative light on the program, although he conceded he can't change people's opinions. This theme was repeated by his players, who said they are focusing on preparing for Iowa's exhibition game against Illinois-Springfield on Nov. 7.

"Some things happen, and it's out of my control," junior guard Jordan Stoermer said. "It shouldn't affect the way we play — we just have to show up in practice and do what we need to do."

Both the NCAA and the people involved seem to agree that the incident was inadvertent. The NCAA accepted the university's response to the infraction and cleared the recruits for meeting the former players and actors Ashton Kutcher and Demi Moore.

Kutcher, an Iowa native and ardent Hawkeye fan, addressed the event on Monday via his Twitter feed.

"Glad to see this has been cleared up," he Tweeted. "I would never do anything to jeopardize my Hawkeyes."

McCaffery announces starters

Guards Cully Payne and Eric May are the only two returning players in McCaffery's tentative lineup for Nov. 7.

Freshman Zach McCabe is projected to start at power forward, a spot he locked down by being McCaffery's "most consistent player" in the preseason.

Junior Bryce Cartwright and freshman Melsahn Basabe will likely be the other two starters, due in large part to the injuries of shooting guard Matt Gatens (hand) and center Jarryd Cole (foot).

The first-year coach said he is "very" concerned about the health of Cole and Gatens, his most experienced players.

"[Cole and Gatens] take a lot of pressure off of our young kids, who now have to step up and play like veterans in their first college game," he said.

Hawkeye double-header scheduled

Carver-Hawkeye Arena will host a basketball double-header on Nov. 16.

The women were originally slated to play Bradley in Peoria, Ill., but a scheduling mishap moved the game to Iowa City. Tip-off is set for 5 p.m., and the men will follow by facing Louisiana-Monroe at approximately 7:30 p.m.

Fans with tickets to the first game can stay for the second free of charge.

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