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WATCH: Memphis basketball NCAA violations explained

Daily Memphian reporter Steven Johnson, who broke the story, joins ABC24 to explain the severity of the violations.

MEMPHIS, Tenn. — After many highs, Memphis Tigers basketball has hit yet another low after news broke over the weekend detailing the team's NCAA violations.

The Tigers are accused of committing four Level I and two Level II NCAA violations that were discovered during an 18-month investigation into the basketball program. 

Daily Memphian reporter Steven Johnson broke the story after obtaining a notice of the allegations.

ABC24 spoke with Johnson to get a better understanding of the allegations and of how this hiccup with affect the Memphis Tigers for the upcoming season. 

Q: The Memphis basketball program has faced a lot of adversity this past season, and it may be no end in sight. News broke of the severity of the NCAA violations this weekend and I have the writer who broke the story, Steven Johnson from the Daily Memphian is here to explain it all.

Steven in simpler terms, what are the 7 violations Memphis is facing?

A: “Some of the most significant charges of what we know that weren’t redacted, the lack of institutional control, a failure to monitor, and I think one significant charge is that basically, they’re saying that Memphis more or less, obstructed their investigation by deleting some data from their emails, not being forthright with some text message conversations. In summary, they’re saying Memphis was wilding and when they came to investigate, Memphis wasn’t being cooperative.”   

Q: With Memphis able to gain such great momentum at the end of this season do you think this will impact recruiting?

"I think maybe in the immediate future it could have an impact, we know Memphis doesn’t have any high schoolers committed right now. But Penny also told us that he wants to hit the transfer portal hard like right now. But there are couple of other teams that are dealing with their own investigations so I think Memphis might feel it like right now, Kansas has a top-five class, Louisville and Arizona have top 15 classes like this class in terms of high school prospects, but I think going forward as long as they have Penny Hardaway here, they're not going to struggle to get recruits, it just really depends on how significant the penalties are."

Q: We know the school has responded to the NCAA even saying one of the enforcement agents went beyond his scope causing Memphis to sort of question the integrity of the investigation… do you think that will help Memphis at all with the NCAA?

A: “It’s something they’ll have to consider but I’m not sure if it will help the university much, they’re going to go down swinging but as I said based on what I’ve been reading right now, and there’s still some more to be viewed I still think they’re going to get some penalties that’ll be tough to swallow initially.”

Q: What does this mean for this coming season?

“Well, this season I think you might just want to swallow and be like whatever happens this season happens. We already knew there were going to be some guys heading out with the transfer portal and things like that. This might push a couple more guys out. I think this year might be more of a wash, you might get the post-season ban, and lose some of the scholarships. But like you said, we knew the way this season ended we knew sooner or later this shoe was going to drop. But going forward I think what penny was able to do in the NCAA tournament and when they’re able to get back to recruiting like we know he can do. I think Memphis is still on a positive track as long as these sanctions aren’t putting a significant dent in the program. I don’t think they will, I think they will be strict, I think they will tough but I don’t think it’s anything penny won't be able to overcome based on what we saw these last couple of years.”

Q: Last question, as an insider, do you think the violations have anything to do with Cody Toppert possibly leaving as the assistant coach at Memphis for LSU?

“Probably so, but I can tell you that Cody was looking to leave even before this came out. Cody has the ambitions to be a head coach like most coaches do, he interviewed for at least two jobs last year so the possibility of him leaving was always on the table. LSU is dealing with kind of the same allegations so I’m not sure how much the allegations played a part in it. I think he just wants to keep moving up and I think he might’ve viewed LSU as a better opportunity to get that  head coaching job that he wants.”

Steven Johnson with the daily Memphian, thank you for your time.

“I appreciate the invite to come on.”

RELATED: Memphis Tigers Assistant Coach Cody Toppert reportedly working on deal to head to LSU

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