CLEMSON - Improper use of a staff member's long distance access code will
cost Clemson senior forward Tomas Nagys an eight-game suspension, beginning
with Sunday's season-opener against Wofford.
The university released the information Thursday, though the incident - ruled
a secondary violation by the NCAA - took place several months ago. Clemson
compliance officer Becky Bowman recommended the eight game suspension, which
is 30 percent of Clemson's schedule, based on similar cases at other schools.
The NCAA accepted the proposal and added no further penalties to the school
or Nagys. Nagys, who was immediately declared ineligible by Clemson once the
violations were discovered, was required to repay the cost of the
long-distance calls to the school before his eligibility was restored.
All of the calls made by Nagys - made between Nov. 2000 and April 2002,
totaling $553.20 - were to his homeland of Lithuania and involved a situation
with his family. He can practice with the team during his suspension, and
will be eligible to return to action Dec. 31 against Coastal Carolina.
"I regret that this happened," Nagys said in a statement released by the
university. "...We had some family issues that needed to be addressed. I
accept the NCAA's ruling and look forward to rejoining our team on Dec. 31."
The phone calls were discovered during a routine audit of the athletic
department's telephone records by the compliance office in April of this
According to the Eligibility Case Report filed with the NCAA, some of the
calls were connected for Nagys by an unnamed third party. After a while,
Nagys apparently memorized the long distance code and began making the calls
In her letter to the NCAA reporting the violations, Bowman wrote that the
third party involved in both placing the calls and allowing use of the long
distance codes would be fired under normal circumstances. But Bowman also
wrote the third party was "remorseful and contrite throughout the
investigation" and that "Severe punishment and corrective actions would be
Clemson refused to identify the third party or the corrective action taken,
calling the issue a private personnel matter.
Clemson head coach Larry Shyatt referred most questions on the issue to
Bowman, who is in Atlanta with the Lady Tigers' volleyball team.
Reached in her hotel room, Bowman was asked if the violations boiled down to
a staff member's actions violating NCAA rules even though the intentions were
purely an attempt to help a student-athlete in time of need.
"I think that would be a fair assessment," Bowman said. "As you are aware
we've had some other tough situations to deal with in the recent past here,
and the collective thought of the people involved was to do the best thing
for both the student athlete and the staff member.
"That's what we did, and the NCAA thought it was appropriate."
But Shyatt did accept responsibility for the violations - even though he
wasn't aware they had occurred - and stressed the need to learn from the
mistake and move on.
"Unquestionably I feel responsible," he said Thursday afternoon at his
office. "At the same time I'm more interested in the correction process and
making sure we don't repeat the same mistakes in the future. The episode
bothers me (because) I'd like us to be perfect in everything we do.
"Small things, if not brought to attention, can become major things. That's
why I commend the process and the thorough investigation that was done. I
don't want to repeat the mistake."
Asked if he thought the violations were "small things," Shyatt said:
"I don't think anything that violates NCAA rules is small. But an attempt to
gain a competitive edge? That is never the intent of our program."
Nagys has played in 83 games at Clemson, nine as a starter. He averaged 4.9
points and 4.5 rebounds per game last season as a junior, helping the Tigers'
front line lead the Atlantic Coast Conference in rebounding.
Meanwhile, an undetermined number of Clemson basketball players briefly lost
their eligibility due to other violations stemming from impermissible rides
to and from practice, as well as to and from Greenville-Spartanburg airport.
Those players had their eligibility restored once they repaid the cost of the
transportation ($71.76), and none of them were suspended.
Official Release: Nagys to Miss First Eight Games of Season
Clemson, SC-Clemson forward Tomas Nagys will miss the first eight
games of the 2002-03 season due to his involvement in an NCAA
secondary violation. The senior from Lithuania will play his first
game against Coastal Carolina on December 31, 2002.
The action was taken as a result of his use of an athletic
staff member's long distance telephone access code. He used the code
without permission to make phone calls over several months earlier
this year. As part of his condition for reinstatement, Nagys has
repaid the value of the phone calls.
"I regret that this happened," said Nagys. "All of the phone
calls were made to my family in Lithuania. We had some family issues
that needed to be addressed. I accept the NCAA's ruling and look
forward to rejoining our team on December 31." Nagys is permitted to
practice with the Tigers during the period he will be held out of
"We regret that this situation has occurred," said Clemson
Head Coach Larry Shyatt. "We have addressed it with the NCAA and
taken corrective action for these secondary violations. The NCAA
has accepted our findings. This is now behind us. What is in front
of us is a senior who needs just four hours in the spring semester to
graduate with his class. He will have a very positive impact on our
team on and off the floor this year."
Nagys is a veteran of 83 games in his Clemson career, nine as
a starter. He averaged 4.9 points and 4.5 rebounds per game last
year when he played in all 30 games as a reserve. One of three
scholarship seniors on the Clemson team this year, he finished his
junior season with an 18-point, nine-rebound performance against
Florida State in the ACC Tournament in Charlotte.