Tech Memphis friend

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The main question college coaches would ask me after I detailed, in Novemberthe major violations that were committed by Ron Bellwhom Georgia Tech coach Josh Pastner had long described as a close friend, is this: Why in the world did Pastner let this guy get so close to his program? My answer was always that, first and foremost, I did believe Pastner's friendship with Bell was initially rooted in a good place and sparked by good intentions.

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Bell had credited Pastner with helping him overcome a prescription-drug problem, and the two reconnected, in Januaryat a time when they both needed what the other could provide. Bell desired a purpose that was found by the opportunity to be around a college basketball program. And Pastner, who was in what turned out to be his final months at Memphiswas in search of somebody, anybody, who would shower him with encouragement and support because, at that point, the overwhelming majority of the Memphis fanbase, and by extension the city, had turned on him in an ugly way.

So the two started spending lots of time together -- and Bell was a fixture around the Memphis program for the rest of the season.

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The NCAA announced on Thursday that it has banned Georgia Tech from the postseasonput the school on four years probation, placed recruiting restrictions on the staff, forced the program to vacate wins, and fined the ACC institution an undetermined amount of money. It's not the death penalty, obviously. But it's still not good and plenty bad for Pastner's career and reputation.

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Sidenote: This development also isn't good for Kansaswhich was charged by the NCAA with more serious violations than Georgia Tech Tech Memphis friend this week. If the NCAA shows any kind of consistency, it's reasonable to assume KU will get at least what Georgia Tech just got -- and probably more -- unless it can successfully argue that Adidas consultant T. Gassnola was not a Kansas booster. Good luck, as they say, with that. When my story published in November and detailed, for the first time, Bell's involvement in major violationssome were quick to dismiss him as a crazy criminal whose word could not be trusted.

But my point was always the same: A crazy criminal with receipts and text messages isn't much different than a sane saint with receipts and text messages. Put another way, Bell, regardless of what you think of him as a human, had undeniable proof that he was super-close with Pastner, deep inside the program and guilty of committing major violations. So once he turned on Pastner, and provided his evidence, what happened Thursday was always going to happen. The only thing up for debate was how much Pastner knew about Bell's conduct -- and reasonable minds can disagree on that.

But it should be noted that the NCAA did not hit Pastner specifically as hard as it theoretically could've if it would've charged him for failing to monitor his close friend. That would've likely triggered an in-season suspension for Pastner.

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Whether Josh Pastner was just a nice person trying to give a troubled man a purpose, or an up-against-it coach using an obsessed friend to help violate rules, or both, is something I'll let the message boards tackle. But, regardless, it's clear Pastner's motivation, whatever it might've been, was misguided and costly.

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Allowing a person like Ron Bell the type of access he was allowed was always weird and by extension risky. It was a head-scratcher from the jump that eventually turned into a headache. And it ultimately became the core of an NCAA case that cost student-athletes who had nothing to do with any of it the opportunity to compete this season for what is every college basketball players' dream -- a trip to the NCAA Tournament.

By Gary Parrish. Sep 26, at pm ET 3 min read. Courtesy of Ron Bell. It's obviously a fair question. Bell needed Pastner. And Pastner needed Bell. Georgia Tech pays for Pastner's problem Gary Parrish 3 min read. Alabama jumps up after Shackelford's return Gary Parrish 8 min read. New transfer rules impacts recruiting Gary Parrish 4 min read.

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Tech Memphis friend

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