Former Texas Tech head men’s basketball coach Billy Gillispie was fired for exceeding NCAA limits on practice activities (among other things). Emails released by Texas Tech show the bulk of the violations occurred over two days:
The school’s investigation found that on the weekend of Oct. 29-30, 2011, the team practiced for 7 hours, 15 minutes on Saturday and 6 hours, 30 minutes on Sunday. The school had initially reported no more than four hours of practice on any day, but a former men’s basketball employee reported that the team had exceeded that on Oct. 29.
That shows pretty conclusively what the culture was like around Texas Tech basketball last year. Practice violations are common, and coaches use tricks to stretch those four and 20 hours to the max. Players are expected to show up stretched and ready to go, or practices are split into two two-hour sessions with a 30-minute break where athletes have no choice but to shoot around. Small mistakes even rose to the level of a major violation with Michigan.
But if a team exceeded practice limits by 5 hours and 45 minutes in two days, someone had to notice. Student-athlete know the rules, trainers had to see when athletes came in to start practice and when they finished, and major conference men’s basketball teams have tons of people around them at practice. For such an egregious violation to go unnoticed for even a couple months means everyone had to be too afraid to talk.