College coach put on leave

May 13, 2003 11:00 pm

By DAN GOLDMAN

Columbia College men's basketball coach Andrew Vasher was placed on administrative leave yesterday, six days after the basketball program was slapped with a one-year probation for rules violations, college Athletic Director George Railey said.

If or when Vasher will actually lose his coaching post is "something that will be determined by the (Yosemite Community College) District," Railey said. "The ultimate decision for the status of any employee is with the board."

Columbia President Dr. Jim Riggs would not comment on Vasher's status but defined administrative leave as meaning that a person is "still employed, but on leave from their work assignments."

Vasher declined to comment.

Railey also said he did not know how the ultimate decision on Vasher's status would affect the school's basketball program this year or in the future.

Since the probation was announced, Riggs has said options he and Railey will consider are suspending the basketball team for the 2003-04 season, eliminating the program entirely, and eliminating the basketball and women's volleyball programs entirely and replacing them with new state-sanctioned sports.

Although the Central Valley Conference and the state Commission on Athletics have already issued the terms of Columbia's basketball probation, Riggs and Railey are reviewing results of the school's internal investigation of the basketball program to determine possible further penalties.

The investigation turned up at least six state rules violations committed an untold number of times over a period of three years. The violations included members of the athletic department managing student-athletes' money; student-athletes living in housing without paying rent until financial aid checks were distributed; student-athletes getting books on credit; and student-athletes having jobs not available to other students.