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Seton Hall coach Kevin Willard suspended two games, will miss opener

The school suspended Willard for alleged transfer tampering in a matter that is being looked at by the NCAA.

Heading into the 2019-2020 season, one of the teams that many are looking at is the Seton Hall Pirates. Ranked number 12in the preseason AP Poll, the Pirates return preseason All-American Myles Powell and an experienced unit this season. However, as the season draws near, the team will open the season without their leader.

Seton Hall announced that head coach Kevin Willard was suspended two games for alledged transfer tampering. Willard missed Tuesday’s exhibition game against Misericordia and will miss the November 5th season opener against Wagner. Assistant coach Grant Billmeier led the team on Tuesday and will continue to assume head coaching responsibilities against Wagner.

Gannett New Jersey first reported the suspension.

“Seton Hall University has been working collaboratively with the NCAA enforcement staff to address an infraction within our men’s basketball program,” said a statement from Seton Hall’s athletic department. “Our department has been proactive in our review and has been fully cooperating with the NCAA enforcement staff. As head coach, Coach Willard assumes responsibility for the program, including this underlying violation, and has agreed to sit out the October 29 exhibition contest and the November 5 game.

This matter is still in review, and as a result, we will refrain from commenting any further until it is resolved. Seton Hall is and always will be committed to a culture of compliance, and we will continue to work diligently to ensure it.”

The incident in question reportedly was the transfer of Taurean Thompson from Syracuse to South Orange in 2017. The NCAA is still investigating the matter. Seton Hall is waiting to see if the self-imposed penalty is sufficient. There is always a chance that the NCAA could add to the penalty as well. Transfer tampering is considered a Level 2 violation, which constitutes a significant breach of conduct.

“Violations that provide or are intended to provide more than a minimal but less than a substantial or extensive recruiting, competitive or other advantage; includes more than a minimal but less than a substantial or extensive impermissible benefit; or involves conduct that may compromise the integrity of the NCAA collegiate model as set forth in the Constitution and bylaws.”

Seton Hall fans are hoping that the penalty the school imposed on Willard will be enough.

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Kahlil Thomas

Kahlil is the College Sports Editor for DoubleGSports.com as well as a columnist, hosting the Bump 'N Run column once per week. He also co-hosts a weekly basketball podcast, The Box Out, every Thursday evening with fellow DoubleGSports.com writer Jason Cordner.
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