Athens Review, Athens, Texas

October 24, 2012

Forgey: No misconduct at TVCC

Former championship coaches fired for alleged academic, recruiting violations

Jayson Larson
The Athens Review

ATHENS — Trinity Valley Community College President Dr. Glendon Forgey on Monday said he has no reason to believe any incidents of academic or recruiting misconduct levied against two former coaches happened during their tenure at his institution.

Kenya and Michael Landers, the married co-head-coaching duo that led the TVCC women’s basketball team to a national championship last season, have been fired from their positions at the University of Mississippi, also known as Ole Miss.

In a statement released over the weekend, Ole Miss athletic director Ross Bjork said Mrs. Landers, an assistant women’s basketball coach and recruiting coordinator, and Mr. Landers, director of basketball operations, were terminated effective immediately over “impermissible recruiting contacts and academic misconduct.” Bjork also said first-year head coach Adrian Wiggins has been placed on administrative leave and would no longer coach the women’s team.

Bjork said there is no evidence Wiggins was complicit in any misconduct, or had knowledge of any wrongdoing, but added that the coach “is accountable for the actions of those who report to him.”

Wiggins’ two other assistants will remain with the university.

Included in the bombshell announcement was that Sha’Kayla Caples, the National Junior College Player of the Year on Mr. and Mrs. Landers’ title team at TVCC in 2012 who followed them to Ole Miss, has been ruled academically ineligible. The university said she and fellow JUCO transfer Brandy Broome from Pensacola State College failed to meet NCAA transfer eligibility requirements.

Caples, who played for TVCC during the 2010-11 and 2011-12 seasons, graduated from the school last spring. It is unclear why she has been ruled academically ineligible.

Forgey told the Athens Review on Monday that TVCC had not been contacted by the NCAA or the NJCAA (the latter of which governs junior and community college athletics), but that it had been contacted by the University of Mississippi. TVCC, however, is not conducting its own investigation and Forgey said he has no details regarding the investigations at Ole Miss or with the NCAA.

When asked by e-mail if Mr. and Mrs. Landers’ firing at Ole Miss stemmed from any activity at TVCC, he responded, “Absolutely not.”

Bjork said officials at Ole Miss learned of possible violations in September and immediately began an investigation. He said the university then informed the Southeastern Conference and the NCAA upon discovering “troubling facts” through that investigation.

Later Monday, Bjork told The Clarion-Ledger of Jackson, Miss., that Ole Miss is facing a number of self-imposed penalties, as well as any punishment handed down by the NCAA.

Mr. and Mrs. Landers spent two seasons as co-head coaches at TVCC, leading the national powerhouse Lady Cardinals to a 70-3 record and two trips to the NJCAA Women’s National Championship tournament in Salina, Kan. Mr. Landers led the Lady Cards to a national title during a previous stint as head coach in 2004, while Mrs. Landers led TVCC to a national championship as a player in 1999.