Miami (Fla.) recruit who was allegedly involved with WKU’s Morton cleared to play


WKU assistant basketball coach Jake Morton, seen in the center talking to Head Coach Ken McDonald, was named in August in a Yahoo! Sports report regarding impermissable benefits at Miami (Fla.) from 2002-2009. Morton coached there from 2008-2011. The player in which Morton was allegedly involved with, DeQuan Jones, won an appeal on a season-long suspension in wake of the allegations and will be allowed to play the remainder of the season for Miami.

Cole Claybourn

DeQuan Jones, the Miami (Fla.) basketball recruit whose commitment WKU assistant coach Jake Morton allegedly paid $10,000 for, is returning to the court after sitting out nearly the entire first half of the 2011-2012 season as the NCAA continues to investigate an improper benefits scandal at the university.

The Miami Herald reported on Sunday that Jones hired an attorney and filed an appeal asking the school to overturn its season-long suspension.

The suspension was lifted Tuesday afternoon, according to the Miami Herald.

Morton, who was an assistant coach at Miami from 2007-2011 and was hired by WKU in June, was accused in a Yahoo! report on August 16 of helping Miami athletics booster Nevin Shapiro set up the transaction to help secure Jones’ commitment.

Shapiro said in the Yahoo! report that Morton set up the transaction in 2007 and became a middle-man for funds.

The Yahoo! report claims that Morton returned the money to Shapiro in 2010 after he received angry messages from Shapiro.

The NCAA contacted WKU a day after the report was published and said they wanted to meet with Morton regarding the allegations.

President Gary Ransdell told the Herald shortly after the NCAA contacted him that WKU would face no ramifications for Morton’s alleged actions and said WKU stands by its hire of Morton.

“That’s a university of Miami problem and to an extent it involves Jake Morton,” Ransdell said in August. “We checked and did all of our homework before Jake was hired. Jake denies that he had anything to do with what the guy in prison (Shapiro) is saying took place.

“The NCAA will sort that out, but that’s a University of Miami problem that doesn’t involve us. Obviously Jake Morton is our employee, so we’re interested in his well-being. But beyond that we just don’t have anything to say about it.”

The period during which the alleged violations occurred was from 2002-2010. Athletics Director Ross Bjork was not implicated in the report, although he spent time as the Associate Athletic Director at Miami from 2003-2005.

Bjork said in September that the NCAA still has no timetable on when they’ll meet with Morton.

He also said before the season that WKU was planning to operate with a “business as usual” approach and Morton was to remain on the sidelines for WKU, which he has been for each of WKU’s games this season.