Nearly two years after the most successful University of Alaska Anchorage women's head basketball coach in history resigned without explanation, the university finally shed some light on his sudden departure, following the NCAA's release of its findings that two Seawolf players were paid by the coach. The team faces a $5,000 fine and a two-year probation.
In the 2011-12 season, six-year coach Tim Moser, in collaboration with graduate student and assistant coach Elisha Harris, put $7,320 into the financial accounts of two student-athletes without their knowledge or permission -- or the university's.
UAA Director of Athletics Keith Hackett, who's been at UAA since the fall of 2013, said the money went to tuition costs, room and board. He said the girls didn't know the extra money was being funneled into their accounts.
"There were some student-athletes that were receiving aid as freshman that were above and beyond the scholarships they were allocated," said Hackett. "When they were getting renewed, at the office of compliance, is when they figured out something wasn't right."
Consequently, UAA self-reported the prohibited actions to the NCAA. The university will lose about three-fourths of one of the 10 scholarships allocated to the women's basketball team in the 2015-16 season, which Hackett said could mean one fewer athlete signed to the Division II team. Currently, 10 scholarships are spread among 15 players.
In addition, UAA will also vacate half the victories from the women's team's 2011-12 season for playing ineligible athletes. UAA went 30-5 that season.
"But really the worst part is being included on this list of institutions on probation," said Hackett. "It does not project an institution in a positive light if you are on probation. It's a difficult thing for us to deal with. What it does is question our reputation and integrity because of the actions of two coaches that are no longer on our staff."
Probation does not prevent the UAA women from playing in the postseason, but additional violations will mean more severe penalties.
Hackett did not release the names of the students involved and referred to them as "innocent victims." He said they continued to be a part of the woman's basketball program.
Hackett's predecessor, Steve Cobb, who left in May of 2013, was not a subject of investigation. Moser is currently the assistant coach of the Division I Colorado State women's basketball team.
In a statement released by Colorado State, Moser apologized for his "poor judgment" but said he was trying to do the right thing for the two players.
"I was motivated by the desire to do right by the student athletes," Moser said. "I exercised poor judgment in my honest desire to fulfill what had been promised to two student athletes. The choice I made was wrong, and I fully accept responsibility for having made that decision."
Anchorage Daily News sports editor Beth Bragg contributed to this report.