Ball State Basketball Coach Quits; Best Player Declared Ineligible
Less than three weeks before basketball practice starts, Ball State lost both coach Dick Hunsaker and star forward Steve Payne.
Hunsaker quit Tuesday, and Payne was declared ineligible because of NCAA rules violations.
A university committee found that Payne and three other players received improper inducements, extra benefits and unauthorized financial aid dating to the summer of 1989, university spokesman Jeffrey Alford said.
Athletic director Don Purvis has been asked to name a new coach as soon as possible, but Alford said he has no idea when that will be. Meanwhile, the defending Mid-American Conference co-champions, who finished 26-8 last season, are without even an interim coach.
If a new coach is to come from within the program, it may be Lynn Mitchem, a former Butler star hired during the offseason as an assistant. The two full-time assistants from last year's team left for other jobs: Leonard Drake became head coach at Central Michigan, and Ron Hecklinski became a high school coach.
Ball State did not blame Hunsaker for the violations, but both sides agreed it was best he leave now, Alford said. …