The UA has never given a reason for placing assistant coach Mark Phelps on paid leave. ESPN reported he was accused of a violation regarding a recruit’s academic transcripts.

Citing currently ongoing investigations into Arizona basketball, UA declined Friday to release any records around the February removal of then-assistant basketball coach Mark Phelps.

The Star filed a public records request on Feb. 14 asking for any records of communication between Phelps and UA over his indefinite suspension, records from UA's outside counsel involving Phelps, and any records from the NCAA involving Phelps.

But UA responded on Friday by saying release of such records failed the balancing test of things that could be detrimental to the state if disclosed.

Phelps was reportedly in violation of NCAA rules for a second time, for issues related to the academic records of former UA commit Shareef O'Neal.

Phelps was also suspended in November 2017 for reasons UA said were not related to the federal investigation into college basketball; however, UA's response to a records request about that incident stated only that he broke an unspecified NCAA rule.

While UA initially moved to fire Phelps, the school appears to be letting Phelps' contract for the 2018-19 calendar run out on Sunday instead.

Contact sports reporter Bruce Pascoe at 573-4146 or On Twitter @brucepascoe


Bruce is a veteran Star sports reporter who has also worked at the Las Vegas Review-Journal. He graduated from Northwestern University and has an MBA from Thunderbird.