February 18, 2011 PRINT Bookmark and Share

Northeastern's Cronin, O'Connell Suspended Indefinitely Over Potential NCAA Violations

CHN Staff Report

BOSTON — Northeastern coach Greg Cronin has been suspended indefinitely because of an internal investigation into potential NCAA recruiting violations.

According to a release on the school's web site, the possible violations "relate to telephone and text message legislation and were revealed during the course of routine internal compliance monitoring."

Also suspended indefinitely is assistant coach Albie O'Connell.

That leaves assistant coach Sebastien Laplante, 39, as the team's interim coach. The Huskies have a home-and-home series with Boston College this weekend, beginning in Chestnut Hill tonight.

The university immediately contacted its all-sport conference — the Colonial Athletic Association — and said it is working "closely and cooperatively" with the conference office to continue its investigation.

“We are taking this action now to reinforce a culture of integrity within our department,” Northeastern director of athletics Peter Roby said in a statement. “We are committed to operating an athletics program that is reflective of the values of the university we represent. It is imperative that we conduct our activities in full accordance with NCAA and conference rules. We are dedicated to that effort, and we are taking all appropriate steps to ensure that is the case.”

None of the parties involved could be reached at this time for additional comment.

Ironically, Cronin was the interim coach at Maine from 1995-96 during the one-year suspension of Shawn Walsh — the result of one of college hockey's most well-known series of NCAA violations.

Cronin spent time coaching in the NHL as an assistant, and as a head coach in the AHL, before earning the Northeastern job in 2005, taking over for Bruce Crowder. After winning three games the first year, Cronin led the Huskies to a school-record 25-win season and an NCAA appearance in 2008-09.

O'Connell was a four-year player for Boston University from 1995-99, and had a brief minor league career before turning to coaching. He has been an assistant at Niagara, Holy Cross and Merrimack prior to joining Cronin's staff in 2008.

Laplante was a four-year player for Northeastern from 1989-93, scoring 27 goals in his sophomore year. He also had a brief minor pro career, and became a Northeastern assistant in 2008.

New Hampshire's program is currently on two-year probation, dating back to April, 2009, for similar violations. In that case, the school self-reported to the NCAA and no one was suspended. New Hampshire determined in that case that assistant coach Scott Borek made an honest mistake, incorrectly entering data into a recruiting software program that automatically sends e-mails.

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