Keith Moss' stay at Saint Mary's College lasted only one season, but the former assistant coach has become a central figure in the NCAA investigation into the Gaels' basketball program.

Moss, though, said Friday his role is overblown and he plans to appeal the ruling.

"I'm disappointed by the NCAA's findings and its sanctions against Saint Mary's College," he said in a brief interview with this newspaper. "I look forward to my appeal and showing the majority of the reported violations occurred after I left Saint Mary's."

Moss, who had coaching stints at San Jose State and Foothill and Gavilan community colleges, declined to address the NCAA report issued Friday that found he tried to help a French basketball player attend Saint Mary's.

NCAA officials reduced the number of Saint Mary's scholarships, put the school on probation for four years and suspended coach Randy Bennett for five games next season for failing to promote an atmosphere of compliance.

Moss, a father of three who lives in Roseville, was charged with unethical conduct and was effectively banned from coaching at NCAA schools for two years.

According to a Saint Mary's bio, Moss coordinated scheduling and summer camps, and he assisted with scouting and recruiting as the coordinator of underclassmen recruiting during the 2008-09 season.

A person familiar with Moss' involvement in the NCAA investigation said the findings aren't as severe as they might appear. The person declined to speak publicly because of the planned appeal.


Advertisement

The source said Moss broke two rules while employed by Saint Mary's -- making too many recruiting calls in one month and helping to arrange the purchase of basketball shoes for a high school player from France.

Moss allegedly made seven more calls than allowed by NCAA rules. Four of those calls were not even answered, the source said.

The French player involved is Remi Barry, who averages 3.8 points and 2.1 rebounds per game as a sophomore at New Mexico State.

Saint Mary's was not interested in the 6-foot-7 forward, the source said. But Barry, a graduate of Del Oro High in Loomis, did attend a game and an open workout at the school with Moss.

California Interscholastic Federation officials investigated Barry's eligibility when he arrived in Loomis in 2009 after Moss had left Saint Mary's. Moss told the Auburn Journal in 2010: "I had read a document saying I was shopping my kids and Remi around to at least one school.

"I was trying to help the kid out, and it could have potentially been helpful for Saint Mary's. Once I resigned, I don't care where the kid goes to school. All of my contacts with everybody were after I resigned from Saint Mary's."

The source said Moss stands by those comments. Although Moss admitted such details as picking Remi up at a Sacramento airport and helping the teen enroll in school, "he didn't think there was any wrongdoing at his end," the source added. "But the NCAA thought he was still part of Saint Mary's triangle."

The NCAA report said Moss also helped two other players, but the source said neither Frenchman attended Saint Mary's. He added that Moss hardly knows either player.

According to the Saint Mary's bio, Moss helped seven players get into Division I schools during his four years at Foothill College. Three of those players went to Saint Mary's: Samuel Saint-Jean, Frederic Adjiwanou and Reda Rhalimi.

Saint-Jean is the younger brother of Tariq Abdul-Wahad, a former San Jose State star known as Olivier Saint-Jean during his Spartans career. Abdul-Wahad has been Moss' longtime friend. The connection helped Moss, who played at Cal State Northridge in the early 1990s, begin representing French players as an agent.

Moss has no plans to return to coaching but still plans to help French players when asked, the source said.

Contact Elliott Almond at 408-920-5865. Follow him on Twitter at twitter.com/elliottalmond.