State Colleges

NJCAA investigating Hutchinson Community College women’s basketball program

Hutchinson women's basketball coach, John Ontjes, talks to his team during the Region VI tournament in 2014.
Hutchinson women's basketball coach, John Ontjes, talks to his team during the Region VI tournament in 2014. The Wichita Eagle

The NJCAA confirmed Tuesday that it is investigating the Hutchinson Community College women’s basketball program for improper benefits to players and an eligibility matter following the Blue Dragons’ third NJCAA runner-up finish in four seasons.

Hutchinson coach John Ontjes also confirmed the investigation was underway.

“I don’t really want to get into too much about (the investigation),” Ontjes said. “That’s something that (Hutchinson athletic director) Randy Stange is dealing with right now. I know we have until June 5 to respond.”

Stange, who retires June 30, declined to comment, citing the ongoing investigation. He did confirm it’s the first time the program has been investigated by the NJCAA under Ontjes.

NJCAA assistant executive director Mark Krug said the school had until the end of this week.

“We do have an open inquiry with their women’s basketball program,” Krug said. “An issue came to our attention last week. Our policy is once the investigation is underway, we don’t comment on it because we don’t think it’s fair to paint the school in a bad light if nothing comes of it.”

The Blue Dragons have experienced unprecedented success under Ontjes, a Nickerson native who is Hutchinson’s career assists leader and also played for Oklahoma. In eight seasons, he is 257-26 and has won five straight Jayhawk West titles.

The Blue Dragons went 36-1 this season, losing to Chipola 54-46 in the NJCAA Division I championship game on March 22 in Salina.

Reach Tony Adame at 316-268-6284 or tadame@wichitaeagle.com. Follow him on Twitter: @t_adame.

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