UC Capitals coach Paul Goriss has been found guilty of engaging in conduct against Basketball Australia’s integrity framework.
Goriss was supplied with confidential video footage of a Sydney Uni Flames training session by referee Simon Cosier. The video was provided to the referees for educational purposes.
Goriss will be banned from all Basketball Australia coaching activities for a month. Cosier will be banned from all refereeing activities for the 2021/22 WNBL season.
The matter was referred to an Independent Hearing Panel after an investigation by Basketball Australia’s Integrity Unit. The panel determined that Cosier offered and supplied the footage to Goriss, while Goriss was found to have used some of the clips for opposition scouting.
UC Capitals general manager Lucille Bailie was strong in her statement to the media on Tuesday (21 December).
“The UC Capitals acknowledge Paul Goriss’s actions, Goz’s acceptance of his wrongdoing and the penalty imposed by Basketball Australia,” Ms Bailie said.
“The UC Capitals take issues of sport integrity with great seriousness. I’d also like to add that Paul has demonstrated an exemplary character on and off the court over many years, as we have all witnessed. Our organisation is uncategorically supportive of Paul now and into the future,” said Ms Bailie.
Mr Goriss was apologetic, despite stressing that there was no advantage gained through the seven clips he accepted from the referee.
“I’m not going to hide things. My character shows that I’m a truthful and honest person, and it’s obviously like a blip. I’ve admitted my guilt in accepting the footage. I’ve been remorseful. I’m accountable for my own actions. I was the one who accepted it and I could’ve chosen not to,” he said.
Sydney Uni Flames were less convinced by the panel’s determination.
“We are bitterly disappointed by the actual incident but also the findings handed down by Basketball Australia’s independent hearing panel,” Flames owner and chairman Paul Smith said.
“While we will not comment on the individual suspensions handed down, we strongly disagree with the finding that ‘no actual advantage’ was gained by the UC Capitals as a result of the actions of the coach and official.
“At no stage were any Sydney Flames coaching staff or players called to give evidence to the Independent Hearing Panel to fully ascertain what took place during the game and the advantage derived by the UC Capitals.
“We believe, at a minimum, the UC Capitals should lose the points, and the result [of the 5 December match the UC Capitals won 58-55] should be overturned with the win awarded to the Flames,” he said.
The bans are effective immediately, but both parties have 14 days to appeal the decision. During the five-game ban, assistant coach Kennedy Kereama will step into the head coach role.
The news of the ban adds to the Capitals difficult opening to the 2021/22 season. The squad only recently exited seven days of quarantine after a confirmed COVID-19 case in their organisation.