Although UCLA has been penalized by the NCAA for the second time in less than a year, the university won't feel any impact if it avoids further problems.

The NCAA placed UCLA on three years probation Thursday for violating basketball recruiting rules and giving improper benefits to athletes when Jim Harrick coached the Bruins.The only tangible penalty is a reduction from 12 to six the number of official visits to the campus by recruits in 1998-99 and 1999-2000.

However, since the Bruins will have only one senior and one junior on scholarship next year, the sanction shouldn't handicap them. Over the last two years, with many more scholarships available, UCLA has averaged 71/2 visits per year.

The Bruins remain eligible to compete in postseason play and appear on television.

Additional penalties were not imposed even though UCLA was placed on probation for three years last May for violations by the softball program.

The NCAA said the basketball violations occurred from 1993-95, before those in softball took place.

Harrick was fired Nov. 6, 1996, two weeks before the start of the 1996-97 season, for an alleged recruiting violation and lying about an expense account. Nineteen months earlier, he coached UCLA to its first NCAA basketball title in 20 years.

He was hired by Rhode Island after not coaching during the 1996-97 season.

David Swank, chairman of the NCAA Committee on Infractions, said the violations were worthy of more severe penalties had Harrick not been fired, and said as far as he knew, current coach Steve Lavin was not involved.

Harrick, cited for unethical conduct for lying to school officials during a UCLA investigation, was in West Virginia for a speaking engagement on Thursday and not available for comment.