The NCAA Committee on Infractions (“Committee”) recently issued its findings and found that the Brevard College (“BC”) committed major violations of NCAA legislation. The case involved impermissible text messages and phone calls made by the former men’s and women’s track and field and cross country coach (“Former Coach”). After the investigation concluded the case was submitted to the Committee through the summary disposition process, which is an alternative to a formal hearing before the Committee that may be utilized when the NCAA enforcement staff, the member institution, and involved individuals agree to the facts of an infractions case and that those facts constitute major violations of NCAA legislation.
The Committee found that BC committed the following violations of NCAA legislation:
1. Impermissible Text Messaging in violation of NCAA Bylaw 13.4.5
a. Between November 27, 2009 and February 19, 2010, the Former Coach sent 181 impermissible text messages to 15 prospective student-athletes. The Former Coach acknowledged his involvement in the violations and indicated he corresponded with prospective student-athletes via text message because it was their preferred method of communication. The enforcement staff interviewed several of the involved student-athletes and they indicated many of the text messages were logistical in nature (i.e., coordinating campus visits and registering with the NCAA Eligibility Center).
2. Impermissible Phone Calls in violation of NCAA Bylaw 220.127.116.11
a. One 9 separate occasions between July 19, 2009 and February 26, 2010, the Former Coach impermissibly placed more than one call per week to prospective student-athletes. The Former Coach acknowledged making the above-referenced calls, but indicated he did not reach the prospective student-athletes or left a voicemail. However, when it was brought to his attention that some of the calls were as long as 23 minutes, he stated “I can’t dispute the records.”
3. Unethical conduct in violation of NCAA Bylaw 10.1-(d)
a. The Former Coach provided false and misleading information to BC officials and enforcement staff representatives. Upon initially learning of the possibility of impermissible text messages being sent to prospective student-athletes, BC’s director of compliance spoke to the Former Coach about whether he sent impermissible text messages and he responded in the negative. Subsequently, the director of compliance requested all of Former Coach’s phone bills and he provided altered and manipulated bills. After meeting with the athletics director and the director of compliance again, it was discovered that such bills had been altered when the coach printed his phone records from an online account and the records were clearly different. The Former Coach knowingly attempted to conceal the impermissible text messages. As such, the record supported an unethical conduct charge.
As a result of the aforementioned violations, the Committee penalized BC as follows:
1. Public reprimand and censure.
2. One year of probation from May 13, 2011 through May 12, 2012.
3. A 10% reduction in the number of athletics grants-in-aid equivalency scholarships in the sports of men’s and women’s cross country and track and field for the 2011-12 academic year.
4. Suspended all off-campus contact in the sports of men’s and women’s cross country and track and field for a period of 3 months.
5. Suspended all on- or off-campus recruiting activities for a period of 12 weeks, June 15, 2010 through September 7, 2010, including no telephone calls, on- or off-campus contacts, electronic correspondence, etc. in the sports of men’s and women’s cross-country and track and field.
6. Extended suspension of off-campus recruiting from September 7, 2010 through October 2010.
7. Suspended all official visits for prospects in the men’s and women’s cross country and track and field program during the 2011-12 academic years.
8. The Former Coach received a two (2) year show cause penalty.