The NCAA Division II Committee on Infractions (“Committee”) recently issued its findings and found that California State Polytechnic University, Pomona (“Cal State”) committed major violations of NCAA legislation. The majority of the violations occurred in women’s basketball during 2009 and 2010 and involved impermissible inducements to prospects and their coaches. Additionally, both the men’s and women’s basketball programs were cited for conducting impermissible tryouts in violation of NCAA legislation.
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. After reviewing the initial report, the Committee suggested additional penalties. Cal State included two of the three additional penalties and requested an expedited hearing in accordance with NCAA Bylaw 220.127.116.11.3 on the penalty that it did not agree to implement.
The Committee found and that Cal State committed the following violations of NCAA legislation:
1. Impermissible inducements in violation of NCAA Bylaws 13.2.1, 13.2.2-(e) & (l), and 13.15.1
During the spring of 2010 the former head coach, with assistance from former assistant coach 1, arranged for $300.00 to be provided to prospect 1 so she could register for an online course she needed to pass in order to enroll at the institution.
Prospect 1 needed to earn an additional math credit to become eligible to attend Cal State and the former head coach recommended that she take the course online. Prospect 1 indicated she could not afford the $300.00 payment needed to pay for the course, so the former head coach told her the cost would be reimbursed through her financial aid package once she passed the course and enrolled at Cal State. Thus, the coach arranged for a student manager to funnel $300.00 to Prospect 1. Unbeknownst to the Cal State women’s basketball staff, Prospect 1’s sister paid for the online course two days prior to providing the money to Prospect 1.
2. Impermissible offer in violation of NCAA Bylaws 13.2.1, 13.2.2-(l), and 13.15.1
During the spring of 2010, the former head coach offered to reimburse prospect 3 for the cost of an online math course she needed to pass in order to enroll at the Cal State.
During Cal State’s recruitment of Prospect 3 in the spring of 2010, the women’s basketball staff determined that she needed to pass another math course before she could enroll. In her interview with the enforcement staff during the investigation, Prospect 3 stated the former head coach told her that once she passed the course and enrolled at Cal State, she would be reimbursed for the cost of the course through her financial aid package.
3. Impermissible entertainment on official visit in violation of NCAA Bylaws 18.104.22.168, 13.6.7, and 13.6.8
From April 8 to April 10, 2010, the former head coach and former assistant coach 1 provided impermissible inducements in the form of meals, transportation and lodging to Prospect 2 and Prospect 2’s coach when they accompanied another prospective student-athlete (“Prospect 4”) on her official paid visit.
Prospect 4 made an official visit to Cal State on April 8-10, 2010. She was accompanied by Prospect 2 and Prospect 2’s coach. The former head coach and former assistant coach 1 both provided impermissible transportation, lodging, and meals throughout the weekend to Prospect 2 and Prospect 2’s coach.
4. Practice while ineligible to participate in countable athletically related activities in violation of NCAA Bylaws 14.1.8 and 17.02.1
During the 2008-09 and 2009-10 academic years, the student managers for the women’s basketball team participated as practice players during approximately 10 percent of the team practices.
Student manager 1 held her position during the 2008-09 academic year and student manager 2 held her position as manager during the 2009-10 academic year. Student manager 1 indicated the majority of her time was spent participating as a practice player, whereas student manager 2 indicated she participated on the scout team approximately 10 percent of the time. The former head coach allowed student manager 1 and student manager 2 to participate in practice despite receiving an email on October 14, 2008 stating that student managers could not serve as practice players.
5. Impermissible tryouts in violations of NCAA Bylaws 22.214.171.124-(e), 17.02.1, and 17.3.7
During 2009 and 2010, the women’s basketball staff conducted impermissible tryouts with six women’s basketball prospective student-athletes and impermissibly observed open gyms on approximately nine occasions.
Between April and October 2009, six women’s basketball prospective student-athletes participated in tryouts that did not occur during a countable athletically related activity as required by NCAA legislation. The tryouts were held during voluntary open gym times rather than countable athletically related activities periods as required. Further, the tryouts were held during the off-season, when only two hours of mandatory countable activities can occur using a basketball. Finally, because the coaches were conducting tryouts during open gym times, their observations of the activities were impermissible.
6. Impermissible tryouts in violations of NCAA Bylaws 126.96.36.199-(e), 17.02.1, and 17.3.7
In 2009, the men’s basketball staff conducted impermissible tryouts with approximately 20 men’s basketball prospective student-athletes because the tryouts did not occur during a countable athletically related activity as required by NCAA legislation. Consequently, the men’s basketball staff impermissibly observed open gym periods.
Similar to the women’s basketball staff, the men’s basketball staff had an erroneous understanding of the tryout legislation. The men’s basketball staff conducted tryouts during the off-season open gym periods, resulting in members of the men’s basketball team exceeding two hours per week using a basketball. The activities further resulted in the men’s basketball coaching staff impermissibly observing open gym periods.
7. Unethical conduct in violation of NCAA Bylaw 10.1-(c)
During the spring of 2010, former assistant coach 1 failed to deport herself in accordance with the honesty and integrity associated with the administration of intercollegiate athletics as required by NCAA legislation when she knowingly provided impermissible inducements to Prospects 1 and 2 and Prospect 2’s coach.
At the direction of the former head coach, former assistant coach 1 arranged for $300.00 to be provided to Prospect 1.
Former assistant coach 1 acknowledged providing inducements to Prospect 2 and Prospect 2’s coach, but claimed she was unaware she was committing a violation of NCAA legislation. However, former assistant coach 1 was present for at least one educational opportunity on this topic and covered the same on her July 2009 rules certification exam.
8. Unethical conduct in violation of NCAA Bylaw 10.1-(c)
During the spring of 2010, the former head coach failed to deport himself in accordance with the honesty and integrity associated with the administration of intercollegiate athletics as required by NCAA legislation when he knowingly 1) arranged for an impermissible inducement to be provided to Prospect 1; 2) offered an impermissible inducement to Prospect 3; and provided impermissible inducements to Prospect 2 and Prospect 2’s coach.
The former head coach funneled $300.00 to Prospect 1 by arranging for student manager 1 to receive $300.00 more in financial aid than she was entitled to, then having the extra $300.00 delivered to Prospect 1.
The former head coach impermissibly offered to reimburse Prospect 3 for an online math course. The former head coach claimed he was told such loan was permissible by an associate athletics director, but the associate athletics director denied giving the information.
The former head coach provided impermissible meals and transportation to Prospect 2’s coach and impermissible lodging, meals, and transportation to Prospect 2. He did so by either personally paying for the inducements, providing funds to his staff to pay for them, or submitting bills for payment after the inducements were provided.
9. Failure to monitor and lack of institutional control in violation of NCAA Constitution 2.1.1, 2.1.2, 2.8.1, and 6.01.1
Cal State failed to exercise institutional control and monitoring in the conduct and administration of its athletics program in that the institution failed to: (a) provide adequate rules education to staff to ensure its basketball programs operated within compliance of NCAA rules; (b) properly maintain squad lists; (c) investigate potential violations of NCAA rules; and (d) properly notify student-athletes regarding renewal and nonrenewal of financial aid from the 2000-01 academic year through 2009-10.
Cal State failed to provide adequate rules education, which was evidenced by 1) the men’s and women’s basketball coaching staffs were unaware that the impermissible tryouts and observation of open-gym sessions; 2) the assistant women’s basketball coaches were unaware that student managers could not participate in practice; 3) coaches were unaware that tryouts had to occur during other countable athletically related activities; and 4) no rules education was provided to the women’s basketball assistant coaches in 2008-09 and 2009-10 relating to student managers serving as practice players.
Cal State did not maintain any squad lists during the 2005-06 academic year. For almost four years all squad lists were missing the appropriate signatures. Cal State acknowledged that it failed to track and abide by all requirements for the completion and retention of squad lists.
In April 2010, members of the athletics department administration were alerted that potential violations of NCAA legislation may have occurred during Prospect 4’s official visit. It was not until the NCAA enforcement staff requested an interview with Prospect 4 that Cal State started investigating the visit.
Cal State failed to properly notify student-athletes regarding renewal and nonrenewal of financial aid from the 2000-01 academic year through 2009-10 as all financial aid agreements issued during that time frame lacked the date and signature of the institution’s financial aid authority.
10. Secondary Violation
During the 2005-06 academic year, Cal State did not maintain squad lists for any of its sports programs. Further, from the 2006-07 through the 2009-10 academic years, the institution did not correctly maintain squad lists for all but two of its sports programs, as the document did not contain all required signatures.
As a result of the aforementioned violations, the Committee penalized Cal State as follows: