The NCAA Division II Committee on Infractions (“Committee”) recently released its findings and found that Clark Atlanta University (“CAU”) committed major violations of NCAA legislation. At issue in this case were allegations that the assistant coach and the former volunteer coach provided impermissible extra benefits to men’s basketball student-athletes. The case also involved a failure by the former head coach to monitor the assistant and the volunteer coach, who reported directly to him. Specifically, the assistant coach and the former volunteer coach arranged for or directly provided approximately $5,500 to $6,250 in cash, an airline “buddy ticket” and meals. The case also involves the institution (CAU) allowing three student-athletes to compete while ineligible and failing to monitor its athletics program.
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 CAU committed the following violations of NCAA legislation:
1. The assistant coach and volunteer coach provided impermissible benefits to student-athletes and both the volunteer coach and the assistant coach engaged in unethical conduct in violation of NCAA Bylaws 220.127.116.11, 10.01.1, 10.1, 10.1-(c) and 10.1-(d).
The assistant coach and volunteer coach at CAU were found to have provided several men’s basketball student-athletes with extra benefits between August 2011 and March 2012. During this time period both the assistant and volunteer coaches also violated the principles of ethical conduct when they failed to deport themselves in accordance with generally recognized high standards of honesty and sportsmanship normally associated with the conduct and administration of intercollegiate athletics by (a) knowingly providing men’s basketball student-athletes extra benefits and (b) knowingly furnishing false and misleading information about their involvement in providing the extra benefits.
Volunteer Coach. The volunteer coach arranged for four men’s basketball student-athletes (“student-athletes 3, 4, 5 and 6”) to receive approximately $4,600 to $4,800 in cash between January and March 2012. In December 2011, the volunteer coach also arranged for a men’s basketball student-athlete (“student-athlete 7”) to obtain a round-trip airline ticket at a discounted price by securing a discounted “buddy” ticket through his sister, an airlines employee. The volunteer coach was also found to have used his personal funds to provide CAU’s men’s basketball team with impermissible meals following off-campus contests. During his interview with CAU and the NCAA enforcement staff, the volunteer coach denied his involvement in providing the extra benefits when in fact he had.
Assistant Coach. In December 2011 the assistant coach obtained one of the men’s basketball student-athlete’s (“student-athlete 2”) personal identification number from CAU’s registrar’s office and provided it to the student-athlete. This personal identification number allows student-athlete 2 to register for courses in a manner outside CAU’s established procedures for student registration to remain eligible for practice and competition. The assistant coach knowingly lied to the NCAA enforcement staff when he denied his involvement in providing student-athlete 2 with the personal identification number.
2. The institution (CAU) allowed three student-athletes to practice, compete, and receive travel expenses while ineligible in violation of NCAA Bylaws 18.104.22.168, 14.2, 14.2.2, 14.5.1, 22.214.171.124, 14.11.1 and 126.96.36.199.
During the 2010-11 and 2011-12 academic years three of CAU’s student-athletes competed while ineligible.
Student-athlete 1 was a four-year college transfer that competed in intercollegiate tennis matches during the 2010-11 season, even though she had not served a year of residence at the institution. Further, student-athlete 1 had previously engaged in four seasons of intercollegiate competition and thus exhausted her eligibility. The institution knew or should have known that student-athlete 1 was ineligible to compete as a result of disciplinary suspension and having previously participated in four seasons of competition; however, it did not withhold her.
Student-athletes 2 and 8 were enrolled in less than a full-time program of studies during the spring semester of 2012 in that three of their 12 semester hours were for courses for which they previously received academic transfer credit. These two student-athletes practiced for approximately nine weeks and competed in 23 men’s basketball contests while ineligible. On February 6, 2012 CAU’s athletic administrators learned that student-athlete 2 was not properly enrolled as a full-time student and was ineligible for practice and competition but failed to withhold him from practice and competition.
3. The institution failed to monitor the men’s basketball and women’s tennis programs and the head basketball coach failed to monitor his assistant coaches in violation of NCAA Bylaw 188.8.131.52 and NCAA Constitution 2.8.1.
The scope and nature of the violations in this case demonstrate that the institution failed to monitor it’s men’s basketball and women’s tennis programs in that the institution failed to assure that (a) its men’s basketball coaches were operating the program in compliance with NCAA legislation and (b) its men’s basketball and women’s tennis student- athletes were eligible for competition. Further, the institution failed to ensure that a violation was properly reported to the NCAA enforcement staff. The men’s head basketball coach also failed to monitor whether the activities of his assistant coaches were in compliance with NCAA legislation.
As a result of the aforementioned violations, the Committee penalized CAU as follows:
1. Public reprimand and censure.
2. Three years of probation from January 24, 2014, through January 23, 2017.
3. The institution shall pay a fine of $5,000 to the Association.
4. All men’s basketball coaches will be required to attend NCAA sponsored training around issues dealing with rules compliance.
5. The men’s basketball program will be limited to nine total grants-in-aid for the 2014-15 academic year.
6. The institution shall vacate all wins, statistics, and records in which student-athletes 2, 3, 4, 5, 6 and 7 participated from the time they became ineligible through the time their eligibility was reinstated. The record of the basketball team as well as the head coach should also reflect these vacated results.
7. Revocation of 2011 SIAC Championship for women’s tennis.
8. The women’s tennis team shall be limited to four total grants-in-aid for the 2014-15 academic year.
9. The institution shall vacate all wins, statistics, and records in which student-athlete 1 participated from the time she became ineligible through the time her eligibility was reinstated.
Head Basketball Coach
10. The committee prescribes a one-year show-cause order for the conduct of the head coach which begins on January 24, 2014 and ends January 23, 2015. The head coach shall also attend an NCAA Regional rules seminar.
Basketball Assistant Coach
11. The committee prescribes a two-year show-cause order for the conduct of the assistant coach which begins on January 24, 2014 and ends January 23, 2016. The assistant coach shall also attend an NCAA Regional rules seminar. He shall also attend ethics training and an NCAA Regional Rules Seminar and shall have no involvement in academic scheduling, registration, or advising.
12. The committee prescribes a one-year show-cause order for the conduct of the volunteer coach which begins on January 24, 2014 and ends January 23, 2015. The assistant coach shall also attend ethics training an NCAA Regional rules seminar. For the full term of the show-cause order, the volunteer coach will personally meet with the compliance office following every away-from-home contest and file a written accounting of all funds he spent from the time the team departed campus until its return.