The NCAA Committee on Infractions Has Spoken: Wilmington University (Division II)April 29, 2020
NCAA Moves Forward with Approval to Create Legislation relating to Name, Image, and LikenessMay 6, 2020
The NCAA Division II Committee on Infractions (“COI” or “Committee”) is an independent administrative body comprised of individuals from the NCAA Division II membership and the public charged with deciding infractions cases involving member institutions and their staffs. This case centered on the actions of a former head women’s swimming coach at Millersville University of Pennsylvania (“MU” or “Millersville”). The former head women’s swimming coach (head coach) engaged in unethical conduct when he knowingly made an impermissible payment to a prospective student-athlete, who is now a student- athlete, through a wire transfer to the prospect’s mother. He also violated head coach responsibility legislation through his direct involvement in the violation.
The COI considered this case through the cooperative summary disposition process, in which all parties agreed to the primary facts and violations as fully set forth in the summary disposition report (“SDR”). The COI proposed additional penalties for Millersville, including a probationary period, and a show-cause order for the head coach. Millersville contested the COI’s proposed one- year probation. Following an expedited penalty hearing, the COI affirmed the probation, thus Millersville may appeal that penalty. The head coach accepted the proposed show-cause order. Therefore, he does not have the opportunity to appeal.
The Committee concluded that MU committed the following violations:
Violations of NCAA Division II Manual Bylaws 10.01.1, 10.1, 10.1-(c), 13.2.1, 13.2.2-(e), 14.11.1, 15.01.2 and 15.01.3 (2016-17); 16.8.1 (2016-17 through 2018-19); and 14.12.1 (2017-18 and 2018-19)
The parties agree that the head coach violated the principles of ethical conduct when, on August 22, 2016, he knowingly provided an impermissible inducement and impermissible financial aid in the amount of $3,000 to the mother of a then prospect. Specifically, the head coach sent a wire transfer of $3,000 from his club swim team funds to the prospect’s mother so she could pay an outstanding institutional tuition bill allowing the prospect to enroll in classes. The bill resulted from an error in the scholarship amount the head coach promised the prospect during her recruitment to the institution. As a result of the impermissible inducement and financial aid, the prospect, who became a student-athlete, subsequently participated in 39 dates of competition and received actual and necessary expenses while ineligible.
Violations of NCAA Division II Manual Bylaws 126.96.36.199 (2016-17 through 2018-19)
The parties agree that, beginning August 2016, the head coach is presumed responsible for the violations detailed above and did not rebut the presumption. Specifically, the head coach did not demonstrate that he promoted an atmosphere for compliance due to his personal involvement in the violation.
As a result of the foregoing, the Committee penalized MU as follows:
- Public reprimand and censure through the release of the public infractions decision.
- Probation: One year of probation from April 10, 2020, through April 9, 2021. As set forth in the contested penalties section, the COI has prescribed one-year probationary periods in previous cases involving similar ethical conduct, head coach responsibility.
- During this period of probation, Millersville shall: (a) Continue to develop and implement a comprehensive compliance and educational program on NCAA legislation to instruct coaches, the faculty athletics representative, all athletics department personnel and all institutional staff members with responsibility for ensuring compliance with NCAA legislation on certification and recruiting; (b) Submit a preliminary report to the Office of the Committees on Infractions (OCOI) by May 30, 2020, setting forth a schedule for establishing this compliance and educational program; (c) File with the OCOI a final compliance report indicating the progress made with this program by February 15, 2021. Particular emphasis shall be placed on rules education and monitoring related to benefits, eligibility, head coach responsibility and ethical conduct legislation; (d) Inform women’s swimming prospects in writing that Millersville is on probation for one year and detail the violations committed. If a prospect takes an official paid visit, the information regarding violations, penalties and terms of probation must be provided in advance of the visit. Otherwise, the information must be provided before a prospect signs a National Letter of Intent; and (e) Inform women’s swimming prospects in writing that Millersville is on probation for one year and detail the violations committed. If a prospect takes an official paid visit, the information regarding violations, penalties and terms of probation must be provided in advance of the visit. Otherwise, the information must be provided before a prospect signs a National Letter of Intent; an
- Financial penalty: The institution shall pay a fine of $2,500.
- Vacation of records. Millersville acknowledged ineligible participation by one women’s swimming student-athlete as the result of the violation in this case. Therefore, pursuant to Bylaws 19.5.2-(g), the institution shall vacate all regular season and conference tournament wins, records and participation in which the ineligible student-athlete competed from the time she became ineligible through the time she was reinstated as eligible for competition. The individual records of the ineligible student-athlete shall also be vacated during the time she competed while ineligible. However, the individual records and any awards for all eligible student-athletes shall be retained. Further, the institution’s records regarding its women’s swimming programs, as well as the records of the head coach, shall reflect the vacated records and shall be recorded in all publications in which such records are reported, including, but not limited to, institutional media guides, recruiting material, electronic and digital media plus institutional, conference and NCAA archives. (Self-imposed.) Any institutions that may subsequently hire the head coach shall similarly reflect the vacated wins in his career records documented in media guides and other publications cited above. The head coach may not count the vacated wins toward specific honors or victory “milestones” such as 100th, 200th or 500th career victories. Any public reference to the vacated contests shall be removed from the athletics department stationary, banners displayed in public areas and any other forum in which they may appear. Any trophies awarded by the NCAA in these sports shall be returned to the Association.
- Show-cause order. The head coach agreed that he engaged in unethical conduct when he knowingly violated NCAA legislation by providing an impermissible $3,000 recruiting inducement and financial aid to a then prospect and now a current student-athlete, through the student-athlete’s mother. Further, the head coach’s direct involvement in this violation demonstrated that he failed to promote an atmosphere for compliance in his program. Therefore, the COI prescribes a three-year show-cause order pursuant to NCAA Bylaw 188.8.131.52. The show-cause period shall run from April 10 2020, through April 9, 2023. Should the head coach become employed at a member institution during the term the show cause is in effect, within 30 days of his hiring, that employing institution shall contact the OCOI to make arrangements to show cause why restrictions on his athletically related duties should not apply. The COI has prescribed show-cause periods of two or three years in previous cases involving similar head coach misconduct. See Saint Leo (prescribing a two-year show-cause order as the result of the head women’s volleyball coach’s provision of impermissible housing and book payments to a student-athlete); West Liberty (prescribing a two-year show-cause order as the result of the head men’s soccer coach provision of impermissible tuition payments to two student-athletes); and Gannon (prescribing a three-year show-cause order as the result of the head men’s swimming coach arranging an impermissible cash benefit of $3,000 for a men’s swimming student-athlete).