The NCAA Committee on Infractions (“Committee” or “Panel” or “COI”) recently issued its findings and found that the University of South Florida (“USF” or “Institution”) committed violations of NCAA legislation. This case involved impermissible recruiting inducements in the men’s basketball program at USF and unethical conduct by a former assistant men’s basketball coach. COI considered this case through the cooperative summary disposition process in which all parties (the institution, the named individual coaches and the NCAA enforcement staff) agreed to the primary facts and violations, as fully set forth in the summary disposition report (“SDR”).
The former assistant coach ignored foundational and well-known NCAA recruiting legislation and engaged in unethical conduct. First, he knowingly provided and arranged for impermissible recruiting inducements in the form of housing, meals and transportation to two prospective student-athletes. The impermissible inducements and resulting unethical conduct for knowingly providing and arranging for the inducements are Level II violations. Second, when questioned about his recruiting activity, the former assistant coach concealed the recruiting violation during two interviews with the NCAA enforcement staff and USF. Knowingly providing false or misleading information about the impermissible inducements during the investigation compounded the case and resulted in a Level I unethical conduct violation.
The Panel accepted the parties’ factual agreements and concluded violations occurred. Because the violations occurred after October 30, 2012, the current penalty structure applies. After considering applicable aggravating and mitigating factors, the panel classifies this case as Level II-Mitigated for USF and Level I-Standard for the former assistant coach’s violations. Utilizing the current penalty guidelines, the Panel adopted and prescribed the following core penalties: $5,000 fine, scholarship reduction for the men’s basketball program, withholding of a countable coach from off-campus recruiting for 50 days and a two-year show-cause order for the former assistant coach.
The Committee concluded that USF committed the following violations:
Violations of NCAA Division I Manual Bylaws 10.1, 10.1-(c), 13.2.1, 22.214.171.124-(f), 126.96.36.199-(h) (2015-16) (Level II)
The NCAA enforcement staff, USF, and the former assistant coach agreed that in May 2016 the former assistant coach violated the NCAA principles of ethical conduct when he knowingly provided and arranged for approximately $402.00-$511.00 in impermissible recruiting inducements, in the form of housing, meals and transportation to the two prospects. Specifically, the former assistant coach knowingly provided the then prospective student-athletes two nights of hotel lodging ($185.00 value), two to five nights of lodging at the former assistant coach’s home ($73.00-$182.00 value), seven meals each ($112.00 value) and local transportation ($32.00 value), with the former assistant coach directing the special assistant to the head men’s basketball coach to provide one of the rides to the prospects.
Violations of NCAA Division I Manual Bylaws 10.01.1, 10.1 and 10.1-(d) (2015-16) (Level I)
The NCAA enforcement staff, USF, and the former assistant coach agreed that during the summer of 2016, the former assistant coach violated the NCAA principles of ethical conduct when he knowingly provided false or misleading information. Specifically, in the former assistant coach’s June 13 and July 12, 2016, interviews with the NCAA enforcement staff and USF, he provided false or misleading information when he denied providing housing, meals, transportation, or any other benefits to the two prospects, when in fact he had.
Aggravating and Mitigating Factors in accordance with NCAA Bylaws 19.9.3 and 19.9.4
Aggravating Factors for the Institution
Mitigating Factors for the Institution
(a) Prompt acknowledgement of the violation, acceptance of responsibility and imposition of meaningful corrective measures and/or penalties. NCAA Bylaw 19.9.4-(b).
(b) Affirmative steps to expedite final resolution of the matter. NCAA Bylaw 19.9.4-(c).
(c) An established history of self-reporting Level III or secondary violations. NCAA Bylaw 19.9.4-(d).
(d) Exemplary cooperation. NCAA Bylaw 19.9.4-(f).
Aggravating Factors for the Former Assistant Coach
(a) Multiple Level I and II violations by the former assistant coach. NCAA Bylaw 19.9.3-(a) & (g).
(b) Unethical conduct. NCAA Bylaw 19.9.3-(e).
Mitigating Factors for the Head Coach
As a result of the foregoing, the Committee penalized USF as follows:
1. Public reprimand and censure.
2. The Institution shall pay a $5,000 fine.
3. South Florida reduced the number of grants-in-aid in the men’s basketball program by one for the 2016-17 academic year.
4. South Florida withheld one countable coach from off-campus recruiting for 50 days (June 27, 2016, until August 16, 2016).
5. The former assistant coach was prescribed a two-year show-cause order pursuant to Bylaw 188.8.131.52.