The NCAA Committee on Infractions Has Spoken: University of Utah
The NCAA Committee on Infractions (“Committee” or “Panel”) recently issued its findings and found that the University of Utah (“Utah” or “Institution”) committed violations of NCAA legislation. This case involves impermissible coaching activity in the Utah baseball program that occurred at the head coach’s direction over three (3) years. The head coach also agreed that he failed to promote an atmosphere of compliance. 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”). COI accepted the self-imposed penalties for Utah and the head coach but proposed one (1) year of probation, which Utah accepted. Therefore, the parties do not have an opportunity to appeal.
The Committee concluded that Utah committed the following violations:
Violations of NCAA Division I Manual Bylaws 11.7.1, 11.7.3 and 11.7.6 (2014-15 through 2016-17) (Level II)
Utah, the head coach and NCAA enforcement staff agreed that during the 2014-15 through 2016-17 academic years, the head coach directed and permitted the then director of baseball operations to engage in on-field instruction and other impermissible coaching activities with baseball student-athletes. As a result, the Institution exceeded the permissible number of countable baseball coaches. Specifically, the then director of baseball operations participated in on-field coaching activities including instructing catchers, throwing batting practice and occasionally hitting baseballs for pitchers’ fielding drills during practices at the head coach’s direction. The then director of baseball operations participated in the impermissible activities occasionally during the 2014-15 academic year and regularly during the 2015-16 and 2016-17 academic years.
Violations of NCAA Bylaw 220.127.116.11 (2014-15 through 2016-17) (Level II)
Utah, the head coach and NCAA enforcement staff agreed that during the 2014-15 through 2016-17 academic years, the head coach is presumed responsible for the violations above and did not rebut the presumption of responsibility. Specifically, the head coach did not demonstrate that he promoted an atmosphere of compliance due to his personal involvement in the violations when he assigned the then director of baseball operations to catchers and permitted him to engage in impermissible on-field coaching activities during individual defensive drills. Additionally, the head coach and the baseball staff failed to report those activities as violations of NCAA legislation.
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 acknowledgment of the violation, acceptance of responsibility, and imposition of meaningful corrective measures. 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).
Aggravating Factors for the Head Coach
(a) Persons of authority condoned, participated in or negligently disregarded the violation(s) or related wrongful conduct. NCAA Bylaw 19.9.3-(h).
Mitigating Factors for the Head Coach
(a) Prompt acknowledgement and acceptance of the violations and acceptance of responsibility. NCAA Bylaw 19.9.4-(b).
(b) Absence of prior Level I/Level II violations. NCAA Bylaw 19.9.4-(h).
As a result of the foregoing, the Committee penalized Utah as follows: