The NCAA Committee on Infractions (“Committee”) recently issued its findings and found that Wingate University (“WU”) committed major violations of NCAA legislation. The violations in this case center on the former head women’s basketball coach. She knowingly committed violations of the extra benefit legislation when she provided a total of $160.00 on seven separate occasions to four student-athletes. Further, she provided another student-athlete (“student-athlete 1”) with prescription drugs at no charge. The former head coach also committed a violation of recruiting legislation when she paid half of the enrollment deposit fee for student-athlete 1 while she was still a prospect. 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 WU committed the following violations of NCAA legislation:
Impermissible Inducement and Extra Benefits Provided to Student-Athlete 1 in violation of NCAA Bylaws 13.2.1, 13.2.2(e), and 22.214.171.124.
In April 2012, the parents of two women’s basketball student-athletes reported possible NCAA rules violations to WU’s director of athletics. The primary concern shared was that the former head coach had provided prescription drugs without a license to student-athlete 1. Subsequently, an investigation ensued.
Every incoming student at WU is required to pay a $300.00 enrollment fee. Student-athlete 1 was required to pay her deposit prior to June 1, 2011 in advance of her full-time enrollment for the 2011-12 academic year. Student-athlete 1 and her mother made an unofficial visit to campus on May 2011 and were told of the enrollment fee. Student-athlete 1’s mother responded that she could not afford the full amount by June 1st, but could pay $150.00 by that date. The former head coach decided to provide half of the fee and deduct the amount from the earnings student-athlete 1 would be paid for working at a team camp in mid-June.
The former head coach then obtained a money order in the amount of $150.00 from the bank, wrote student-athlete 1’s identifying information on it, and presented the money order to WU’s business office on May 31, 2011. Student-athlete 1’s family delivered a $150.00 payment to the business office the following day.
Following student-athlete 1’s enrollment, she received an extra benefit by receiving cost-free prescription drugs. Student-athlete 1 sustained a hip injury during the 2010-11 academic year at her former institution. Following her transfer to WU, she continued to have paid and, thus, was prescribed an anti-inflammatory. When she finished the medication provided, she was still in pain and complained to the former head coach. While waiting for a re-file, the former head coach provided student-athlete 1 with between seven and ten prescription pain relief pills that were left over from the former head coach’s surgery that occurred in 2009. The former head coach is not licensed to prescribe or distribute prescription medication.
Impermissible Extra Benefits in violation of NCAA Bylaws 126.96.36.199, 188.8.131.52, and 184.108.40.206(a).
On seven separate occasions during the 2010-11 and 2011-12 academic years, the former head coach provided cash to four student-athletes. She provided a total amount of $160.00 in cash. Student-athlete 2 did not have enough money to drive home during the holiday break and, thus, she explained the situation to the former head coach. The former head coach then advanced her $80.00 from the anticipated per diem the student-athletes were to receive once they returned to campus for practice in January, prior to the second semester classes beginning. The former head coach did not determine if student-athlete 2’s family could provide the gas money before she advanced the funds to student-athlete 2. The former head coach provided $100.00 per diem money to all team members except student-athlete 2, who was given $20.00.
The former head coach also admitted that she provided gas money to student-athletes who made the approximately fifty-eight mile round-trip drive to her home from team functions or provided other local transportation. One of those who received payment was student-athlete 2, who was given $10.00 for driving other team members from campus to the former head coach’s home for a team function during the 2011-12 academic year.
On two separate occasions during the 2010-11 academic year, the former head coach hosted meals for recruits at her home during official paid visit weekends. On each occasion, she provided gas money to the student-athletes who transported other team members to her home for the meals. On the first occasion, the former head coach provided $20.00 to the student-athlete who drove while, on the second occasion, she gave $10.00 to the driver.
On three separate occasions over the 2010-11 and 2011-12 academic years, the former head coach gave a total of $40.00 to another women’s basketball student-athlete (“student-athlete 3”) who provided transportation for other team members. On October 14, 2010, student-athlete 3 received $20.00 for driving team members to a local high school for a preseason workout. The other two instances occurred during 2011-12. On the first instance, the former head coach met student-athlete 3 at a local gas station and purchased $10 worth of gas for her so that student-athlete 3 could transport team members to the former head coach’s home for a team function. On a later occasion, the former head coach gave student-athlete 3 $10.00 for transporting team members from campus to the former head coach’s home.
Unethical Conduct and Failure to Promote an Atmosphere for Compliance in violation of NCAA Bylaws 10.01.1, 10.1, 10.1(c), 10.1(d), 10.1(f), and 220.127.116.11.
The unethical conduct in this case involved the former head coach’s provision of anti-inflammatory prescription drugs to student-athlete 1 and asking student-athlete 1 to not divulge the provision of the drugs. Those activities also established a failure to promote an atmosphere for compliance in the women’s basketball program, as did the former head coach failing to report known violations she was committing to WU and failing to check with the compliance office to determine whether her actions were permissible under NCAA legislation.
As a result of the aforementioned violations, the Committee penalized WU as follows:
1. Public reprimand and censure.
2. One year of probation from May 8, 2013 through May 7, 2014.
3. WU will vacate all wins in which student-athlete 1 competed during the 2011-12 academic year, including all regular season and conference tournament wins and the women’s basketball team’s appearance in the 2012 Division II Basketball Championships.
4. WU shall pay a fine of $5,000.00 to the NCAA.
5. The former head coach received a two-year show-cause penalty.