NCAA penalty erases 44 SEMO wins

Thursday, June 19, 2008
AARON EISENHAUER ~ Southeast Missouri State University athletic director Don Kaverman answers questions during a press conference regarding NCAA penalties on the basketball program.

Wednesday could have been worse for Southeast Missouri State University's women's basketball program.

The penalties announced by the NCAA Committee on Infractions included a two-year vacating of records for the program, half of the amount the committee said it would impose in correspondence to the university in October.

But the period of the penalty does include 2005-2006 season, during which Southeast won the first of two consecutive Ohio Valley Conference tournament championships and made its first NCAA tournament appearance. It also includes the 2004-2005 season but does not include the first two years of B.J. Smith's four-year stint as coach.

"We are concerned about the vacation of records, and we will be reviewing our options regarding that additional sanction over the next two weeks," Southeast president Dr. Ken Dobbins said Wednesday.

The university has until July 3 to make an appeal through the NCAA process.

The penalty wipes out the 44 victories over those two seasons, meaning the university must change the records in media guides and recruiting material and that any reference to the NCAA tournament appearance must be removed from athletics department stationery and public banners. OVC commissioner Dr. Jon Steinbrecher said the university also would lose its claim to the OVC championship in 2005-2006, unless it successfully appeals.

Dobbins said the university, which had implemented a number of self-imposed sanctions in June 2006 based on a preliminary report that outlined the violations, also agreed with the committee's decision to impose a two-year probationary period for the women's basketball program, which began Tuesday.

The NCAA's public infractions report on the investigation was more detailed on the violations than the preliminary report put together by a consulting firm, The Compliance Group, on behalf of the university and the conference, but it essentially covered much of the same ground.

Southeast was cited for recruiting violations of impermissible transportation in 11 instances from the summer months of 2004 and 2005, impermissible housing in seven instances over three summers from 2003 to 2005, inappropriate use of a staff member's computer by a prospective student-athlete and inappropriate participation by prospects in summer workouts during two summers.

"The scope and nature of the violations detailed demonstrate that the former head coach failed to monitor the women's basketball program to assure compliance with all applicable NCAA rules," said the report, which also cited a lack of institutional control for failure to monitor the women's summer program and audit the travel records for the men's team.

The men's program was cited for allowing three student-athletes who had transferred to the university but were not yet eligible to play to travel with the team during the 2004-2005 and 2005-2006 seasons. The university paid a $12,600 fine — twice the amount of the travel costs incurred — during the 2006-2007 fiscal year.

The violations against the men's program had been part of the preliminary report, which came four months into a 29-month process that began with the university asking the OVC in February 2006 to assist in investigating allegations made by former assistant coach Kevin Emerick, according to documents released by the university.

The university and Smith appeared before the NCAA Committee on Infractions two months ago as part of a full hearing process.

"We're appreciative of the fact the committee listened to what we had to say at our hearing in Indianapolis," Southeast athletic director Don Kaverman said.

He added the university has taken corrective actions to educate coaches and improve oversight of the athletic programs.

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