NCAA lays out punishment for Southeast basketball

Wednesday, June 18, 2008

The NCAA Division I Committee on Infractions has handed down its punishments to the Southeast Missouri State University women's basketball program.

The following is a news release detailing the infractions and punishment:

"The NCAA Division I Committee on Infractions has penalized Southeast Missouri State University for major and secondary violations in its women’s and men’s basketball program.

"The case centers on recruiting violations in the women’s program, primarily involving impermissible housing, transportation and meals for prospective student-athletes who moved to the vicinity of the university in the summer before their first full-time enrollment. An additional set of violations involved men’s basketball transfer student-athletes and impermissible travel expenses. This case also includes a lack of institutional control for the university and a failure to monitor by the former head coach of women’s basketball.

"Penalties for the violations, including those self-imposed by the institution, include two years of probation, reduction in recruiting activity, vacation of records, financial penalties and reduction in the number of scholarships.

"Seven prospective student-athletes and one parent received impermissible automobile transportation from women’s basketball managers, women’s basketball student-athletes and prospective women’s basketball student-athletes. Members of the women’s basketball coaching staff arranged for the transportation. They also provided impermissible transportation to four prospects from their residence to local venues.

"Six prospects lived cost-free in an off-campus house that women’s basketball student-athletes rented occasionally over four summers. The committee noted that the women’s basketball coaching staff knew that prospects lived in the house on some occasions but made no effort to assure that they paid a commensurate share of the rent.

"In addition, members of the women’s basketball coaching staff allowed two prospects to observe or volunteer at women’s basketball summer camps and to receive free housing and meals during this time.

"The committee found that six prospects engaged in voluntary summer workouts conduct by the university’s strength and conditioning coach even though they neither had signed a National Letter of Intent nor were receiving financial aid to attend summer school.

"The case also included violations for impermissible travel expenses in the men’s basketball program. Three men’s basketball student-athletes traveled with the team and received travel expenses even though they were ineligible to compete because they were serving a year in residence. The violations occurred on multiple occasions over two academic years, and resulted in extra benefits totaling between $1,700 and $2,800 for each of the student-athletes.

"The committee stated in its report that a competitive advantage was gained as these three student-athletes not only had the opportunity to acclimate to road travel and further integrate in the team, but they also received additional coaching and practice time.

"As early as 10 years ago, the committee has warned institutions on numerous times of the elevated risk of violations when prospects are on campus before their full-time enrollment. The committee also has repeatedly emphasized that institutions must be vigilant in tracking these prospects to assure compliance with NCAA rules. This heightened attention should include rules education, procedures in place that are reasonably calculated to track prospects and to assure rules compliance, and monitoring with follow-through to assure such procedures are followed. The committee has stated that a failure to exercise such heightened vigilance demonstrates a lack of institutional control.

"It was also found that the scope and nature of the violations demonstrated that the former head women’s basketball coach failed to monitor his program to assure compliance with all NCAA rules. The former head coach knew that multiple prospects were in the vicinity of the university working in summer camps and participating in summer conditioning activities. The committee found that he failed to monitor their activities or assure that there was a system in place to monitor them. He also did not exercise his responsibility as a head coach to create and maintain an atmosphere for NCAA rules compliance in his program.

"This case involves multiple secondary violations, which are detailed further in the public report.

"In determining the penalties, the Committee on Infractions considered the university’s self-imposed penalties and corrective actions. It also considered the university’s cooperation in the investigation, its active investigation once violations were discovered, and the time involved in processing the case. In addition, the committee took into account the fact that many of the violations involved conduct about which the committee for 10 years has warned schools and athletics administrators. The penalties, some of which were self-imposed by the institution and adopted by the committee, are as follows:

•         Public reprimand and censure.

•         Two years of probation (June 18, 2008, to June 17, 2010).

•         Reduction of women’s basketball scholarships in the 2006-07 academic year from 15 to 12. (Self-imposed by institution).

•         Reduction of women’s basketball recruiting days from 85 to 80 between September 2006 and August 2007. (Self-imposed by institution).

•         Prohibition of off-campus recruiting by the former women’s basketball head coach during the July 2006 evaluation period. (Self-imposed by institution).

•         Financial penalty of $12,600 upon the men’s basketball program in the 2006-07 fiscal year. This amount is twice the value of the costs associated with the three men’s basketball student-athletes who traveled to away games. (Self-imposed by institution).

•         Reduction in the number of recruiting days in men’s basketball from 130 to 125 between September 2006 and August 2007. (Self-imposed by institution).

•         Vacation of all wins in which ineligible student-athletes competed during the 2004-05 and 2005-06 women’s basketball season. Further, the university’s records regarding women’s basketball as well as the record of the former head coach will be reconfigured to reflect the vacated wins and so recorded in all publication sin which women’s basketball records for the affected seasons and post season are reported including, but limited to, media guides, recruiting material, electronic media and institutional and NCAA archives. Finally, any public reference to those vacated contests, including the university’s appearance in the 2006 NCAA Division I Women’s Basketball Championship, shall be removed from the athletics department stationary, banners displayed in public areas and any other forum in which they appear.

"The members of the Committee on Infractions who reviewed this case are Josephine Potuto, the Richard H. Larson Professor of Constitutional Law at the University of Nebraska College of Law and chair of the committee; Paul Dee, director of athletics at the University of Miami (Florida), and formerly the institution's general counsel; Eileen Jennings, general counsel at Central Michigan University; Alfred Lechner Jr., attorney; Dennis Thomas, the commissioner of the Mid-Eastern Athletic Conference and formerly director of athletics at Hampton University; Gene Marsh, James M. Kidd Sr. Professor of Law at the University of Alabama, Tuscaloosa School of Law; Ted Leland, the vice president for advancement at the University of the Pacific, and formerly the director of athletics of, among others, Stanford University; and Andrea Meyers, athletic director emeritus at Indiana State University.


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