Complete NCAA News Release
February 12, 2009
The NCAA News
The NCAA Division II Committee on Infractions has placed Abilene Christian on two years of probation and has reduced scholarships because of major violations in the school’s track and field and football programs.
Other penalties, including those self-imposed by the university, include a vacation of records, recruiting restrictions and a financial penalty.
The case includes a failure to monitor by the university and the head track and field coach, as well as violations involving impermissible inducements, extra benefits and paid-visit violations.
Most of the violations occurred in the track and field program, with many committed by the head coach. He provided impermissible inducements to two prospective student-athletes by signing the guarantor line on their apartment leases and giving them free running shoes.
The head coach also helped organize and attended holiday parties in which 15 enrolled international student-athletes received gifts from representatives of the university’s athletics interests and other members of the local community. These gifts included such items as crock pots, radios, gift cards, perfume, socks, gloves, shirts and cash in amounts ranging from $10 to $120. The value of items received by each of the student-athletes ranged from $35 to $220.
One of the student-athletes also received $545 cash and additional benefits from a representative of the university’s athletics interests beginning when the young man was still a prospect traveling to campus for his initial enrollment.
The head coach failed to follow applicable rules and consult with the compliance office regarding the permissibility of certain activities, which was partly responsible for the impermissible inducements being provided to student-athletes. In addition, his failure to monitor his assistant coaches and certain prospects who resided on campus resulted in an atmosphere of non-compliance in the track program.
Other violations in this case occurred when members of the football coaching staff provided academic assistance to two prospects to assist them in attaining NCAA academic eligibility at the university. This assistance included allowing the young men to use the coaching staff’s office computers to complete the assignments and then mailing in the coursework to the outside institution to be graded.
Finally, the committee found the university did not monitor the living arrangements of prospective student-athletes living in on-campus housing and using the on-campus recreation facility free of charge. The committee also found the university failed to monitor the official paid visit process during one academic year.
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 (February 12, 2009 to February 11, 2011).
• The university shall vacate all wins for the football program for the games in which the student-athletes receiving academic assistance competed from the time they became ineligible in summer 2007 through the point at which they were reinstated by the NCAA. The vacation shall apply to regular-season, postseason conference or NCAA football championship competition. Additionally, the university’s records regarding football, as well as the record of the head coach at the time the vacated contests were played, will be reconfigured. This vacation will be recorded in all publications in which football records are reported, including media guides, recruiting material, electronic media and institutional and NCAA archives. Any public reference to these vacated contests should be removed from the athletics department stationary, banners displayed in public areas and any other forum in which they may appear.
• Reduction in men’s and women’s track and field scholarships to 10.5 (from 12.6) in each sport during the 2008-09 and 2009-10 academic years. (Self-imposed by the university.)
• The track and field head coach may not recruit off campus more than 12 days during the 2008-09 and 2009-10 academic years. (Self-imposed by the university.)
• Reduction in official visits for the men’s track and field program. For the 2008-09 and 2009-10 academic years, there may not be more than 21 official paid visits. Ten official visits may be taken in one academic year and 11 may be taken in the other at the university’s discretion.
• Reduction in official visits for the women’s track and field program. For the 2008-09 and 2009-10 academic years, there may not be more than 23 official paid visits. Eleven official visits may be taken in one academic year and 12 may be taken in the other at the university’s discretion.
• For football, there cannot be more than 60 official paid visits during the 2009-10 and 2010-11 academic years.
• Limit of five international student-athletes on the roster of any athletics team during the 2009-10 and 2010-11 academic years. (Self-imposed by the university.)
• The university must pay a $2,500 fine.
• Select members of the track and field and football coaching staff must attend an NCAA Regional Rules Seminar within the first year of probation.
Members of the NCAA Division II Committee on Infractions who reviewed this case are Wendy Taylor May, chair, senior associate athletics director, UC San Diego; Bruce Kirsh, athletics director and vice president, Franklin Pierce; Jean Paul Bradshaw II, attorney, Lathrop & Gage L.C; Bridget Lyons, senior associate director of athletics, Barry; and Julie Rochester, faculty athletics representative and associate professor, Northern Michigan.