Friday, February 6, 2009

Incarnate Word penalized for basketball infractions

From the NCAA News

The NCAA Division II Committee on Infractions has penalized the University of the Incarnate Word for major violations in the school’s men’s basketball program.

Penalties, including those self-imposed by the university, include one year of probation, recruiting restrictions, scholarship reductions, a vacation of records and two-year show-cause orders for both the former head coach and former assistant coach.

This case involves a failure to monitor and unethical conduct by the former head coach, unethical conduct by the former assistant coach, and violations involving impermissible recruiting inducements and extra benefits.

Under the show-cause penalties, should the former head or assistant coach seek athletically related employment with any NCAA institution during this time period, the individuals and the hiring institution must appear before the Committee on Infractions to determine whether their duties should be limited.

From June to October 2005, the former assistant coach provided a prospective student-athlete with impermissible inducements before enrollment and extra benefits afterward in an attempt to help the young man become eligible to compete at the university. These inducements and extra benefits included a $1,000 cash loan to pay for an outstanding debt at his previous institution. Due to this outstanding debt, the previous institution had a hold on his transcript, which was needed to certify his eligibility to compete at Incarnate Word.

Among other inducements and extra benefits, the former assistant coach deposited $500 into the account of the student-athlete’s former community college coach’s bank account to pay for back rent and other expenses. The former assistant coach later lied to investigators about the extra benefits and also encouraged the student-athlete to give false and misleading information.

The former head coach also received a failure-to-monitor charge based on the violations. The committee stated in its report: “The committee in no way excuses the actions of (the former assistant coach), but finds that some responsibility for the violations falls upon the former head basketball coach. He entrusted a complicated situation to a first-year assistant coach and was aware of the difficulties the young assistant was having in getting the matter resolved, yet failed to follow up so as to assure that the situation was addressed appropriately.”

The committee also found that from 2000 to 2004, the former head basketball coach knowingly provided eight men’s basketball student-athletes with extra benefits when he gave them doses of the prescription medicine Vioxx, an anti-inflammatory drug, which he was not licensed to provide.

Further, the former head coach knowingly furnished the NCAA enforcement staff with false and misleading information about whether he provided prescription medicine to any men’s basketball student-athletes. He finally admitted to the violations after more than 10 months when he was confronted in a second interview after the enforcement staff had gathered information from the student-athletes who had received the Vioxx. The committee found that the former head coach compromised the well-being of eight student-athletes when, without any medical supervision or medical license, he dispensed the prescription medication when he felt the young men needed it.

The penalties, some of which were self-imposed by the institution and adopted by the committee, are as follows:

• Public reprimand and censure.
• One year of probation (February 5, 2009, to February 4, 2010). When determining the probation, the committee considered the substantial improvements already implemented by the university and the absence of any failure to monitor or lack of institutional control by the university, among other factors further detailed in the public report.

• Two-year show-cause order for the former head coach (February 5, 2009, to February 4, 2011).

• Two-year show-cause order for the former assistant coach (February 5, 2009, to February 4, 2011).

• Reduction in men’s basketball scholarships by one equivalency during the 2009-10 academic year. (Self-imposed by the institution.)

• Withhold one basketball coach from performing any off-campus recruiting activities for the 2008-09 recruiting cycle. (Self-imposed by the institution.)

• The university shall vacate all wins for the men’s basketball program for the games in which the student-athlete receiving recruiting inducements and extra benefits competed during the 2005-06 and 2006-07 seasons. The vacation shall apply to all regular-season, postseason and NCAA tournament games. Additionally, the university shall vacate the individual records of this student-athlete. Further, the record of the former head coach will be reconfigured to reflect the vacated wins and recorded in all publications in which basketball records for the affected seasons 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. (Self-imposed by the institution.)

The members of the NCAA Division II Committee on Infractions who reviewed this case are Wendy Taylor May, chair senior associate athletics director at UC San Diego; Bruce Kirsh, athletics director and vice president at Franklin Pierce; Jean Paul Bradshaw II, an attorney with Lathrop & Gage L.C; and Bridget Lyons, senior associate director of athletics at Barry.

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