Tuesday, May 10, 2016

The NCAA Committee on Infractions Has Spoken

Originally published by Christian Dennie.

The NCAA Committee on Infractions (“Committee,” “Panel,” or “COI”) recently issued its findings and found that the Gannon University (“GU” or “Institution”) committed major violations of NCAA legislation. The Committee considered this case through the cooperative summary disposition process in which all parties agree to the primary facts and violations as fully set forth in the Summary Disposition Report (“SDR”). The case involved the men’s and women’s swimming and diving head coach arranging for a men’s swimming and diving student-athlete to receive $3,000 in impermissible financial aid. He did so by increasing the aid of a women’s swimming and diving student-athlete on the condition that she funnel a portion of the aid to the men’s swimming and diving student-athlete. The head coach’s actions violated NCAA legislation pertaining to impermissible benefits, financial aid, ethical conduct and head coach responsibility. The committee concludes that the head coach committed major violations of NCAA legislation when he arranged for the impermissible financial aid.

The Committee found that GU committed the following violations of NCAA legislation:

Violations of NCAA Bylaws 15.01.2, 15.01.3 and (2015-16)

It was agreed that in August 2015, the former head coach arranged for an impermissible cash extra benefit of $3,000 to be provided to the men’s swimming student-athlete.

Specifically, in early August 2015, the former head coach made arrangements to increase the financial aid award of the women’s swimming student-athlete by $4,000 for the 2015-16 academic year, in exchange for her providing $3,000 of that increase to the men’s swimming student-athlete. On August 13, 2015, the former head coach increased the women’s swimming student-athlete’s financial aid award by signing her name on a financial award form and submitting it through the institution’s normal financial aid channels. On August 17, 2015, as arranged by the former head coach, her parents made out a check in the amount of $3,000 payable to the men’s swimming student-athlete and provided the check to their daughter, who in turn gave the check to him.

Violations of NCAA Bylaw 10.01.1, 10.1, 10.1-(c) and (2015-16)

It was agreed that the former head coach failed to deport himself in accordance with the generally recognized high standards of honesty and sportsmanship normally associated with the conduct and administration of intercollegiate athletics for his knowing involvement in the violation outlined above. Additionally, the former head coach failed to promote an atmosphere of compliance when he engaged in violations and involved two enrolled student-athletes and the parents of an enrolled student-athlete in the violation.

The Committee assessed penalties against GU and penalized GU as follows:

1.  Public reprimand and censure.

2.  The former head coach knowingly arranged for a student-athlete to receive an impermissible cash benefit. His actions violated the principles of ethical conduct and the responsibility to promote an atmosphere for rules compliance in his program. Therefore, the former head coach will be informed in writing that, due to his involvement in the violations set forth in this decision, the committee prescribes a three-year show-cause order. The show-cause period shall run from April 28, 2016, through April 27, 2019. If the former head coach becomes employed in an athletically related position at an NCAA member institution during the term of the show cause, he and the member institution shall contact the Office of the Committees on Infractions to schedule an appearance before the committee. The purpose of the appearance shall be to consider whether the member institution should be subject to the show-cause provisions of NCAA Bylaw, which could limit the former head coach’s athletically related duties at the member institution for a designated period.

For any questions, feel free to contact Christian Dennie at cdennie@bgsfirm.com.

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