FOR RELEASE: Tuesday, March 28, 1995, 12:30 p.m. (Central time)
CONTACT: David Swank, Chair, NCAA Committee on Infractions
University of Oklahoma
OVERLAND PARK, KANSAS---This report is organized as follows:
II. Findings of violations of NCAA legislation.
III. Committee on Infractions penalties.
This case involved the football and baseball programs at Washington State University and primarily concerned violations of NCAA bylaws governing student-athlete eligibility and satisfactory progress, institutional responsibility to investigate and report violations, and institutional control. The NCAA Committee on Infractions reviewed this case during its February 1995 meeting.
Washington State University is a Division I-A institution and a member of the Pacific-10 Conference. The university has an enrollment of approximately 17,000 students and sponsors seven men's and 10 women's intercollegiate sports.
An earlier case involving Washington State University was handled by the NCAA Committee on Infractions through the summary-disposition process after the Pacific-10 Conference found violations at the university and imposed penalties. On March 3, 1994, the Committee on Infractions released an infractions report for violations of NCAA legislation for this previous case. The violations included: granting tuition waivers to student-athletes inconsistent with the institution's policy; paying wages and granting tuition waivers to student-athletes for work that was not performed; granting financial aid awards in excess of NCAA limits by excluding the value of nonresident tuition waivers for equivalency [Page 2] calculations; providing funds to a redshirt student-athlete; providing financial aid to and permitting practice and competition by a student-athlete who did not meet NCAA initial-eligibility requirements; requiring athletically related activities by baseball student-athletes in excess of weekly NCAA limits; and not informing student-athletes whose athletics aid was gradated of their right to a hearing. The committee also found a lack of institutional control in the monitoring of the athletically related employment of student-athletes, the granting of nonresident tuition waivers and the awarding of financial aid.
In March 1994, the Committee on Infractions imposed the following penalties, which were assessed by the conference: one-year ban on postseason competition in baseball and men's track and field; forfeiture of the 1985 and 1991 conference team championships in track and field; and adoption of penalties self-imposed by the institution that reduced grants-in-aid in baseball and men's cross country and track and field. These self-imposed grant-in-aid penalties reduced for four years the maximum number of equivalency grants by three each year for cross country and track and field and by 1.5 each year for baseball. The committee also: placed the university on NCAA probation for three years, beginning on June 21, 1992, the date that the institution was placed on probation by the Pacific-10 Conference; required the continued development of a comprehensive compliance educational program and annual reports to the committee; and required the institution to vacate team standings in baseball and men's cross country and track and field, if any, in NCAA championship play in which ineligible student-athletes participated during the 1988-89 through 1991-92 academic years. The institution also was subject to the provisions of NCAA repeat-violator legislation for a five-year period beginning on June 21, 1992.
The provisions of NCAA Bylaw 22.214.171.124, concerning repeat violators, apply to the present case since the violations in Finding No. II-A of this report occurred in the fall of 1992 and the Committee on Infractions, at the request of the institution during the earlier case, retroactively began the start of the probationary period and the five-year repeat-violator rule on June 21, 1992. If the institution had not requested that the repeat-violator rule begin on June 21, 1992, the rule would not have applied to this case because the violations occurred prior to March 3, 1994, which would have been the beginning date of the five-year period. Bylaw 126.96.36.199 lists minimum penalties for repeat violators, subject to exceptions authorized by the Committee on Infractions for specifically stated reasons.
The Committee on Infractions decided not to impose the minimum penalties for repeat violators as a result of the violations in this case for several reasons. Even though the current case is a major infractions case, the limited violations did not warrant such significant penalties. In addition, the university self-reported the violations to the Pacific-10 Conference in the spring of 1994 and took significant corrective actions in response to the violations. Further, the purpose of the repeat-violator rule is to place institutions involved in major infractions cases on notice that further violations will result in [Page 3] significant penalties. In this case, the violations occurred prior to the committee's decision in the earlier case.
Nevertheless, since the violations were not reported when they occurred or when senior athletics administrators possessed information indicating violations had occurred, this case presented a significant issue regarding institutional control.
A. CASE CHRONOLOGY.
The violations in this report surfaced in April 1994 when a former head men's track and field coach notified the university's legal counsel that the institution had used an ineligible football player. Shortly thereafter, the university self-reported to the Pacific-10 Conference that a staff member knowingly certified an ineligible football student-athlete for the 1992 football season. The institution and the conference conducted several interviews. On May 25, 1994, the university submitted a report to the conference concerning the results of its inquiry.
The conference's compliance and enforcement committee reviewed the report. The Pacific-10 council approved it on June 15, and the conference chief executive officers ratified it on June 16.
The information in the report was forwarded to the NCAA enforcement staff on July 1, 1994. On August 9, the enforcement staff sent a letter of preliminary inquiry to the institution. During October, the enforcement staff conducted several interviews on and off the institution's campus. On November 9, a letter of official inquiry was sent to the institution, the former director of compliance and eligibility, the former director of athletics and the senior associate director of athletics, all of whom were involved in this case. The institution and these three individuals were provided an opportunity to submit responses to the Committee on Infractions and to review all relevant information in the possession of the NCAA enforcement staff.
The enforcement staff held prehearing conferences with the former director of athletics on January 12, 1995, with the institution on January 13, with the former director of compliance and eligibility on January 18, and with the senior associate director of athletics on January 23.
On February 4, 1995, representatives of the NCAA enforcement staff, the institution and the Pacific-10 Conference appeared at a hearing before the Committee on Infractions. The former director of compliance and eligibility, the former director of athletics and the senior associate director of athletics involved in this case were also present. [Page 4]
B. SUMMARY OF THE FINDINGS OF VIOLATIONS.
Violations found by the committee were as follows:
The institution improperly certified as eligible for competition a football student-athlete who had not met NCAA satisfactory-progress requirements and permitted this student-athlete to compete in eight games while ineligible.
The institution failed to report to the conference or NCAA that this football student-athlete had competed while ineligible even though three senior athletics administrators were aware of the violations or had information raising the possibility of violations which should have led to a thorough investigation.
The institution lacked appropriate institutional control over its athletics eligibility certification process as evidenced by the failure of senior athletics administrators to report known violations of NCAA rules.
The institution also lacked institutional control as evidenced by its misinterpretation of NCAA satisfactory-progress legislation on several occasions.
C. SUMMARY OF THE PENALTIES.
In imposing the following penalties, the Committee on Infractions considered the corrective actions taken by the university and the penalties imposed by the Pacific-10 Conference, as detailed in Parts III-A and B of this report.
The committee imposed the following penalties:
Public reprimand and censure.
Extension of the university's current NCAA probation by two years.
Reduction by at least two in the number of permissible initial financial aid awards in football during the 1995-96 academic year. Regardless of the number of initial scholarships, the number of total financial aid awards may not exceed 83.
Requirement that the institution continue to develop a comprehensive athletics compliance education program, with annual reports to the committee during the period of probation.
Recertification of current athletics policies and practices. [Page 5]
II. FINDINGS OF VIOLATIONS OF NCAA LEGISLATION.
A. IMPROPER CERTIFICATION OF AND PARTICIPATION IN ATHLETICS COMPETITION BY A STUDENT-ATHLETE AND FAILURE BY THE INSTITUTION TO REPORT KNOWN VIOLATIONS. [NCAA CONSTITUTION 2.7.1, AND BYLAWS 14.12.1 AND 188.8.131.52]
Prior to the beginning of the 1992-93 academic year, the institution's director of compliance and eligibility certified a football student-athlete as eligible for competition during the 1992-93 academic year even though he had not met the requirements of NCAA satisfactory-progress legislation. As a result of this improper certification, the student-athlete competed in eight games during the 1992 football season while he was ineligible. Although the director of compliance and eligibility was aware of the improper certification and ineligible participation, she failed to report the violations to the university, the conference or the NCAA.
In the spring of 1993, the university failed to report that the student-athlete had competed while ineligible. Senior members of the athletics administration did not satisfy the responsibilities of NCAA membership when they did not take the appropriate steps necessary to investigate or report the violations. In late March or early April, an academic services director informed the senior associate director of athletics of the student-athlete's improper certification and competition while ineligible. Approximately one week later, during a conversation between the institution's director of athletics at that time and the senior associate director of athletics, a general discussion about the director of compliance and eligibility occurred. It is in dispute whether the senior associate director of athletics told the director of athletics about the director of compliance and eligibility's improper certification and the improper competition by an ineligible student-athlete. Nevertheless, the senior associate director of athletics knew about the violations and should have taken more deliberate actions in reporting the information to the director of athletics. As a result of this conversation, the director of athletics either knew about the violations or had sufficient information to require a more thorough investigation of the situation. Regardless of the extent of the conversation, neither individual investigated this matter or reported it to the conference or NCAA. The senior associate director of athletics did not confront the director of compliance and eligibility about this situation until her annual performance evaluation in October 1993. The university did not self-report the violations until April 14, 1994, when a coach from another sport reported the information to the university's legal counsel. [Page 6]
B. LACK OF INSTITUTIONAL CONTROL. [NCAA CONSTITUTION 2.1.1, 2.1.2 AND 6.01.1, AND BYLAWS 184.108.40.206 AND 14.5.5]
The institution exhibited a lack of institutional control in its athletics eligibility certification process as evidenced by the failure of senior athletics administrators to report known violations of NCAA rules. Further, lack of appropriate institutional control resulted in the misinterpretation of NCAA satisfactory-progress legislation on several occasions.
The university lacked institutional control when it did not report known violations of NCAA rules, as described in Finding No. II-A, to the Pacific-10 Conference or the NCAA. Three senior administrators in the athletics department failed to take the appropriate steps to either investigate or report the violations of NCAA satisfactory-progress and eligibility legislation. This improper certification and ineligible competition resulted in part from the fact that the university's compliance director, rather than the registrar, was the final authority regarding the eligibility certification of student-athletes. Although the university has improved its procedures and now places final authority with the registrar, the university lacked appropriate institutional control over the certification of student-athletes when the violations occurred.
The following situations indicate that the institution lacked an adequate system of checks and balances in its certification process that would have ensured appropriate satisfactory-progress decisions and notification of the appropriate institutional officials.
1. During the 1991 football season, a student-athlete competed while ineligible because the institution misinterpreted satisfactory-progress legislation. The student-athlete was certified on the basis of the missed-term exception, even though the exception was not available to him because he enrolled as a full-time student for a portion of the 1991 spring term.
2. During the 1993 fall baseball season, the head baseball coach allowed a baseball student-athlete to compete in two scrimmages against outside competition, even though the student-athlete had been declared ineligible by the institution's compliance officer because he had not met satisfactory-progress requirements. The head baseball coach was not aware that the student-athlete was ineligible.
3. In the 1994 spring semester, the institution misinterpreted the one-time transfer exception. As a result, the baseball student-athlete involved in Part III-B-2 competed in nine contests while ineligible. [Page 7]
III. COMMITTEE ON INFRACTIONS PENALTIES.
For the reasons set forth in Parts I and II of this report, the Committee on Infractions found that this case involved several major violations of NCAA legislation.
A. CORRECTIVE ACTIONS TAKEN BY THE UNIVERSITY.
In determining the appropriate penalties to impose, the committee considered the institution's self-imposed corrective actions. Specifically, the university:
1. Removed the director of compliance and eligibility from her position in the athletics department and reassigned her to other duties at the university.
2. Issued a written reprimand to the senior associate director of athletics and removed the compliance and academic units from her supervisory responsibilities.
3. Created a compliance committee to instill the concept of "shared responsibility" for compliance in all relevant areas at the institution.
4. Appointed the registrar as the final authority in student-athlete certification.
B. PENALTIES IMPOSED BY THE PACIFIC-10 CONFERENCE.
The Committee on Infractions acknowledged the following penalties imposed by the Pacific-10 Conference:
1. The institution was publicly reprimanded and censured.
2. The institution's probation, scheduled to conclude on June 21, 1995, was extended for two years to June 21, 1997.
3. The institution was required to show cause why it should not receive additional penalties if it did not reassign the director of compliance and eligibility to employment outside, rather than within, the department of athletics.
4. A conference compliance team, selected by the commissioner and chair of the Compliance and Enforcement Committee, was directed to, at the expense of the institution, make an on-campus analysis of the institution's eligibility-certification process during the 1994 fall semester. The institution was required to implement any specific recommendations made by the compliance team. [Page 8]
5. The conference office was directed to conduct annual spring compliance reviews during the period of probation, with emphasis on the eligibility-certification process.
6. The institution was required to show cause why it should not receive additional penalties if, based upon the conference office report of the 1995 spring compliance review, the Compliance and Enforcement Committee concludes that the university has not implemented the measures required by the conference compliance review team.
7. The institution's faculty athletics representative, director of athletics, senior woman administrator, assistant director of athletics for compliance and academics, and any other individuals involved in compliance processes and designated by the institution's president were required to attend both an NCAA and a Pacific-10 Conference compliance seminar annually during the institution's probationary period.
8. The requirement, imposed by the NCAA in March 1994 as a result of the previous infractions case, that the institution develop and implement a comprehensive education program was extended for the additional two years of the conference probation. Annual progress reports were required to be filed with the conference office by July 1 of each year of the remaining three-year probationary period.
C. PENALTIES IMPOSED BY THE COMMITTEE ON INFRACTIONS.
The Committee on Infractions accepted the actions taken by the institution and conference and imposed the following additional penalties:
1. Public reprimand and censure.
2. Two years of probation from June 21, 1995, the date the university's current probationary period expires.
3. During the 1995-96 academic year, the institution shall be limited to at least two fewer initial athletically related financial aid awards in football that are countable under Bylaw 15.02.3. This is a reduction from 25 to no more than 23 under current rules. Regardless of the number of initial scholarships awarded, the institution shall not exceed 83 total financial aid awards during the 1995-96 academic year.
4. During this period of probation, the institution shall:
a. Continue to develop and implement a comprehensive educational program on NCAA legislation, including seminars and testing, to instruct the coaches, the faculty athletics representative, all athletics [Page 9] department personnel, and all university staff members with responsibility for the certification of student-athletes for admission, retention or competition;
b. File with the committee's administrator annual compliance reports indicating the progress made with this program by July 1 of each year during the probationary period. In addition to the areas identified in Penalty No. III-D-3 of Infractions Report No. 100, particular emphasis should be placed on the certification of student-athlete eligibility and the process for self-reporting violations. The reports must also include documentation of the university's compliance with the penalties imposed by the committee and the conference.
5. The institution's president shall recertify that all of the university's current athletics policies and practices conform to all requirements of NCAA regulations.
As required by NCAA legislation for any institution involved in a major infractions case, Washington State University shall be subject to the provisions of NCAA Bylaw 220.127.116.11, concerning repeat violators, for a five-year period beginning on March 28, 1995.
Should Washington State University appeal either the findings or penalties in this case to the NCAA Infractions Appeals Committee, the Committee on Infractions will submit a response to the members of the appeals committee. This response may include additional information in accordance with Bylaw 32.10.5. A copy of the report will be provided to the institution prior to the appearance before the appeals committee.
The Committee on Infractions wishes to advise the institution that it should take every precaution to ensure that the terms of the penalties are observed. The committee will monitor the penalties during their effective periods, and any action contrary to the terms of any of the penalties or any additional violations shall be considered grounds for extending the institution's probationary period, as well as imposing more severe sanctions in this case.
Should any portion of any of the penalties in this case be set aside for any reason other than by appropriate action of the Association, the penalties [Page 10] shall be reconsidered by the Committee on Infractions. Should any actions by NCAA Conventions directly or indirectly modify any provision of these penalties or the effect of the penalties, the committee reserves the right to review and reconsider the penalties.
NCAA COMMITTEE ON INFRACTIONS
Jack H. Friedenthal
Roy F. Kramer
Frederick B. Lacey
Beverly E. Ledbetter
James L. Richmond
Yvonne (Bonnie) L. Slatton
David Swank (chair)