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The NCAA Committee on Infractions Has Spoken: Grambling State University

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Written by Christian Dennie   
Tuesday, 08 August 2017 20:50

The NCAA Committee on Infractions (“Committee” or “Panel” or “COI”) recently issued its findings and found that Grambling State University (“GSU” or “Institution”) committed violations of NCAA legislation.  This case involved five Level II violations at GSU.  Generally, those violations fell into two categories: (1) improper certifications and (2) well-intentioned but incautious recruiting violations in the women's track program. COI considered this case through the cooperative summary disposition process in which all parties (the institution, the named individual coaches and the NCAA enforcement staff) agreed to the primary facts and violations, as fully set forth in the summary disposition report (“SDR”). Based on the current penalty guidelines to prescribe appropriate penalties, the Panel proposed additional penalties to the Institution and the assistant and head track coaches. The coaches accepted the additional penalties related to their conduct, therefore they do not have an opportunity to appeal. The Institution, via written submission to the Panel, challenged its additional penalties. After considering the Institution's submission, the Panel determined the penalties are appropriate and consistent with the penalty guidelines and past cases. The Institution has the opportunity to appeal the penalties.

The Committee concluded that GSU committed the following violations:

Violations of NCAA Division I Manual Bylaws 12.1.1.1.3 and 12.1.1.1.3.1 (2012-13 through 2015-16); 14.01.1, 14.4.3.1-(b) and 14.4.3.2 (2012-13 through 2014-15); 14.10.1 (2012-13 and 2013-14); 14.11.1 and 16.8.1.2 (2012-13); 14.4.3.1-(c) (2013-14 and 2014-15); 14.9.1 (2013-14); 16.8.1 (2013-14 through 2015-16); 12.10.1 and 12.11.1 (2014-15 and 2015-16) and 14.4.3.2.1 (2014-15) (Level II)

The NCAA enforcement staff and Institution agreed that from at least the 2012-13 academic year through the 2015 fall semester, the Institution failed to properly certify at least 45 student-athletes in 11 sports. As a result, these student-athletes practiced, received actual and necessary travel expenses and/or competed while ineligible.

From at least the 2012-13 academic year through the 2015 fall semester, the Institution failed to properly certify the amateurism status of 26 student-athletes in eight (8) sports.  During the 2012-13 academic year through the 2015 fall semester, 24 student-athletes in six (6) sports were permitted to practice, compete and receive actual and necessary travel expenses without meeting amateurism certification requirements. NCAA Bylaws 12.1.1.1.3 and 12.1.1.1.3.1 (2012-13 through 2015-16); 14.10.1 (2012-13 and 2013-14); 14.11.1 and 16.8.1.2 (2012-13); 14.9.1 (2013-14); 16.8.1 (2013-14 through 2015-16); and 12.10.1 and 12.11.1 (2014-15 and 2015-16).  During the 2014-15 academic year and the 2015 fall semester, one (1) women's track and field student-athlete and one (1) football student-athlete practiced beyond the permissible 45-day period without meeting amateurism certification requirements. NCAA Bylaws 12.1.1.1.3 and 12.1.1.1.3.1 (2014-15 and 2015-16).

From at least the 2012-13 through 2014-15 academic years, the Institution improperly certified progress-toward-degree requirements of 21 student-athletes in eight (8) sports.  During the 2012-13 through 2014-15 academic years, eight (8) student-athletes in five sport programs competed without satisfactory completion of at least 18 semester hours of degree credit toward the students' designated degree programs since the beginning of the previous fall term. As a result, seven (7) of the eight (8) student-athletes received actual and necessary travel expenses for competition while ineligible and competed during subsequent academic years without the Institution seeking reinstatement. NCAA Bylaws 14.01.1 and 14.4.3.1-(b) (2012-13 through 2014-15); 14.11.1 and 16.8.1.2 (2012-13); 14.10.1 (2013-14); 16.8.1 (2013-14 through 2014-15); and 12.11.1 (2014-15).  During the 2012-13 through the 2014-15 academic years, 19 student-athletes in eight (8) sport programs competed without successfully completing the applicable percentage-toward-degree requirements. As a result, the 19 student-athletes received actual and necessary travel expenses for competition while ineligible. Additionally, ten (10) of the student-athletes competed during subsequent academic years without the institution seeking reinstatement. NCAA Bylaws 14.01.1 and 14.4.3.2 (2012-13 through 2014-15); 14.11.1 and 16.8.1.2 (2012-13); 14.10.1 (2013-14); 16.8.1 (2013-14 through 2014-15); and 12.11.1 and 14.4.3.2.1 (2014-15).  During the 2013-14 through 2014-15 academic years, four (4) student-athletes in three (3) sport programs competed without satisfactory completion of at least six (6) semester hours of degree credit toward the student-athletes' designated degree programs during the preceding regular academic term. As a result, the four (4) student-athletes received actual and necessary travel expenses for competition while ineligible and competed during subsequent academic years without the Institution seeking reinstatement. NCAA Bylaws 14.01.1 and 14.4.3.1-(c) (2013-14 and 2014-15); 14.10.1 (2013-14); 16.8.1 (2013-14 through 2014-15); and 12.11.1 (2014-15).

Violations of NCAA Constitution 2.8.1 (2012-13 through 2015-16) (Level II)

The NCAA enforcement staff and Institution agreed that from at least the 2012-13 academic year through the 2015 fall semester, the scope and nature of the violations detailed above demonstrate that the Institution violated the NCAA principle of rules compliance when it failed to adequately monitor its initial eligibility and progress-toward-degree certification processes to ensure compliance with NCAA rules. Specifically, the Institution failed to establish adequate compliance systems to ensure consistent monitoring of amateurism and progress-toward-degree certification and provide adequate rules education to the institutional staff members responsible for amateurism and progress-toward-degree certification.

Violations of NCAA Division I Manual Bylaw 13.1.5, 13.1.5.1, 13.2.1, 13.2.1.1-(e), 13.2.1.1-(h), 13.5.1 and 13.11.1 (2014-15) (Level II)

The NCAA enforcement staff, Institution and the assistant track coach (assistant coach) agreed that from approximately January 20 through the end of April 2015, the assistant coach and members of or individuals affiliated with the women's track and field program violated recruiting legislation by providing a prospect (prospect) approximately $1,563.00 in impermissible inducements, exceeding the number of permissible recruiting opportunities and involving the prospect in impermissible tryouts.

On January 20 and 21, 2015, the assistant coach provided the prospect's father (prospect's father) transportation from the Monroe, Louisiana, airport to a hotel in Ruston, Louisiana and to campus. The assistant track coach also paid for their hotel room for one night. The total value of the recruiting inducements was approximately $91.00. NCAA Bylaws 13.2.1 and 13.2.1.1-(h) (2014-15).

From at least January 21 through January 26, 2015, a former track and field student-athlete who was also a representative of the Institution's athletics interests (representative), provided the prospect's father five (5) nights of free housing and the prospect with at least two (2) nights of free housing. The total value of the recruiting inducements was approximately $415.00. NCAA Bylaws 13.2.1 and 13.2.1.1-(h) (2014-15).

From at least February through April 2015, the assistant coach provided the prospect with free housing, occasional transportation, meals and approximately $100.00 in cash. The total value of the recruiting inducements was approximately $840.00. Additionally, the women's track and field program exceeded the permissible number of recruiting opportunities as a result of the interactions that occurred with the assistant coach's provision of housing and occasional transportation. NCAA Bylaws 13.1.5, 13.1.5.1, 13.2.1, 13.2.1.1-(e), 13.2.1.1-(h) and 13.5.1 (2014-15).

From April 24 through April 26, 2015, a then graduate assistant coach (former graduate assistant) provided the prospect with roundtrip transportation and lodging for the outdoor track conference competition in Huntsville, Alabama. The total value of the recruiting inducements was approximately $217.00. NCAA Bylaws 13.2.1, 13.2.1.1-(h) and 13.5.1 (2014-15).

Between late January and early February 2015, the women's track and field coaching staff permitted the prospect to practice with the women's track team for approximately two (2) weeks even though she was not enrolled at the institution. NCAA Bylaw 13.11.1 (2014-15).

Violations of NCAA Division I Manual Bylaws 10.01.1, 10.1 and 10.1-(c) (2014-15) (Level II)

The NCAA enforcement staff, Institution and the assistant coach agreed that from January 20 through April 2015, the assistant coach violated the NCAA principles of ethical conduct when she knowingly provided the prospect and her father improper inducements, as detailed above.

Violations of NCAA Division I Constitution 2.8.1 and Bylaw 11.1.1.1 (2014-15) (Level II)

The NCAA enforcement staff, Institution and the head track coach (head coach) agreed that, during the 2015 spring semester, the head coach is presumed responsible for the violations outlined above and did not rebut that presumption. Specifically, the head coach did not demonstrate that he promoted an atmosphere for compliance when he became aware of the provision of the impermissible inducements while they were occurring and he did not stop and/or report the violations.

Aggravating and Mitigating Factors in accordance with NCAA Bylaws 19.9.3 and 19.9.4

Aggravating Factors for the Institution

(a) A history of major violations by the institution. NCAA Bylaw 19.9.3-(b).

(b) Multiple Level II violations by the institution or involved individuals. NCAA Bylaw 19.9.3-(g).

(c) Persons of authority condoned, participated in or negligently disregarded the violation or related wrongful conduct. NCAA Bylaw 19.9.3-(h).

 

Mitigating Factors for the Institution

(a) Prompt self-detection and self-disclosure of the violation(s). NCAA Bylaw 19.9.4-(a).

(b) Prompt acknowledgement of the violation, acceptance of responsibility and imposition of meaningful corrective measures and/or penalties. NCAA Bylaw 19.9.4-(b).

(c) Affirmative steps to expedite final resolution of the matter. NCAA Bylaw 19.9.4-(c).

Aggravating Factors for the Head Coach

(a) Persons of authority condoned, participated in or negligently disregarded the violation(s) or related wrongful conduct. NCAA Bylaw 19.9.3-(h).

Mitigating Factors for the Head Coach

None.

Aggravating Factors for the Assistant Coach

(a) Unethical conduct. NCAA Bylaw 19.9.3-(e).

(b) Persons of authority condoned, participated in or negligently disregarded the violation(s) or related wrongful conduct. NCAA Bylaw 19.9.3-(h).

Mitigating Factors for the Assistant Coach

None.

As a result of the foregoing, the Committee penalized GSU as follows:

1. The Institution shall pay a $5,000 fine.

2. Two (2) years of probation from July 28, 2017 to July 29, 2019.

3. The Institution will reduce scholarships in the women's track and field program by one equivalency in the 2017-18 and the 2018-19 academic years. Those reductions will be reduced from the Institution's previous four-year average.

4. The Institution's women's track and field program will reduce its recruiting days by 15 days during the 2017-18 academic year.

5. The assistant coach was prescribed a two-year show-cause order pursuant to Bylaw 19.9.5.5.

6. The head coach was prescribed a two-year show-cause order pursuant to Bylaw 19.9.5.5.

7. The Institution shall vacate all regular season and conference tournament records and participation in which the ineligible student-athletes detailed above competed from the time they became ineligible through the time they were reinstated as eligible for competition.

For any questions, feel free to contact Christian Dennie at This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it .

 

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