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The NCAA Committee on Infractions Has Spoken: Lenoir-Rhyne University (Division II)

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Written by Christian Dennie   
Monday, 08 May 2017 18:24

The NCAA Committee on Infractions (“Committee,” “Panel,” or “COI”) recently issued its findings and found that the Lenoir-Rhyne University (“LRU” or “Institution”) committed major violations of NCAA legislation. The case centered on recruiting violations that led to unethical conduct by former members of the men's basketball coaching staff. The case also involved a failure to promote an atmosphere for compliance by the former head men's basketball coach.  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”). However, the two involved individuals in this case, the former head men's basketball coach and a former assistant coach, refused to be interviewed by the NCAA enforcement staff and failed to participate in the processing of this case. Because the Institution agreed to the violations and penalties, and the two involved coaches did not participate in the case, none has the opportunity to appeal.

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

Violations of NCAA Bylaws 13.02.4.4, 13.2.1, 13.6.1.1 and 13.11.1 (2014-15)

The NCAA enforcement staff and Institution agree that in April 2015, the former head coach permitted two men's basketball prospective student-athletes (prospects 1 and 2) to visit the Institution's campus at no cost even though it was a dead period. Additionally, this visit constituted a second paid visit for prospect 1. Further, the men's basketball staff conducted an impermissible tryout of the two prospects during their visit. Specifically:

On April 13, 2015, and during the dead period, the former head coach arranged for an assistant men's basketball coach to drive prospects 1 and 2 from their hometown to the institution's campus, a distance of approximately 330 miles, at no cost. The assistant men's basketball coach also provided the prospective student-athletes with a meal and snacks during the trip. The value of the impermissible benefits was approximately $183.

On April 13, 2015, and during the dead period, the former head coach and other members of the men's basketball staff conducted an impermissible tryout of prospects 1 and 2 when they evaluated the prospective student-athletes participating in pick-up basketball games with men's basketball student-athletes in the institution's gymnasium.

Between April 13 and 14, 2015, and during the dead period, the former head coach and other members of the men's basketball staff provided prospects 1 and 2 with local transportation, an overnight stay at a hotel and meals at no cost. The value of the impermissible benefits was approximately $125.

On April 14, 2015, and during the dead period, the former head coach arranged for an assistant men's basketball coach to drive prospects 1 and 2 from the institution's campus back to their hometown at no cost. The assistant men's basketball coach also provided the prospective student-athletes with a meal and snacks during the trip. The value of the impermissible benefits was approximately $183.

Violations of NCAA Bylaws 10.01.1, 10.1 and 10.1-(d) (2014-15)

The NCAA enforcement staff and Institution agree that on or about April 23, 2015, the former assistant coach violated the principles of ethical conduct when he knowingly influenced a student-athlete to provide false or misleading information to the Institution's compliance staff regarding the student-athlete's involvement with prospects 1 and 2's impermissible visit, as outlined above. Specifically, the former assistant coach instructed student-athlete 1 to tell the compliance staff that he neither had dinner with nor spent time with the prospective student-athletes during the visit.

Violations of NCAA Bylaws 10.01.1, 10.1, 10.1-(a) and 19.01.3 (2015-16)

The NCAA enforcement staff and Institution agree that between October 1, 2015, and January 18, 2016, the former assistant coach violated the NCAA principles of ethical conduct when he refused to furnish information relevant to the investigation of possible violations of NCAA legislation when requested to do so by the NCAA enforcement staff. Further, the former assistant coach violated the responsibility to cooperate legislation by failing to make full and complete disclosure of relevant information when requested to do so by the enforcement staff.

Specifically, even though the NCAA enforcement staff requested the former assistant coach's participation in an interview October 1, 13 and 14, 2015, and January 7, 2016, the former assistant coach failed to respond to those requests and to participate in an interview. At the time of these requests, the former assistant coach was not an employee of the Institution.

Violations of NCAA Bylaws 10.01.1, 10.1, 10.1-(c) and 11.1.2.1 (2014-15)

The NCAA enforcement staff and Institution agree that the scope and the nature of the violations detailed above demonstrate that the former head coach violated NCAA head coach's responsibility and ethical conduct legislation when he failed to promote an atmosphere for compliance by his knowing involvement in violations of the recruiting legislation. Specifically:

The former head coach violated ethical conduct legislation when he engaged in and directed others to engage in impermissible recruiting activities, including the provision of impermissible benefits, as outlined above.

The former head coach violated head coach's responsibility legislation when he failed to promote an atmosphere for compliance by: (1) directly engaging in and allowing others to engage in the impermissible recruiting activities outlined above after he was told the visit would be impermissible; and (2) being present for and permitting an assistant men's basketball coach to instruct a men's basketball student-athlete to provide false and misleading information as outlined above. NCAA Bylaw 11.1.2.1 (2014-15).

Violations of NCAA Bylaws 10.01.1, 10.1, 10.1-(a) and 19.01.3 (2015-16)

The NCAA enforcement staff and institution agree that between October 1, 2015, and January 18, 2016, the former head coach violated the NCAA principles of ethical conduct when he refused to furnish information relevant to the investigation of possible violations of NCAA legislation when requested to do so by the enforcement staff. Further, the former head coach violated the responsibility to cooperate legislation by failing to make full and complete disclosure of relevant information when requested to do so by the enforcement staff. Specifically, even though the enforcement staff requested the former head coach's participation in an interview October 1, 13 and 14, 2015, and January 7, 2016, the former head coach responded and refused to participate in an interview. At the time of these requests, the former head coach was not an employee of the Institution.

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

1.  Public reprimand and censure.

2.  One year of probation from August 25, 2016, through August 24, 2017.

3.  A reduction in the number of days that can be used to evaluate or contact prospects off-campus by eight weeks (April 1, 2016, through May 31, 2016).

4.  A ban on official visits in men's basketball for the 2015-16 academic year.

5.  A ban on tryouts in men's basketball for the 2015-16 academic year.

6.  A reduction in the number of days that can be used to evaluate or contact prospects off-campus by four weeks during the 2016-17 academic year. (The institution will reduce by two weeks from September 7, 2016, through September 21, 2016, and by two weeks from June 15, 2017, through June 29, 2017.

7.  The former head coach received a three-year show cause penalty.

8.  The former assistant coach received a three-year show cause penalty.

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 .

 

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