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The NCAA Committee on Infractions Has Spoken: University of Alabama

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Written by Christian Dennie   
Tuesday, 18 April 2017 14:04

The NCAA Committee on Infractions (“Committee” or “Panel”) recently issued its findings and found that the University of Alabama (“UA” or “Institution”) committed violations of NCAA legislation. This case involved agreed-upon Level II and Level III football recruiting violations at UA.  The case also involved a former assistant coach's Level I unethical conduct for providing false or misleading information. The Panel considered this case through the cooperative summary disposition process in which all parties agreed to the primary facts and violations, as fully set forth in the summary disposition report (“SDR”). After accepting the violations set forth in the SDR, the Panel also adopted the Institution's proposed penalties and corrective actions; therefore, the Institution has no opportunity to appeal. The Panel proposed a two-year show-cause order for the former assistant coach. Although the proposed show-cause order was more lenient than what the penalty guidelines require for a Level I violation of this nature, the former assistant coach nevertheless challenged the proposed penalty at an expedited penalty hearing. The Panel retained the penalty, which the former assistant coach has the opportunity to appeal.

The Committee concluded that UA committed the following violations:

Violations of NCAA Division I Manual Bylaws 13.01.2, 13.1.1.1 and 13.1.2.1 (2014-15) (Level II)

The Institution, a former assistant football coach and the NCAA enforcement staff agree that between December 1, 2014, and May 21, 2015, former assistant coach 1 violated NCAA recruiting legislation when he engaged in a prearranged, impermissible off-campus contact at a high school in Houston, Texas (the high school) with four football prospective student-athletes. It is further agreed that former assistant coach knew and/or should have known a representative of the Institution's athletics interests (the athletics representative) was assisting and/or participating in the recruitment of the four prospects.

Between December 1, 2014, and January 31, 2015, the athletics representative, who was the mother of a then Alabama football student-athlete, contacted the head football coach at the high school to arrange a meeting. Once the athletics representative arrived at the high school, she asked to meet with four football prospective student-athletes. The athletics representative initially met with the four prospects for approximately 10 to 15 minutes and the former assistant coach later joined the meeting for approximately 15 to 20 minutes. The impermissible contact lasted a total of 25 to 35 minutes, occurred at least six months prior to the permissible timeframe for an off-campus contact with one of the prospects and at least 18 months prior to the permissible time frame for off-campus contacts with the other three prospects. NCAA Bylaws 13.01.2, 13.1.1.1 and 13.1.2.1 (2014-15).

Subsequently, on or about May 21, 2015, the athletics representative contacted the head football coach at the high school to arrange a meeting with three of the prospects to follow up on the prior meeting with the prospects, as outlined above. The second impermissible contact lasted approximately 10 minutes. NCAA Bylaws 13.01.2, 13.1.1.1 and 13.1.2.1 (2014-15).

Violations of NCAA Division I Manual Bylaws 10.01.1, 10.1 and 10.1-(d) (2015-16) (Level I)

The Institution, the former assistant coach and the NCAA enforcement staff agree that between September 23, 2015, and April 25, 2016, the former assistant coach violated the principles of ethical conduct when he knowingly provided false or misleading information to the NCAA enforcement staff and Institution regarding his knowledge of a representative of the Institution's athletics interests assisting and/or participating in the recruitment of football prospects and individual involvement in the impermissible off-campus recruiting contact with four prospects.

During his September 23, 2015, and April 25, 2016, interviews with the NCAA enforcement staff and Institution, the former assistant coach provided false or misleading information when he denied knowledge of the athletics representative's involvement with and her presence during the former assistant coach's visit to the high school detailed above. In both interviews, the former assistant coach denied seeing the athletics representative at the high school and denied that she had any involvement in his visit outlined above. The former assistant coach's statements are in direct contradiction to information reported to the Institution and NCAA enforcement staff by two involved football prospects and the high school's head football coach, as well as some of the former assistant coach's own statements during his May 2, 2016, interview. NCAA Bylaws 10.01.1, 10.1 and 10.1-(d) (2015-16).

During his September 23, 2015, and April 25, 2016, interviews with the NCAA enforcement staff and Institution, the former assistant coach provided false or misleading information when he denied having in-person, off-campus recruiting contact with four football prospects at the high school as detailed above. Specifically, the former assistant coach denied seeing or interacting with any prospects at the high school. The former assistant coach's statements are in direct contradiction to the information reported to the Institution and NCAA enforcement staff by two involved football prospects and the high school's head football coach, as well as some of the former assistant coach's own statements during his May 2, 2016, interview. NCAA Bylaws 10.01.1, 10.1 and 10.1-(d) (2015-16).

Violations of NCAA Division I Manual Bylaws 13.02.5.2, 13.17.4.1 (2013-14); 13.01.2 (2013-14 and 2015-16); and 13.1.2.1 (2015-16) (Level III)

The Institution and NCAA enforcement staff agree that between May 14, 2014, and December 9, 2015, members of the Institution's football coaching staff violated NCAA recruiting legislation on two occasions when they engaged in impermissible contacts and/or used an impermissible recruiter during the recruitment of two football prospective student-athletes.

On May 14, 2014, a then assistant football coach had impermissible off-campus contact during an evaluation period with a then football prospective student-athlete at the prospect's Maryland high school. Specifically, after conducting an evaluation of the prospect, the former assistant coach engaged in a brief conversation with the prospect. Further, the former assistant coach accompanied the prospect to his high school football head coach's office, where he participated in three different photographs with the prospect in an effort to document prospect's physical size. The former assistant coach's contacts with the prospect were impermissible as they occurred outside of a permissible contact period and two months prior to the permissible timeframe for an off-campus contact with the prospect. NCAA Bylaws 13.01.2, 13.02.5.2, 13.1.1.1, 13.17.4.1 (2013-14).

On or around December 9, 2015, members of the football coaching staff permitted an impermissible recruiter to attend a home visit with a then prospective student-athlete. Specifically, the Institution arranged for prospect's youth football coach to provide a member of the coaching staff with transportation from the airport to the prospect's home. The youth football coach then entered the home and was present for the duration of the recruiting visit, although not an active participant. NCAA Bylaws 13.01.2 and 13.1.2.1 (2015-16).

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

Aggravating Factors for the Institution

(1) A history of Level I, Level II or major violations by the Institution, sport program(s) or involved individual. NCAA Bylaw 19.9.3-(b).

 

Mitigating Factors for the Institution

(1) Prompt acknowledgement and acceptance of responsibility. NCAA Bylaw 19.9.4-(d).

(2) Established history of self-reporting. NCAA Bylaw 19.9.4-(b).

(3) Implementation of compliance methods designed for rules compliance and controls. NCAA Bylaw 19.9.4-(e).

 

Aggravating Factors for the Former Assistant Coach

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

(2) Violations were premeditated. NCAA Bylaw 19.9.3-(f).

(3) Intentional willful or blatant disregard for the NCAA constitution or bylaws. NCAA Bylaw 19.9.4-(m).

 

Mitigating Factors for the Former Assistant Coach

None.

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

1. Public reprimand and censure.

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

3. The Institution withheld the former assistant coach and his replacement from off-campus recruiting and telephone contact for 39 days (April 22 - May 31, 2016).

4. The Institution disassociated with the athletics representative.

5. The Institution prohibited the former assistant coach from participating in any off-campus recruiting for 30 days (September 25, 2015, through October 25, 2015).

6. The Institution suspended former assistant coach 2 for one contest during the 2015 football season.

7. The former assistant coach received a 2-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 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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