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College Sports, Education

NCAA Committee on Infractions Issues Decision in Brevard College Enforcement Case

The NCAA Division II Committee on Infractions issued its May 13, 2011, decision finding that Brevard College violated NCAA recruiting rules. The case involved impermissible text messages and impermissible phone calls to prospective student-athletes by the institution’s former track and field and cross-country coach. The committee also cited the former coach for unethical conduct after he provided false and misleading information, including altered phone records, to Brevard College personnel. The committee concluded that the penalties for the rules violations would include one year of probation, scholarship reductions, recruiting restrictions and a two-year show-cause order that limits the former coach’s athletically related duties. The committee also noted that only one coach knowingly disregarded the rules in this case committed the violations and that Brevard College had thoroughly educated staff regarding the rules. The committee also indicated that the school self-discovered the violations and was thorough in its investigation. This case was resolved through the summary disposition process, which is “a cooperative effort where the involved parties submit the case to the Committee on Infractions in written form” and occurs “when the NCAA enforcement staff, the school and involved individuals agree to the facts of the case and the school-proposed penalties, they may use this process instead of having a formal hearing”.

The committee determined the violations in this case “involved the former men’s and women’s track and field and cross country coach at the institution sending 181 impermissible text messages to 15 prospective student-athletes between November 27, 2009, and February 19, 2010.” Further, the committee noted “between July 2009 and February 2010, he (the former head coach) places more than one phone call per week to certain prospects.” When these violations were discovered in February and March 2010, the former head coach provided false and misleading information to Brevard College representatives who were investigating the matter. The former head coach’s lies to Brevard College personnel constituted unethical conduct.

NCAA member institutions can enhance their rules-compliance programs by implementing lessons learned from this infractions case, including:

•Develop and implement a comprehensive rules-education program on NCAA legislation to instruct the coaches, the faculty athletics representative, all athletics department personnel and all institution staff members with responsibility for the certification of student-athletes for admission, retention, financial aid, or competition;

•Develop and implement logging and monitoring systems for coach’s institutional phone records and recruiting logs. This system should include NCAA and institutional bylaws and policies regarding recruiting logs and phone use for recruiting purposes, logging procedures for all coaches involved in recruiting, and monitoring and crosschecking procedures for a sampling of coach’s recruiting logs and phone records. Further, this system should include a coach’s office phone in addition to any mobile phone used for institutional purposes (i.e. recruiting);

•Conduct a regular external audit of the athletics recruiting monitoring system and the athletics rules education process.

Post Author: Justin Sievert, Esquire

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About Michael L. Buckner, Esquire

An attorney who provides clients with internal investigation, compliance, professional development and legal services.

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