The NCAA Division I Committee on Infractions released the infractions report in the West Virginia University (WVU) enforcement case on July 8, 2011. The case, which was resolved through the summary disposition process (“a cooperative effort where the involved parties submit the case to the Committee on Infractions in written form”), resulted in the committee concluding WVU “committed major violations involving failure to monitor by two former head football coaches and by the institution”. The committee concluded the “failure to monitor findings stemmed from violations within the program involving non-coaching staff members who performed duties that led the program to exceed the allowable number of coaches and coaching staff members who engaged in impermissible out-of-season athletically related activities”. The committee-issued penalties included two years probation, coaching and recruiting restrictions and scholarship reductions.
The most interesting aspect to this case (from a procedural standpoint) is how the Committee on Infractions reached its failure to monitor findings against former head football coaches Rich Rodriguez and Bill Stewart. Generally, a head coach found to have failed to monitor his or her sports program is cited for violating NCAA Bylaw 22.214.171.124. However, the committee declined to do so in the WVU case citing deficiencies with the staff’s allegations. Instead, the committee used NCAA Constitution 2.8.1 to base its failure to monitor findings against Rodriguez and Stewart. Specifically, the committee explained:
“Although former head coach 1 and the enforcement staff agreed on the facts of this finding, there was a dispute regarding which bylaw should be cited. Former head coach 1 asserted that Constitution 2.8.1, Failure to Monitor, is the appropriate citation, while the staff urged the committee to make the finding under Bylaw 126.96.36.199, Responsibility of Head Coach. The finding was presented to the committee strictly as one involving failure to monitor. The plain language of Bylaw 188.8.131.52 requires that two factors be present before a finding under that bylaw can be made: 1) failure to promote an atmosphere for compliance within the coach’s program, AND 2) failure to monitor by the coach (emphasis added). Not only did the staff not allege a failure to promote an atmosphere for compliance on behalf of former head coach 1, the summary disposition report contained no facts that would support such a finding. The narrative spoke only to former head coach 1’s failure to monitor and did not address any failure to promote an atmosphere for compliance. Therefore, the proper citation for this finding, as well as Finding B-4 below, is 2.8.1.”