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College Sports, Division I, Education

NCAA Committee on Infractions Issues Decision in Boise State University Enforcement Case

The NCAA Division I Committee on Infractions issued its September 13, 2011, decision finding that Boise State University violated multiple NCAA rules in various sports. Specifically, the case included numerous major violations involving more than 75 prospects and student-athletes in five sports over the course of five years. The sports programs involved were football, men’s and women’s cross-country and track and field, and men’s and women’s tennis. Along with the institutional findings, the former head women’s tennis coach was cited for unethical conduct and a failure to monitor and a former assistant track coach was also cited for unethical conduct. In addition, numerous recruiting violations were found, including impermissible lodging, transportation, practice sessions, financial aid and cash payments.

The penalties for this case included a four-year show-cause order for the former women’s head tennis coach and a two-year show-cause order for the former assistant track coach, which will restrict these former coaches’ recruiting at any NCAA member institution for the specified periods of time. Boise State’s penalties will include:

  • public reprimand and censure;
  • three years of probation;
  • one-year ban on postseason play following the 2011-12 women’s tennis season;
  • reduction of football scholarships from 85 to 82 for the 2011-12, 2012-13, 2013-14 academic years;
  • reduction of men’s and women’s track and field scholarships by 1.5 equivalencies from the average annual amount awarded the past four years during the 2011-12 and 2012-13 academic years;
  • reduction in women’s tennis scholarships from eight to five during the 2011-12, 2012-13 academic years;
  • reduction in practice opportunities for football, men’s tennis and women’s tennis;
  • reduction in official recruiting visits for men’s tennis, men’s track and field and cross-country, and women’s track and field and cross-country;
  • reduction in number of recruiters permitted to recruit off-campus for six months during the 2011-12 and 2012-13 academic years for men’s and women’s track and field and cross-country;
  • two-year prohibition in the recruitment of international prospective student-athletes for men’s and women’s cross-country and track and field and women’s tennis; and
  • vacation of all wins in which a particular women’s tennis student-athlete participated during the 2008-09 season, including any postseason competition, and the student-athlete’s individual records.

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 departments who interface with athletics;
  • Develop and implement  monitoring and certifying policies and procedures for compliance with NCAA legislation. Specifically, policies and procedures relating to international students, summer voluntary workouts, official/unofficial visits, summer housing, and countable athletically related activities should be addressed as related to this case. Further, these procedures must clearly explain the process and document the responsibilities of various institutional departments and personnel;
  • Conduct a regular internal audit of the athletics compliance program and rules education process; and
  • Conduct a regular external audit of the athletics compliance program and rules education process.
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About Justin P. Sievert, Esquire

Bar Admissions (North Carolina, Florida and Tennessee) Practice Area (College Sports Law)

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