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College Sports, Division I, Education

NCAA Committee on Infractions Issues Decision in University of South Carolina-Columbia Case

The NCAA Division I Committee on Infractions issued its decision in the University of South Carolina-Columbia enforcement case on April 27, 2012. The Committee on Infractions’ report was in response to a notice of allegations issued by the NCAA enforcemnt staff against South Carolina. The staff contended “possible major violations occurred” in the football, men’s basketball, and men’s and women’s track and field programs, including a representative of the institution’s athletics interests providing extra-benefits to twelve student-athletes, representatives of the institution’s athletics interests making impermissible recruiting contacts with and providing recruiting inducements to prospective student-athletes and a failure of the institution to monitor student-athlete housing arrangements and impermissible activities involving representatives of the institution’s athletics interests.

In its response to the notice of allegations, South Carolina informed the NCAA that it agreed that major rules-violations took place in its football program. The institution self-imposed sanctions, including: a three-year probation; the reduction of six football scholarships over the next three years; payment of a fine of $18,500 for four football players who played while ineligible in 2009 due to the rules-violations; and reduction of official visits for its football and track and field teams. South Carolina also disassociated itself from three representatives of the institution’s athletcs interests (“boosters”), including Student Athlete Mentoring Foundation president Steve Gordon and Kevin Lahn, and demoted former senior compliance administrator Jennifer Stiles for the compliance department’s involvement in signing off on the hotel arrangements.

In its April 27 decision, the Committee on Infractions determined South Carolina failed to monitor its athletics program and was responsible for impermissible recruiting, extra-benefits and preferential treatment. The committee also held the institution failed to monitor and investigate the impermissible recruiting activity by boosters. Specifically, the committee found at least four athletics department employees did not recognize the potential violations. When determining the penalties, the committee noted South Carolina’s cooperation in the investigation, “which went beyond standard expectations”, and the university’s self-imposed penalties. Penalties in the case, many of which were self-imposed by the university, include three years of probation, scholarship reductions, recruiting restrictions, a $18,500 fine and disassociation of two involved boosters.

The press release concerning, and the public infractions report in, this case can be found at the NCAA website, ncaa.org.

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About Michael L. Buckner, Esquire

An attorney who provides clients with internal investigation, civil litigation, estate planning and compliance services.

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