On July 31, 2012, the NCAA Division I Committee on Infractions (COI) released its decision regarding the University of Central Florida (UCF) enforcement case. The COI found that the institution “exhibited a lack of institutional control” and was responsible for impermissible recruiting activities and extra-benefits. Specifically, the violations centered around what the committee noted as an “ever-increasing problem” regarding the involvement of outside third-parties with student-athletes and prospects. The violations were found to involve the football and men’s basketball programs. The COI also found unethical conduct by the former athletic director and a former assistant football coach and a failure to monitor by the head men’s basketball coach. The penalties implemented as a result of this decision include: (1) a five-year probationary period; (2) a post-season ban for the 2012 football season and 2012-13 men’s basketball season; (3) a limit of 20 initial scholarships (down from 25) and 80 total scholarships (down from 85) in football for the next three years; (4) a limit of 11 total scholarships in men’s basketball (down from 13) for the next three years; (5) a financial penalty of $50,000 payable to the NCAA, (6) numerous recruiting opportunity reductions; (7) a three-game suspension without pay for the head men’s basketball coach; (8) a three-year show cause order for the former athletic director; (9) a one-year show cause order for a former assistant football coach; and (10) the permanent disassociation of involved representatives of athletics interests.
Some key points to take from the public report include:
- The COI found that UCF not only accepted representatives of athletics interests associated with their athletics programs but “actively embraced” them, which placed UCF “in a very difficult position to ensure conformity with NCAA legislation.
- The athletics administration (i.e., the athletic director) and some coaches in the men’s basketball and football programs were aware of a representative of athletics interests relationship with prospective (PSA) and enrolled student-athletes (SA) and his involvement in their recruitment and promotion of UCF to PSAs. However, the institution failed to monitor these individuals even though there is an “enhanced responsibility” to monitor violations which an “insider” may commit.
- The COI cited the 2003 University of Michigan case as well as the 2002 University of Alabama case, which held there “is an unequivocal obligation to monitor closely those athletic representatives (who have) a level of visibility, insider status, and favored access within athletic programs.” The COI further noted “their insider status not only gives credence to their claims of authority within a program, but also, and however unintended, serves to reward them for the illicit activities in which they engage.”
In light of this enforcement case, the Michael L. Buckner Law Firm recommends institutions athletics compliance offices implement a high-profile student-athlete and third party due-diligence program at their institution. This program should include, at a minimum, components that can be found here.
For more information on the Michael L. Buckner Law Firm suite of compliance and investigative services for high-profile student-athletes and third parties please contact Justin Sievert at (954) 941-1844 or at JSievert@michaelbucknerlaw.com