INDIANAPOLIS---The NCAA Division II Committee on Infractions has penalized the University of the District of Columbia for major violations in its athletics program. The case involved a lack of institutional control; a failure to monitor by the university and the former director of athletics; two charges of unethical conduct; and a failure to cooperate. The committee stated in its report that the case "presented the most egregious lack of institutional control ever seen by the committee."
Penalties for the violations, including those self-imposed by the university, include five years of probation; a cancellation of seasons of competition in select sports (already imposed); a one-year postseason ban in all sports; a vacation of wins in select sports; a reduction in scholarships in select sports; and a reduction in recruiting activities for select sports. The penalties also included a five-year show-cause order for the former faculty athletics representative and the former director of athletics.
Under this show-cause penalty, the former faculty athletics representative may not hold any athletically related position or have any athletically related duties at this or any subsequent hiring institution during this time period.
In addition, the show-cause penalties require that should the former director of athletics seek athletically-related employment with any NCAA institution during this time period, the individual and the hiring institution must agree he will not hold any administrative position or perform any administrative duties beyond the normal duties of a coach. Further, he cannot have any involvement with camps or clinics as defined by NCAA rules.
The committee stated in its report that it was "troubled by the fact that the institution appeared before the committee in 1991 for exactly the same types of problems – ineligible participation, impermissible benefits and a lack of institutional control."
In this recent case, the university was found to have allowed 248 student-athletes and two prospective student-athletes to practice or compete while ineligible from the 2000-01 through the 2003-04 academic years. This was in spite of the fact the university had no more than 90 student-athletes whose eligibility was being tracked at any given time. Some of these 248 student-athletes also received impermissible athletic-related financial aid or housing. The student-athletes were ineligible due to the institution's failure to follow a number of longstanding, basic NCAA rules including requirements for initial eligibility, transfer, and satisfactory progress-toward-degree. The university acknowledged it did not have policies in place to monitor eligibility certification, enrollment status, and transfer and international student-athletes. The university also did not have a rules education program for student-athletes, coaches and staff. Further, the university failed to respond in a timely manner and accurately report information relating to NCAA rules violations made known to university officials during the 2002-03 and 2003-04 academic years.
It was also found that the university failed to adequately cooperate with the enforcement staff in the investigation. Specifically, the lack of timeliness of the university's investigation and reporting impeded the enforcement staff's ability to thoroughly investigate and process the case in a timely manner. Consequently, the integrity of the investigation was compromised, the committee noted. On eight occasions between April 2004 and December 2006, the university gave the staff specific dates on which the final self-report would be submitted. It failed to meet every one of those self-imposed deadlines, at times without explanation or further communication. Consequently, while the staff waited over two and a half years for reports that it was assured were forthcoming, the case grew stale, information was lost and certain individuals moved on, the committee said.
The university also disregarded the enforcement staff's request to refrain from interviewing four key principals in the investigation. The university was aware of the enforcement staff's desire to talk to these individuals during the course of the investigation and the staff's belief that some of the four people should not be interviewed until after information could be developed. However, the university disregarded the staff's request by interviewing the individuals. Further, the university did not notify or include the enforcement staff in these interviews.
Finally, it was found that the former director of athletics and former faculty athletics representative violated the NCAA principles of ethical conduct. The former director of athletics refused to answer certain questions in his interviews with the enforcement staff, and the former faculty athletics representative provided false and misleading information regarding his role in the student-athlete certification process.
In determining the penalties, the Committee on Infractions considered the university's self-imposed penalties and corrective actions. The committee also considered the university's statement that it intends to hire a full-time compliance director and a director of athletics who will have no coaching duties. The penalties, some of which were self-imposed by the institution and adopted by the committee, are as follows:
• Public reprimand and censure.
• Five years of probation beginning October 29, 2008, and concluding on October 28, 2013.
• Cancellation of the seasons of competition in men's basketball (2004-05), women's basketball (2004-05), men's tennis (2004-05), women's tennis (2004-05), men's cross country (2005-06) and women's cross country (2005-06). (Self-imposed by the university).
• Elimination of official paid visits for the 2008-09 and 2009-10 academic years in the sports of men's basketball, women's basketball, men's soccer, women's volleyball, men's tennis, women's tennis, men's cross country and women's cross country (Self-imposed by the university).
• Vacation of all contests from the academic years 2000-01 through 2003-04 in which ineligible student-athletes participated, both in the regular season and all postseason completion, including conference and NCAA championships. This vacation applies to men's basketball, women's basketball, men's soccer, women's volleyball, men's tennis, women's tennis, men's cross country and women's cross country. The individual records of these student-athletes shall be vacated as well. Further, the college shall reconfigure the records of the head coaches in the affected sports to reflect the vacated wins. The vacated records shall be recorded in all publications in which athletics records are referenced, including, but not limited to, media guides, recruiting material, Web sites and institution and NCAA archives. Finally, any public reference to these vacated contests won during this time shall be removed, including but not limited to athletics department stationary, banners displayed in public areas and any other forum in which they may appear.
• Reduction in scholarships for the 2008-09 and 2009-10 academic years for the sports of men's basketball, women's basketball, women's volleyball, men's soccer, men's tennis, women's tennis, men's cross country and women's cross country. The total athletically-related financial aid in these sports cannot total more than 90 percent of the average amounts awarded in these sports during the 2006-07 and 2007-08 academic years.
• The former director of athletics was given a five-year show-cause order effective through October 28, 2013.
• The former faculty athletics representative was given a five-year show-cause order effective through October 28, 2013.
• None of the university's athletics teams shall be eligible for postseason competition during the 2009-10 academic year.
The Division II Committee on Infractions consists of conference and institutional athletics administrators, faculty and one member from the public. The committee independently rules on cases investigated by the NCAA enforcement staff and determines appropriate penalties.
The members of the NCAA Division II Committee on Infractions who heard this case are Wendy Taylor May, chair, assistant athletics director, University of California, San Diego; Bruce Kirsh, athletics director and vice president, Franklin Pierce University; Larry Blumberg, faculty athletics representative and chair of math department, Washburn University of Topeka; Jean Paul Bradshaw II, attorney, Lathrop & Gage L.C; and Bridget Lyons, senior associate director of athletics, Barry University.