INDIANAPOLIS---The NCAA Division I Committee on Infractions has penalized Indiana University for major violations in its men's basketball program. This case involves multiple violations of telephone recruiting rules, unethical conduct by two coaches, and a failure to monitor by the former head coach and the university. The violations were committed by a head coach serving penalties imposed on him for similar violations in a prior case.
Penalties for the violations, including those self-imposed by the university, include three years of probation; a reduction of men's basketball scholarships; recruiting restrictions; a five-year show-cause order for the former head coach and a three-year show-cause order for the former assistant coach.
These show-cause penalties outline how the former coaches' recruiting and other coaching duties must be limited at their present and any future employing institutions. These limitations are further detailed in the public report.
This case involves violations of NCAA rules and also arose out of the failure to adhere to penalties set forth by the committee in the previous University of Oklahoma case that were adopted by Indiana University after hiring the former head coach. As in the Oklahoma case, the underlying violations in this case involved prohibited telephone calls to prospective student-athletes. The prohibited calls violated three separate committee penalties imposed in the Oklahoma case as well as basic NCAA recruiting rules.
The circumstances surrounding the phone calls resulted in a failure to monitor finding against the university. Specifically, the committee found the university's monitoring of the former head coach and the men's basketball program was not ready and operational at the time the former head coach was hired. In this and other ways, the committee found the university's compliance effort was inadequate in fulfilling the requirement of heightened scrutiny given the former head coach's existing penalties imposed on him for similar violations in a prior case. The committee noted that a failure to provide effective follow-through when the men's basketball staff did not adhere strictly to its compliance obligations was a significant aspect of the university's failure to monitor. The committee also noted that the compliance staff placed undue emphasis on good relations with the men's basketball staff, to the detriment of effective oversight.
The committee found that the former head coach failed to conduct himself in accordance with the generally recognized high standards of honesty by providing false or misleading information during the investigation and when he knowingly violated committee penalties. The committee also found that the former head coach failed to monitor the men's basketball program and promote rules compliance within it.
"A head coach does not promote compliance when he intentionally ignores committee penalties directed at him for intentional rules violations," the committee noted in its report. "A head coach also does not promote compliance when he himself commits intentional violations. This is particularly true when he commits these violations with the knowledge and assistance of a coach on his staff."
The committee also found that the former assistant coach violated ethical conduct rules by knowingly violating committee penalties and failing to conduct himself in accordance with the generally recognized high standards of honesty by providing false or misleading information during the investigation. Although the committee found that the former assistant coach acted intentionally and with knowledge that he was committing violations, the committee also responded to his claim that the violations committed were in a "gray area."
The committee stated in its report, “So-called gray areas are not calls to action; they are red alerts to stop, look and listen and not to proceed unless and until the light turns green… The committee rejects a claim that violations are excusable or penalties should be mitigated because committed by a coach who admits to being unsure whether conduct is prohibited but who intentionally forges ahead anyway.”
This case involved a secondary violation as well, which is further detailed in the public report.
According to the committee, the departure of the former head coach contributed to "a decimation of the men's basketball program" as the university reported that it "has but two returning student-athletes, only one of whom is on scholarship." The committee considered these circumstances in assessing penalties and stated in its report, "Until this case, the institution had an almost 50-year record free of major infractions of which the institution was justly proud and for which it deserves commendation."
The penalties, some of which were self-imposed by the institution and adopted by the committee, are as follows:
• Public reprimand and censure.
• Three years of probation (November 25, 2008 to November 24, 2011).
• Five-year show-cause order, which includes significant recruiting restricitions, for the former head coach (November 25, 2008 to November 24, 2013). Additional details are available in the public report.
• Three-year show-cause order, which also includes significant recruiting restrictions, for the former assistant coach (November 25, 2008 to November 24, 2011). Additional details are available in the public report.
• A reduction of one men's basketball athletic scholarship (Self-imposed by the institution.)
• The number of available July 2008 off-campus recruiting days was reduced by two. (Self-imposed by the institution.)
• The number of recruiting opportunities available to the men's basketball staff for one of the prospective student-athletes was reduced from seven to six during both his junior and senior years in high school; the number of available off-campus contacts during his senior year was reduced from three to two. (Self-imposed by the institution.)
• Former head coach was limited to four off-campus recruiting contact days during the fall 2007 contact period. (Self-imposed by the institution.)
• From September 17, 2007, through July 31, 2008, the number of men's basketball coaches involved in recruiting was reduced by one. (Self-imposed by the institution.)
• The number of 2007-08 official paid visits available to the men's basketball staff was reduced from 12 to eight. (Self-imposed by the institution.)
• From the conclusion of the fall contact period, the head coach (former, interim and current) was limited to 20 off-campus recruiting days. (Self-imposed by the institution.)
• From September 17, 2007, through the end of the regular National Letter of Intent signing period on May 21, 2008, the number of phone calls that could be made to prospects on or after August 1 of their senior year in high school was reduced from two to one call weekly. (Self-imposed by the institution.)
The members of the Committee on Infractions who reviewed this case are Josephine Potuto, the Richard H. Larson Professor of Constitutional Law at the University of Nebraska College of Law and chair of the committee at the time the Indiana case was heard; Eileen Jennings, general counsel at Central Michigan University; Alfred Lechner, Jr., attorney; Dennis Thomas, the commissioner of the Mid-Eastern Athletic Conference and formerly director of athletics at Hampton University; Ted Leland, the vice president for advancement at the University of the Pacific, and formerly the director of athletics of, among others, Stanford University; Gene Marsh, James M. Kidd Sr. Professor of Law at the University of Alabama, Tuscaloosa School of Law; Andrea Meyers, athletic director emeritus, Indiana State University; and James Park Jr., attorney, Lexington, Kentucky.