INDIANAPOLIS---The NCAA Division I Committee on Infractions has penalized the University of New Hampshire for recruiting violations in its men’s ice hockey program. The case involves 923 impermissible e-mail messages sent from the associate head coach to 30 prospective student-athletes. Penalties in this case include two years probation and multiple recruiting restrictions.
This case was resolved through the summary disposition process, a cooperative effort where the involved parties submit the case to the Committee on Infractions in written form. When the NCAA enforcement staff, the university and involved individuals agree to the facts of the case and penalties proposed by the university, they may use this process instead of a formal hearing.
Following the review of the summary disposition report, the committee concluded that the case called for recruiting-related sanctions beyond what the university had originally proposed. In late April, the committee and the university reached an agreement with regard to these additional recruiting sanctions.
The university’s associate head men’s ice hockey coach sent the impermissible recruiting e-mails during the 2007 fall and 2008 spring semesters. The associate head coach sent all of the e-mails using a recruiting software program that allowed the associate head coach to send an e-mail message to multiple prospects through one computer keystroke. Thirty prospective student-athletes received impermissible recruiting contacts from the university prior to June 15 following the conclusion of their freshman or sophomore years in high school.
The associate head coach said the violations occurred because he misunderstood the relevant recruiting rule and entered date into the recruiting software program according to the prospective student-athletes’ expected enrollment date at the university, rather than their high school graduation. As a result, high school freshman and sophomores were placed in the same category as juniors and seniors.
There was agreement by all involved parties that the case should be categorized as major because the violations were neither isolated nor inadvertent, and the volume of impermissible e-mails provided more than a minimal competitive advantage.
The penalties in this case, including those self-imposed by the university, are as follows:
- Public reprimand and censure.
- Two years of probation. The period of probation begins the date the university accepted the committee’s additional recommended penalties (April 24, 2009, to April 23, 2011). (Self-imposed by the university).
- Reduction by one in the number of permissible recruiters in men’s ice hockey who can be off-campus at any given time from April 24, 2009, through October 23, 2009.
- The 30 involved prospective student-athletes will not receive an expense-paid visit to the university’s campus. (Self-imposed by the university).
- None of the 30 involved prospective student-athletes will be allowed to sign a National Letter of Intent with the university. (Self-imposed by the university).
The members of the Committee on Infractions who reviewed this case include Paul Dee, lecturer of law and education at the University of Miami and formerly the institution's athletics director and general counsel. He is the chair of the Committee on Infractions. Other members are John S. Black, attorney; Melissa Conboy, deputy director of athletics at University of Notre Dame; Eileen Jennings, general counsel at Central Michigan University; Britton Banowsky, commissioner of Conference USA; Alfred J. Lechner, Jr., attorney; and Dennis Thomas, the commissioner of the Mid-Eastern Athletic Conference and formerly director of athletics at Hampton University.