NCAA Announces Penalties for Infractions in the UK Football Program
Jan. 31, 2002
Full Report by the NCAA Committee on Infractions
UK President Lee Todd Quotes
UK Athletics Director Larry Ivy and UK Head Coach Guy MorrissQuotes
INDIANAPOLIS---The University of Kentucky will not be permitted to participate in a bowl game during the 2002 season and football scholarships will be reduced for the next three seasons because of numerous actions by a former football recruiting coordinator that involved gifts of cash to high school coaches and prospective student-athletes.
The Division I Committee on Infractions also made a finding of lack on institutional control against the institution and failure to monitor against the former head football coach. The university was placed on three years of probation.
The former recruiting coordinator was found in violation of ethical conduct bylaws and received an eight-year show-cause order. A show-cause penalty requires any NCAA institution that employs or seeks to employ the involved individual to demonstrate to the Committee on Infractions why a penalty should not be imposed upon the institution if it does not limit the individual's athletically related duties for a specified time.
In its report, the committee said the case was one of the more serious it has heard in recent years in terms of the scope and breadth of violations. Most of the information in the case was investigated and self-reported by the university, and the committee said the university acted quickly to investigate violations and punish those involved once it became aware of the activities.
The former recruiting coordinator conducted meetings with representatives of the university's athletics interests and collected donations from those in attendance at the end of the meeting. For example, at one meeting in 1999, he collected $1,200, at another in 2000, he collected more than $800. He told participants the funds would be used for football camps and recruiting.
During the same period of time, the former recruiting coordinator arranged for free lodging for prospective student-athletes and their families who were on unofficial nonpaid visits to the campus and did the same for other prospective student-athletes and their high-school coaches or others who accompanied them. The former recruiting coordinator also gave prospects and high-school coaches university apparel or other items, including game tickets to an away Kentucky football game.
Among specific incidences:
More descriptions of similar incidents are described in the full public report of the Committee on Infractions.
During two academic years, the former recruiting coordinator committed academic fraud by completing or assisting with course work for student-athletes. Beginning in November 1998, some football student-athletes who had academic deficiencies were required to study and complete class assignments in the recruiting coordinator's office. In one instance, the recruiting coordinator prepared a paper for a student-athlete's English class. The student-athlete's instructor returned the paper to him with questions as to whether he had actually done the work. The student-athlete later wrote another paper for submission.
The student-athlete's tutor provided a copy of the original paper to the director of academic services for the university's athletics department. The academic services director spoke to the recruiting coordinator, who said the young man had written the paper. He further said the young man had spent nine hours working on the paper and used a dictionary for all of the words he used. The academic services director spoke to the student-athlete and the class professor and then made a decision that the student-athlete be removed from the recruiting coordinator's study sessions. The next day, the director of academic services received a dictionary that had been autographed by the recruiting coordinator. She was insulted and immediately contacted a university associate director of athletics, who concurred with her decision to end the study sessions. Neither individual contacted the compliance office to express concerns.
That incident contributed to the committee's finding of lack of institutional control. The Committee on Infractions said it was concerned by what it believed was a breakdown in reporting of information relating to potential violations of academic fraud.
In its report, the committee said it reached a determination that a finding of lack of institutional control was appropriate because it "was troubled by the widespread nature of these undetected violations in time, frequency, and the number of individuals who would have some knowledge that the activities were improper and failed to report them to the proper authorities."
The committee's last area of concern regarding institutional control was the university's deficient oversight of expenditures of the Wildcat Club, a football organization. Funds from the organization were used during the 1996-97 year to reimburse assistant strength coaches and student assistants for monthly health insurance premiums. Then, during 1999-00 and 2000-01, the former head football coach requested that monthly checks of $700 be provided to his administrative assistant as supplemental pay.
The former head football coach was found for failure to monitor. The committee reached its finding because the head coach did not provide adequate monitoring of his recruiting coordinator's activities even after being told on three occasions about possible rules violations.
The coach disputed the finding, arguing that as a member of the institution's staff, he was not charged with monitoring responsibilities, according to NCAA bylaws. The committee responded that guidelines in its "Principles of Institutional Control" document outline that head coaches can be held responsible for failure to monitor their assistants and cited several previous cases where that finding has been made.
The committee considered the university's self-imposed corrective actions and penalties. Following is a list of the actions and self-imposed penalties:
The Committee on Infractions noted that Kentucky imposed appropriate corrective measures and meaningful penalties. The committee specifically cited the work of the assistant director of athletics for compliance. Members said their view of additional penalties was tempered by the actions taken by the university to institute changes and to quickly respond to allegations, adding that though there was a finding of a lack of institutional control, the finding did not have a significant impact on the penalties.
As required by NCAA legislation for any institution involved in a major infractions case, Kentucky is subject to the NCAA's repeat-violator provisions for a five-year period beginning on the effective date of the penalties in this case, January 31, 2002.
The members of the Division I Committee on Infractions who heard this case are: Thomas Yeager, committee chair and commissioner, Colonial Athletic Association, Paul Dee, athletics director, University of Miami (Florida), Josephine Potuto, professor of law, University of Nebraska, Lincoln, and a former members of the committee, Jack Friedenthal, professor of law, George Washington University, and Bonnie Slatton, chair, department of physical education and sports studies, University of Iowa.