University of South Carolina Case Resolved Through Summary Disposition Process
For Immediate Release
Wednesday, November 16, 2005
INDIANAPOLIS - The NCAA Division I Committee on Infractions has placed the University of South Carolina on three years probation for violations involving the football program.
The case was resolved through the summary disposition process rather than a formal hearing before the Committee on Infractions. Summary disposition is used when there is agreement among the institution, the NCAA enforcement staff and involved parties as to the facts of the case. The Committee on Infractions reviewed the agreement and the penalties recommended by the institution.
The committee adopted all of the institution's self-imposed penalties, but chose to add one year of probation to the two years recommended by South Carolina. It also added a penalty against the former senior associate athletics director, whose activities were central to the case.
The former senior associate athletics director received a finding of unethical conduct and a four-year show cause penalty. As a result, any NCAA member institution that intends to employ the former senior associate athletics director must appear before the Committee on Infractions to determine whether the hiring institution must impose limitations upon his activities.
The former senior associate athletics director arranged for impermissible tutoring for two junior college football prospects in summer 2001. It is impermissible for institutions to arrange tutoring for prospects. In addition, the prospects never paid the tutor.
Despite warnings from the tutor and the school's director of athletics academic services that the tutoring was improper, the former senior associate athletics director insisted he had approval.
"The former senior associate athletics director disagreed and incorrectly told (the tutor) he had received an NCAA rules interpretation stating that such pre-enrollment activities were permissible, the committee wrote in its public infractions report.
The former employee ultimately reported the violation in the fall of 2001, but not until the student-athletes had competed in two games for South Carolina.
The institution declared the two student-athletes ineligible and submitted reinstatement requests to the NCAA Student-Athlete Reinstatement staff. However, the fact that the student-athletes had already competed and the full value of the tutoring were not disclosed. This resulted in the student-athletes being reinstated without making full restitution, thereby invalidating their reinstatement. The result was that over a two-year period, one student-athlete competed in 11 contests and the other competed in 24 contests while ineligible. Corrected information was not made available until two years later.
In a separate finding in this case, a third football student-athlete was found to have received extra benefits from an academic dean at South Carolina during the 2002-03 academic year when he was placed on academic suspension for a second time.
Institutional policy at South Carolina requires all students suspended for a second time to appear before the college's Academic Standards and Petitions Committee to be reinstated.
Instead, the dean signed off on the reinstatement without a hearing. Because the student-athlete received a benefit not available to others in the student body, his reinstatement is considered an extra benefit.
It was also determined that a fourth football student-athlete received extra benefits when he was given transportation to assure he made it to class, practice, doctors appointments, weightlifting and tutoring.
The events surrounding the former employee, dean and four student-athletes resulted in a finding against the university of a lack of institutional control and a failure to monitor the athletics program. These findings are not only the result of rules violations, but also the institution's failure to adequately investigate the tutoring assistance and readmission process of two student-athletes.
In addition to probation and the show cause penalty again the former senior associate athletics director, the committee adopted a penalty of public reprimand and censure and the following penalties recommended by the institution:
- The institution may award two fewer football grants-in-aid for the 2005-06 and 2006-07 academic
- The institution may offer no more than 50 expense-paid campus visits to football prospects during the 2005-06 and 2006-07 recruiting periods. The normal limit is 56 per year.
The members of the Committee on Infractions who reviewed this case were Paul T. Dee, director of athletics, University of Miami (Florida); Alfred Lechner, Jr., vice-president, Tyco International (US) Inc., Princeton, New Jersey; Edward Leland, director of athletics, Stanford University; Andrea L. Myers, director of athletics, Indiana State University; James Park Jr., attorney, Lexington, Kentucky; committee acting chair Josephine R. Potuto, faculty athletics representative and professor of law, University of Nebraska; and Thomas E. Yeager, commissioner of the Colonial Athletic Association.