ASU baseball receives a 2011 postseason ban

The NCAA Division I Committee on Infractions penalized ASU on Wednesday for major and secondary violations in its baseball program. While the committee accepted the eight self-imposed sanctions ASU has already levied it added a severe one of its own: a ban from next year's post-season.

The Committee on Infractions determined that this case involved a series of violations that occurred over more than five years, which consisted primarily of recruiting infractions, including the use of an impermissible recruiter and excessive phone calls.

Additional violations involved coaching staff limits and paying student-athletes for work not performed. The committee determined there was a lack of institutional control and a failure by the former head coach, Pat Murphy, to promote an atmosphere for compliance.

"The violations were the result of poor record keeping, failure to monitor and a cavalier attitude on the part of the former head baseball coach to NCAA regulations," the committee noted in its report. Further, the committee report notes that the university did not self-detect any of the violations in this case.

Penalties, including those self-imposed by the university, are three years probation, a ban on postseason baseball competition in 2011, scholarship reductions, a vacation of wins, recruiting restrictions and limitations on coaching activity during practice.

Murphy also received a one-year show-cause penalty, which outlines how his athletic duties must be limited at his present or future employing institutions.

In a school statement released by Virgil Renzulli, VP of Public Affairs at Arizona State University, agrees that the university it could have monitored -- and now does monitor -- the program more closely and for that reason it self-imposed significant sanctions, including vacating all wins during the 2007 baseball season, including a conference championship and College World Series games.

"However, many of the record keeping related violations were highly technical (some are not even violations under current NCAA rules)," Renzulli commented, "and one of the NCAA's added sanctions is unduly harsh under the circumstances.

"Thus, ASU intends to appeal the NCAA report because the university disagrees with some of the findings of fact and the characterization of some infractions as major rather than secondary. The university also intends to appeal the additional sanction of banning post-season baseball play in 2011, which punishes many student athletes and coaches who were not involved in the rules violations."

The NCAA report claims that ASU did not self-detect any of the violations in this case. Renzulli noted that this ignores the fact that it was ASU that first investigated and reported most of these violations.

Renzulli claimed that the report's finding of a lack of institutional control is inconsistent with the fact that overall ASU had and continues to have a very strong compliance program as the Pac-10 conference's 2009 compliance review report acknowledged:

"An NCAA compliance system can never bat a thousand, and there will never be a solution to the bad actor phenomenon where one coach or one student-athlete or one booster knowingly violates a rule or carelessly flouts an established policy," Renzulli explained.

"But a school can minimize its risks by building a compliance culture with trusted leadership and by carrying on hundreds of the small bureaucratic processes routinely and professionally. In my opinion, Intercollegiate Athletics at ASU has succeeded at this."

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