Northeastern men's basketball penalized

Northeastern University has been penalized by the NCAA for infractions that occurred during Duquesne Coach Ron Everhart's tenure at the Boston school involving a "booster" and an international player. The penalties include a cut in scholarship (1) and official recruiting visits (3) last season, censure, reprimand and probation for two years. The NCAA press release is included in this story.

From the NCAA information, it appears that Coach Everhart's and his director of basketball operations' mistake was not knowing stuff the booster and international player were doing. The penalties were enforced this past year, i.e., 2008-09.

Friday, April 24, 2009, NCAA press release:

    The NCAA Division I Committee on Infractions has placed Northeastern University on two years of probation and has reduced scholarships and recruiting privileges because of major violations in the school's men's basketball program.

    The case concerns recruiting violations, including impermissible benefits and recruiting activity by a booster. It also includes a failure-to-monitor charge for the former head men's basketball coach and the university.

    The case was resolved through the summary-disposition process, a cooperative effort in which the case is submitted in writing to the Committee on Infractions. The process replaces a formal hearing for cases in which the NCAA enforcement staff, the university and involved individuals agree to the facts of the case and the penalties proposed by the institution.

    The violations in this case resulted from men's basketball staff failing to recognize the impropriety of the booster's involvement with the student-athlete and the failure of the former associate director of athletics to question booster's participation in recruiting activities once she became aware of his possible involvement.

    Under NCAA rules, a booster is defined as someone who, among other possible factors, assists or is requested by the athletics department to assist in recruiting a prospective student-athlete.

    In this case, from the summer of 2003 through December 28, 2004, a booster assisted the men's basketball coaching staff recruit the international student-athlete and provided impermissible inducements to the student-athlete during his recruitment.

    Specifically, the booster had several e-mail exchanges and telephone calls with the student-athlete and at least one of his family members. He communicated with the young man to encourage him to travel to the United States to attend college, and they specifically discussed him attending Northeastern University.

    Unbeknownst to the former head coach or university (emphasis added), the booster purchased and provided a one-way plane ticket for the student-athlete so that he could travel from his home overseas to Boston to enroll at the university and become a member of the men's basketball team. When the young man arrived in Boston, the booster provided the young man with transportation from the airport to a hotel for one night's lodging in a room registered to the booster. The university ultimately paid for the room.

    In addition, the student-athlete made international long-distance calls using a calling card belonging to the university. The former director of basketball operations made several long-distance calls while the student-athlete was present to collect information on his amateur status and academic eligibility. During one such call, the student-athlete was able to view the calling-card information and personal identification code. The young man began making personal calls to his family in his home country. He made multiple calls through November 2005 at a total cost at $201.36. Although the university did not authorize the (international player's) personal calls, the former head coach and former director of operations failed to monitor the card's use and prevent the student-athlete from obtaining the necessary information to use the card. (emphasis added)

    The penalties in this case are as follows:

    • Public reprimand and censure.
    • Two years of probation (April 24, 2009, to April 23, 2011).
    • Reduction in men's basketball athletics scholarships to no more than 12 for the 2008-09 academic year. This represents a reduction of one scholarship from the maximum of 13.
    • Reduction in the number of official visits in men's basketball to nine for the 2008-09 academic year. This is reduction of three visits from the maximum of 12.

    The members of the Committee on Infractions who reviewed this case include Paul Dee, lecturer of law and education at the University of Miami (Florida) 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; and Dennis Thomas, the commissioner of the Mid-Eastern Athletic Conference and formerly director of athletics at Hampton University.


Our thanks to MFE08 for the tip.