A. RECRUITING INDUCEMENTS - PROSPECTIVE STUDENT-ATHLETES AND HIGH-SCHOOL COACHES. [NCAA Bylaws 13.2.1, 13.2.2-(b), 13.2.2-(g), 13.2.2-(h), 18.104.22.168, 22.214.171.124, 126.96.36.199.1, 188.8.131.52.2, 13.9.1 and 13.15.1] ((PDF*)
During the 1998-99 through the 2000-01 academic years, the recruiting coordinator arranged or provided lodging, at no cost, as well as other inducements to prospective football student-athletes and their families while making unofficial visits to the institution's campus. Further, on one occasion, another assistant football coach purchased a meal for a prospective student-athlete at no cost to the young man. Finally, as a result of these inducements, each of these visits became a countable expense-paid visit to the university's campus. Specifically:
- On January 25, 1999, the recruiting coordinator charged lodging expenses for a prospective football student-athlete (henceforth, "prospect A") in the amount of $218.14 to his personal American Express card. The prospect had previously made an official-paid visit to the institution, and as a result of the recruiting coordinator paying these expenses, the young man received two expense-paid visits to the institution's campus.
- On September 26, 1999, the recruiting coordinator or his assistant (henceforth, "the recruiting assistant"), at the recruiting coordinator's instructions, went to a Lexington hotel and paid lodging expenses of $89 in cash for two prospective student-athletes from Memphis, Tennessee, (henceforth, "prospects B and C," respectively). Both of these prospects later made a second expense-paid visit to the university's campus.
- On April 23, 2000, the recruiting coordinator or the recruiting assistant, at the recruiting coordinator's instructions, went to a Lexington hotel and paid lodging expenses of $179.01 in cash for two other prospective student-athletes from Memphis, Tennessee, (henceforth, "prospects D and E," respectively) and one of their high-school assistant football coaches. The recruiting coordinator had reserved the rooms in the name of the head high-school football coach (henceforth, "head high-school coach 1"), for the two prospects. The hotel records listed head high-school coach 1's address as the University of Kentucky, Commonwealth Stadium.
Also, on Saturday, April 22, the day the young men arrived on campus, an assistant football coach (henceforth, "assistant football coach 1") purchased a meal for prospects D and E, who were visiting the institution's campus to attend the spring football game.
- On September 15 and again on October 8, 2000, the recruiting coordinator made cash payments at a Lexington hotel to cover the lodging expenses of a prospective student-athlete (henceforth, "prospect F"). In September, the recruiting coordinator made an advance payment of $100 for two night's lodging even though the young man only stayed one night. The hotel records showed an additional charge of $14.88 to cover the prospect's incidental expenses. In October, the recruiting coordinator paid $56.18 at the time the prospect checked out.
- On the weekend of November 3-5, 2000, the recruiting coordinator provided inducements to three prospective student-athletes (henceforth, "prospects G, H and I," respectively), head high-school football coach 1, the coach's girlfriend and two of head high-school coach 1's assistant coaches Specifically:
- On Saturday evening, November 4, 2000, and after a meal at a restaurant, the recruiting coordinator instructed a football student-athlete to get three jackets from the recruiting coordinator's vehicle and give them to prospective student-athletes G, H and I. The football student-athlete complied with the recruiting coordinator's instructions. The three prospects were not required to return the jackets.
- On Sunday, November 5, the recruiting coordinator met prospective student-athletes G, H and I; the three high-school coaches; and the head high-school coach's girlfriend at the local hotel in which the prospects and high-school coaches were staying; purchased their breakfast; and paid the group's lodging cost of $632 and incidental room expenses of $102.91 in cash.
- On Saturday evening, November 4, 2000, and after a meal at a restaurant, the recruiting coordinator instructed a football student-athlete to get three jackets from the recruiting coordinator's vehicle and give them to prospective student-athletes G, H and I. The football student-athlete complied with the recruiting coordinator's instructions. The three prospects were not required to return the jackets.
The committee, the institution and the enforcement staff agreed with the facts of this finding and that violations of NCAA legislation occurred. The recruiting coordinator acknowledged his involvement in Findings II-A-1, II-A-2, II-A-4 and II-A-5-(a) but denied his involvement in Findings II-A-3 and II-A-5-(b). The recruiting coordinator, in his response to the letter of official inquiry, provided no specific reasons for his denial. The recruiting coordinator refused to be interviewed by the enforcement staff. With specific reference to Finding II-A-3, the committee found that the evidence clearly established the recruiting coordinator's culpability. Among other things, this finding is supported by information provided by the recruiting assistant in interviews conducted with the enforcement staff and the institution. The recruiting assistant remembered the recruiting coordinator instructing her to make the hotel reservation in the name of head high-school coach 1, who coached at a high school in Memphis, Tennessee. The recruiting assistant also reported that after the recruiting coordinator became the director of football operations in January 1999, he began openly committing recruiting violations, which included paying the lodging and/or expenses of prospects, their family members and their high-school coaches. The recruiting assistant stated that on many occasions, the recruiting coordinator gave her cash and instructed her to go to local motels to pay for expenses incurred by prospects, their families and their high-school coaches. She also remembered that student workers were sometimes sent to the hotels to pay lodging expenses in cash. The recruiting assistant stated that the recruiting coordinator favored prospects and coaches from a particular high school in Memphis at which head high-school coach 1 was employed. The recruiting assistant reported that she was given cash by the recruiting coordinator and instructed to go to a hotel in Lexington to pay the incidental expenses incurred by head high-school coach 1 (Finding II-A-3). During the investigation, the recruiting assistant reported her knowledge of the recruiting coordinator sending apparel items to head high-school coach 1 and a high-school coach at a different Memphis high school (henceforth, "head high-school coach 2" -- see Finding II-C-2). The recruiting assistant also reported that she saw head high-school coach 1 and some of his prospects sitting in the institution's section of seats at an away football game in Oxford, Mississippi (Finding II-C-6).
The hotel records obtained by the institution corroborate the recruiting assistant. The room reservations were made in the name of head high-school coach 1, but his address is listed as the University of Kentucky Athletics Department (as reported by the recruiting assistant). The room charges were initially placed on the university's account. They were paid for in cash the day following the group's departure. Inasmuch as the payment occurred the day after the prospects checked out, it seems unlikely that payment was from a source other than someone associated with the institution.
Additional evidence of the recruiting coordinator's involvement in this finding is reflected in his pattern of paying expenses of prospects and his preferential treatment of head high-school coach 1. As previously noted in the findings admitted by the recruiting coordinator, he established a pattern of paying the expenses for unofficial visits with cash (the recruiting assistant acknowledged that sometimes she or student workers delivered these payments). Regarding the pattern of the recruiting coordinator's preferential treatment of head high-school coach 1, his assistant coaches and prospects from his high school, Findings II-A-3, II-A-5, II-B-1, II-C-1, II-C-2, II-C-3, II-C-5, II-C-6 and II-D concern impermissible inducements to head high-school coach 1 or others from his high school. Each of these findings was corroborated by independent statements or records obtained during the investigation. The committee thought it was telling that the recruiting coordinator denied each of the violations involving head high-school coach 1, despite the fact that he has admitted most of the violations in this inquiry.
With specific reference to Finding II-A-5-(b), another instance in which the recruiting coordinator paid the expenses incurred by prospects and associated individuals, the committee found the evidence clearly demonstrated that this occurred as set forth in the finding.
The recruiting assistant reported that prior to the weekend of the group's visit, the recruiting coordinator instructed her to make hotel reservations for a group of coaches and prospects from head high-school coach 1's school and put the reservation in the name of head high-school coach 1. The hotel records confirm that the reservations were in the head high-school coach's name. The recruiting assistant had an additional recollection of that weekend's lodging arrangements because the recruiting coordinator had a dispute with the hotel regarding the number of night's lodging the hotel was to charge for head high-school coach 1's group. Specifically, the recruiting coordinator argued that the group should have been charged for Saturday night only. However, the recruiting assistant recalled that because the group was scheduled to arrive before 6 a.m. on Saturday morning and the hotel could not sell the rooms on Friday night, the group was charged for two night's lodging.
The waitress who served breakfast to the group on the morning of November 5, 2000, reported that the recruiting coordinator was dining with a separate group in the same restaurant where head high-school coach 1's group was having breakfast. She specifically recalled the recruiting coordinator asking her to bring him the breakfast charges incurred by head high-school coach 1's group (in addition to head high-school coach 1, the group included his girlfriend; prospects G, H and I; head high-school coach 1's two assistant coaches). The recruiting coordinator placed the charges on his personal credit card, and a copy of the credit card receipt for this transaction was submitted in the university's response.
The general manager of the hotel had a clear recollection of the recruiting coordinator paying, in cash, the hotel bill incurred by head high-school coach 1's group on the morning in question. As a matter of procedure, the manager was summoned by the front desk clerk, who was required to report the receipt of such a large amount of cash.
B. RECRUITING INDUCEMENTS - PROSPECTIVE STUDENT-ATHLETES. [NCAA Bylaws 13.2.1, 13.2.2-(b), 13.2.2-(e), 13.2.2-(g), 13.2.2-(h), 184.108.40.206, 13.7.6 and 13.9.1] ((PDF*)
During the 1999-00 and 2000-01 academic years, the recruiting coordinator provided impermissible recruiting inducements to prospective student-athletes and individuals who accompanied the young men during their official-paid visits to the institution's campus. Specifically:
- During the weekend of November 19-21, 1999, five prospective football student-athletes (henceforth, "prospects J, K, L, M and N," respectively) were provided the following inducements:
- On instructions from the recruiting coordinator, the recruiting assistant paid the incidental expenses incurred by the five young men for telephone calls ($83.48 total) and in-room movies ($309.42 total) at the Lexington hotel where they stayed.
- On Saturday, November 20, the recruiting coordinator instructed the equipment staff to issue five jackets for the young men to wear during a home football game on the institution's campus. Four of the prospects (prospects J, K, L and M) were not required to return the jackets.
- The recruiting coordinator gave $60 to prospect J on Sunday November 21 in order for the young man to go shopping at stores adjacent to the hotel where he was staying.
- On Monday, November 22, after the 48-hour period of the official paid visit weekend had ended, the recruiting assistant paid the Sunday night lodging expense of $83.48 incurred by the parents of prospect N on instructions from the recruiting coordinator.
- On instructions from the recruiting coordinator, the recruiting assistant paid the incidental expenses incurred by the five young men for telephone calls ($83.48 total) and in-room movies ($309.42 total) at the Lexington hotel where they stayed.
- During the weekend of December 17-19, 1999, the recruiting coordinator arranged for direct billing to the athletics department of $190.29 in lodging and incidental expenses incurred by head high-school coach 2 and prospect C. The recruiting coordinator told his recruiting assistant to falsely identify head high-school coach 2 as prospect C's legal guardian on institutional recruiting forms. The recruiting coordinator also purchased three meals for head high-school coach 2 totaling $76.57.
- During the weekend of November 11-12, 2000, the recruiting coordinator paid cash at a local hotel to cover the expenses of $84.30 incurred by a high-school chaplain of a prospective football student-athlete (henceforth, "prospect O"). The recruiting coordinator also purchased two meals for the chaplain totaling $52.90 and paid $2 to cover incidental expenses.
The committee, the institution and the enforcement staff agreed with the facts of this finding and that violations of NCAA legislation occurred. The recruiting coordinator agreed with the majority of the findings but disputed that he provided cash to the prospect as set forth in Finding II-B-1-(c).
With specific reference to Finding II-B-1-(c), the provision of cash to a visiting prospect by the recruiting coordinator, the committee made this finding based upon the specific information provided by the prospect, the pattern established by the recruiting coordinator in providing recruiting inducements and the recruiting coordinator's general lack of credibility as demonstrated throughout these findings.
Prospect J reported that the recruiting coordinator provided him $60 cash to go shopping. Prospect J reported that after he got in the recruiting coordinator's truck to drive to the airport, the recruiting coordinator asked him if he had seen anything in the mall (a shopping area next to the hotel) that he liked. Prospect J replied that he was interested in some UK athletics apparel he had seen. The recruiting coordinator asked prospect J if he wanted these items, and prospect J said yes. The recruiting coordinator gave him $60 and told him to shop while the recruiting coordinator waited. Prospect J purchased a blue and white visor and a beanie, each with a UK logo on it at a total cost of approximately $34 and he kept the balance of the cash ($26). Upon returning to the recruiting coordinator's truck, the recruiting coordinator told prospect J that blue and white looked good on him. According to prospect J, the recruiting coordinator warned him not to talk about receiving the hats, but if he decided to attend Kentucky, "Stuff like this can continue to happen." The recruiting coordinator also told him that they could get him "back and forth" between campus and home if prospect J committed to the institution.
Prospect J remembered that after telling the recruiting coordinator he was not going to attend the institution, the recruiting coordinator became angry and accused the young man of backing out of the deal they had as a result of benefits provided to him on his visit. Specifically, during his final in-person contact by assistant football coach 1 and another assistant football coach, prospect J told them he was not going to attend the institution; assistant football coach 1 called the recruiting coordinator, who spoke with prospect J. During the conversation, the recruiting coordinator mentioned the items prospect J purchased with money provided by him. After prospect J said there was no deal, he recalled the recruiting coordinator stating, "What about the stuff inside the truck?" Prospect J said the recruiting coordinator was angry, but assistant football coach 1 and the other coach did not pressure him.
C. RECRUITING INDUCEMENTS - HIGH-SCHOOL COACHES. [NCAA Bylaws 13.2.1, 13.9.2 and 13.13.2] ((PDF*)
Between January 1999 and November 2000, the recruiting coordinator provided impermissible benefits to several high-school football coaches. Specifically:
- On October 25, 2000, the recruiting coordinator provided $1,400 cash to a student worker (henceforth, "student worker 1") and instructed her to purchase money orders and mail them to head high-school coach 1 in Memphis, Tennessee. The student worker purchased the money orders in one $200 and three $400 denominations at a credit union on campus and sent them to head high-school coach 1. The recruiting coordinator provided this payment to head high-school coach 1 as an incentive for him to encourage prospects to attend the institution.
- On numerous occasions between January 1999 and April 2000, the recruiting coordinator and/or student workers acting at the recruiting coordinator's instructions, mailed institutional athletics apparel items such as hats, shirts and sweat suits to high-school coaches. The items were obtained from the institution's equipment staff. Many items were sent to head high-school coaches 1 and 2, who coached prospects recruited by the institution.
- In April 2000, during the institution's football coaching clinic, the recruiting coordinator instructed the recruiting assistant to pay the hotel room and mini-bar charges of the assistant high-school football coaches who accompanied head high-school coach 1 from Memphis to the clinic where he was a guest speaker. The assistant paid the mini-bar charge of $349.29 with cash provided by the recruiting coordinator and had the room charges of $487.47 direct billed to the institution's athletics department.
- In April 2000, the recruiting coordinator instructed the recruiting assistant to provide a complimentary room at a local hotel for a head high-school football coach from Illinois, who was attending the institution's spring football game. The room was directly billed to the athletics department as an expense related to its football clinic that had been held the previous week.
- In June 2000, based upon the recruiting coordinator's instruction, the director of the football camp authorized payment of $825 to head high-school coach 1 for his role as a "consultant" during the institution's summer football camp (Air Raid I) even though head high-school coach 1 did not perform any tasks normally required of an individual acting as a consultant.
- On September 30, 2000, the recruiting coordinator provided six tickets to head high-school coach 1 to be used by head high-school coach 1, members of his coaching staff and prospective student-athletes to attend the university's away football game in Oxford, Mississippi. Subsequent to the game, head high-school coach 1, the prospects and the assistant coaches were provided box lunches that were prepared for the institution's football team. The recruiting coordinator initially gave cash to a student worker (henceforth, "student worker 2") to purchase these tickets.
The committee, the institution and the enforcement staff agreed with the facts in this finding and that violations of NCAA legislation occurred. The recruiting coordinator acknowledged responsibility for violations in Findings II-C-2, II-C-3 and II-C-4, but disputed that he committed violations as set forth in Findings II-C-1, II-C-5 and II-C-6.
With regard to Finding II-C-1, when confronted with receipts for the money orders, the recruiting coordinator acknowledged sending the $1,400 to head high-school coach 1. However, following several different versions, his final position was that the money was remuneration for work ostensibly performed by head high-school coach 1's assistant coaches at the institution's football camp in June 2000 who were underpaid, rather than an inducement for head high-school coach 1 to encourage prospects from his high-school to attend the institution, as he initially reported during an interview conducted in January 2001. The recruiting coordinator now claims that he was "protecting" head high-school coach 1 by stating in January that the $1,400 was a recruiting inducement.
As previously indicated, the recruiting coordinator initially admitted to providing these funds to head high-school coach 1 as a recruiting inducement. Specifically, on January 4, 2001, the recruiting coordinator was asked about his knowledge of the four money orders sent to head high-school coach 1, and he denied any knowledge of them. The recruiting coordinator stated that the first time he became aware of the money orders was when they were shown to him by a reporter. At the conclusion of the interview, the Southeastern Conference Commissioner pointed out that there was significant evidence indicating that the recruiting coordinator was not forthcoming in his responses and gave him 24 hours to reconsider the responses he had given. The next morning, the recruiting coordinator requested a further interview. At the beginning of the interview, his attorney indicated that the recruiting coordinator accepted responsibility for sending the $1,400 in money orders to head high-school coach 1 by having student worker 1 purchase them and send them to head high-school coach 1. The recruiting coordinator indicated that he asked head high-school coach 1 to be quiet about the money, after which head high-school coach 1 told the recruiting coordinator that what he had done was wrong. The recruiting coordinator went on to state that the purpose of sending the money to head high-school coach 1 was to influence head high-school coach 1 to bring his student-athletes on visits to the institution.
The committee concluded that the recruiting coordinator's latest explanation regarding the purpose and method of payment is simply not believable. Other high-school coaches who worked the camp were paid with a check drawn on the camp account contemporaneous with the camp's conclusion. To believe that the recruiting coordinator decided to pay the high-school assistants by having a student worker who was not involved with the camps buy the money orders with cash and mail them to head high-school coach 1 four months after the camp lacks reason. If the money was a legitimate payment to the assistant coaches, logic dictates that the payment would have been sent to them and not to head high-school coach 1 and the recruiting coordinator would have contacted the camp director or the head football coach about the money owed to the high-school assistant coaches for work performed at the camp. Moreover, the explanation that he (the recruiting coordinator) was trying to "protect" head high-school coach 1 also lacks credibility. How would a high-school coach accepting a large cash payment from a college coach to send the high-school coach's prospects to a particular university "protect" the high-school coach? Furthermore, the recruiting coordinator had no reason to instruct head high-school coach 1 to keep quiet about the money if the payments were legitimate, as claimed by the recruiting coordinator. Finally, the committee noted that these payments occurred less than two weeks prior to head high-school coach 1 bringing a group of prospective student-athletes (and high-school assistant coaches) to campus the weekend of November 3-5, 2000, (Finding II-A-5). These young men and their coaches received free lodging and meals in conjunction with that trip.
Regarding Finding II-C-5, excessive payment to head high-school coach 1 for work ostensibly performed at a university football camp, the recruiting coordinator denied that head high-school coach 1 was overpaid. The recruiting coordinator told the institution that head high-school coach 1 worked for the money he was paid. Specifically, the recruiting coordinator stated that the camp director contacted him and asked what to pay head high-school coach 1, to which the recruiting coordinator responded that the camp director should pay him the highest rate for a coach. According to the recruiting coordinator, when the camp director pointed out to the recruiting coordinator that there were different levels of payment available to the high-school coaches, the recruiting coordinator informed him that head high-school coach 1 had done "an outstanding job" and had brought 16 prospects to the camp. Therefore, the recruiting coordinator felt head high-school coach 1 should be paid the maximum amount. During that same interview, the recruiting coordinator described the duties head high-school coach 1 performed at the camp. The institution reported that these duties more closely resembled a camp counselor than a camp consultant. Counselors were paid $325; consultants were paid $825.
The camp director stated that head high-school coach 1 came to a session of the camp with two of his assistant coaches and 16 prospects. The camp director observed head high-school coach 1 throughout the camp and noted that head high-school coach 1 did not work but spent his time walking around with the recruiting coordinator. At one point, head high-school coach 1 coached the prospects he brought with him in some limited drills. At the end of the camp, the camp director noticed that head high-school coach 1's name was included on the list of high-school coaches who were to be paid for working the camp. The camp director asked the recruiting coordinator how much head high-school coach 1 should be paid, and the recruiting coordinator responded that head high-school coach 1 should be paid the maximum amount. As a result, head high-school coach 1 was paid $825, consistent with the salary paid to those high-school coaches who had greater responsibilities. The camp director observed that head high-school coach 1's level of work at the camp "wasn't anywhere near" that done by other coaches who were paid the $825 amount received by head high-school coach 1.
In reference to Finding II-C-6, the provision of complimentary tickets and meals to head high-school coach 1 and prospects coached by him, the recruiting coordinator denied obtaining tickets for them to attend a road game. The recruiting coordinator's recollection was that he purchased tickets prior to the game for a representative of the institution's athletics interests (henceforth, "athletics representative 1") and he would have sent someone to the ticket office to purchase the tickets he gave the athletics representative. The recruiting coordinator was unable to recall if he sent student worker 2 to buy his tickets.
The committee noted that there were a number of individuals who provided information that cast doubt on the recruiting coordinator's account regarding this issue. First, athletics representative 1 reported that he attended the road game in question on September 30, 2000, but used his own tickets and did not get any tickets from the recruiting coordinator. Athletics representative 1 stated that he did not supply tickets to head high-school coach 1 or any of his prospects, had no contact with head high-school coach 1 or any of his players during the game, and did not go to the locker room area following the game.
The director of administrative services at the institution is responsible for operating the pass gate at away football games where players' families and guests are required to go in order to obtain their complimentary game passes. The director of administrative services remembered that the recruiting coordinator requested to purchase six tickets and she was able to accommodate the request because not all of the players had requested their full allotment of tickets for the away game. The director of administrative services' records indicated that tickets purchased by the recruiting coordinator were in the same location where head high-school coach 1 and his group were reportedly seen by the recruiting assistant.
The recruiting assistant recalled seeing head high-school coach 1, some of his players and assistant coaches at the road game in question. The assistant described the location of their seats in relationship to where she and her daughter were seated. The recruiting assistant's daughter had kept the ticket stub from her seat, and the institution used it to determine the section and row in which head high-school coach 1 and his group had been seated. The institution's ticket office confirmed that seats in that row had been included with those reserved for players' families.
Student worker 2 confirmed that a day or two prior to the university's away football game at Mississippi, the recruiting coordinator gave him cash and instructed him to purchase six tickets. Student worker 2 purchased the tickets and gave them to the recruiting coordinator.
The institution's trainer was responsible for providing post game meals for the team. The trainer recalled that after the away game at Mississippi, a student assistant told him they were running short on meals because head high-school coach 1's group ate the extra box lunches.
D. RECRUITING INDUCEMENTS - PROSPECTIVE STUDENT-ATHLETES. [NCAA Bylaws 13.2.1, 13.2.2-(e), 13.2.2-(g) and 13.16.1] ((PDF*)
During the spring and summer of 2000, while recruiting prospects B, D and E, the recruiting coordinator and another assistant football coach provided impermissible financial assistance to the young men. Specifically:
- During the spring of 2000, the recruiting coordinator provided $40 to student workers in the athletics department and instructed them to obtain two $20 money orders and to attach them to the admission applications of prospects D and E, which they did. The recruiting coordinator then directed them to take the applications and money orders to the institution's admissions office in order to ensure that the young men's applications for enrollment were paid.
- On July 9, 2000, prior to his initial enrollment at the institution, prospect D flew to Lexington and was greeted at the airport by the recruiting coordinator and assistant football coach 1. The assistant football coach transported the young man to campus and also purchased a meal for prospect D.
- In July 2000, after two of the prospects moved to Lexington during the summer but prior to their initial full-time enrollment, the recruiting coordinator made cash payments of $265 and $392.50 for the dormitory room rental of prospects B and D.
- In July 2000, after being informed in writing that the score he achieved during an April 2000 administration of the American College Test (ACT) session was being questioned, prospect D moved to Lexington for the summer before deciding to study for a retake of the exam in August. The recruiting coordinator then gave at least $100 to the young man to pay for tutorial services. Prior to the exam, prospect D met with the tutor for five one-hour sessions.
The committee, the institution and the enforcement staff agreed with the facts of this finding and that violations of NCAA legislation occurred. The recruiting coordinator agreed with the facts in Findings II-D-1, II-D-2 and II-D-4, and that violations of legislation occurred. Further, the recruiting coordinator agreed with the facts in Finding II-D-3 as they relate to prospect D and that violations of NCAA legislation occurred. However, the recruiting coordinator disagreed with the facts in subparagraph II-D-3 as they pertain to prospect B; therefore he disputed that a violation of NCAA legislation occurred in that instance.
With respect to the disputed portion of Finding II-D-3, the provision of dormitory charges incurred by prospect B during the summer of 2000, the committee noted that information provided by prospect B and his family, combined with circumstantial evidence, supported this finding. The committee also took into account the recruiting coordinator's pattern of involvement in similar violations of NCAA legislation and his general lack of credibility.
Prospect B stated that he competed in a high school all-star game at the institution's campus on June 23, 2000. Prior to the game, the recruiting coordinator asked prospect B to stay at the institution for the remainder of the summer following the all-star game. On the Sunday morning following the all-star game, prospect B and his parents met the recruiting coordinator at the institution's stadium where the recruiting coordinator and two student assistants loaded prospect B's possessions into a vehicle and drove him to a campus dormitory. Prospect B went to the front desk, gave the attendant his name and received a key. No payment was discussed at the time, nor at any other time for the remainder of the summer. Prospect B thought the dormitory rental was included in his grant-in-aid since he was not required to pay for his room.
Prospect B's father reported that following the recruiting coordinator's request that his son live on campus during the summer, he and his wife decided prospect B could remain in Lexington following the all-star game. The prospect's father and mother were unaware that it was impermissible for their son to stay in a dormitory at no charge during the summer before his enrollment. Prospect B's parents believed that their son's expenses could be paid as part of his grant-in-aid.
Institutional records show that two cash payments were made on campus to procure prospect B's dormitory room for the summer, $132.50 was paid on June 17 and another $260 was paid on June 22, 2000. Both payments were made before the young man's participation in the all-star game or arrival on campus.
E. IMPERMISSIBLE TRYOUT. [NCAA Bylaw 13.12.1] ((PDF*)
In the spring of 2000, while recruiting a prospective football student-athlete (henceforth, "prospect P") the recruiting coordinator conducted an impermissible tryout with the young man at his high school. Specifically, the recruiting coordinator made an impermissible contact with the young man at his high school and then went outside and observed him demonstrate his kicking abilities. The recruiting coordinator then instructed the young man to tell no one what had transpired and invited the prospect on an official paid visit and offered him a full grant-in-aid to attend the institution.
The facts in the above finding were self-reported by the institution and were not disputed. The enforcement staff, the committee and the recruiting coordinator agreed that a violation of NCAA legislation occurred.
F. UNETHICAL CONDUCT - ACADEMIC FRAUD. [NCAA Bylaws 10.1 and 10.1-(b)] ((PDF*)
During the 1998-99 and 1999-00 academic years, the recruiting coordinator engaged in unethical conduct when he knowingly committed academic fraud by preparing papers for enrolled student-athletes. On some occasions during the 1998-99 academic year, the recruiting coordinator arranged for a student assistant to type the young men's papers. Specifically:
- In February 1999, the recruiting coordinator assisted in the drafting of one paper for a student-athlete (henceforth, "student-athlete 1") that the young man submitted for an English class assignment. However, when the instructor questioned if it was his work, the student-athlete prepared a different paper, which he then submitted to complete the class assignment.
- On other occasions, the recruiting coordinator inserted sentences and paragraphs into papers being prepared by student-athlete 1 and another student-athlete (henceforth, "student-athlete 2"). However, normally the young men would remove these insertions before submitting the papers for course credit.
- During the 1999 fall semester, while a student-athlete (henceforth, "student-athlete 3") was attempting to complete a final term paper in a political science course, the recruiting coordinator provided the young man with information to include in the paper. The student-athlete submitted the completed paper for academic credit but received a grade of F in the course.
The committee, the institution and the enforcement staff agreed with the facts in this finding and that violations of NCAA legislation occurred. The recruiting coordinator denied that he engaged in any academic fraud; therefore he did not agree that violations of NCAA legislation occurred.
The committee noted there was no dispute that beginning in late November 1998, certain academically deficient football student-athletes were required to spend time in the recruiting coordinator's office where they were to study and complete class assignments. The study sessions were organized by the recruiting coordinator with the knowledge and approval of the head football coach. These sessions were supervised by either the recruiting coordinator, some of his student assistants or both. During at least some of the sessions, the recruiting coordinator provided written passages and oral suggestions to some of the student-athletes to aid them in completing writing assignments and other homework. These sessions were conducted outside the normal tutoring sessions administered through the university's Center for Academic and Tutorial Services (CATS).
With specific reference to providing improper academic assistance in the completion of three student-athletes' course assignments, the recruiting coordinator denied that he knowingly engaged in academic fraud during the study sessions that took place in his office, though he acknowledged that, at times, he wrote passages and suggested wording changes to student-athletes in the sessions.
A former student assistant (henceforth, "student worker 3"), who was assigned to the recruiting coordinator, explained that the recruiting coordinator "took matters into his own hands" when certain football student-athletes were not performing in a satisfactory manner academically. The recruiting coordinator began forcing the student-athletes to come to the football office where he stood over their shoulder while they did their school assignments. Among the players forced to come to the sessions were student-athletes 1, 2 and 3. Student worker 3 recalled being given a handwritten essay by the recruiting coordinator and being instructed by the recruiting coordinator to type the paper for student-athlete 1 to present for one of the young man's classes. A copy of those documents, including the handwritten version of the paper on the recruiting coordinator's personal stationery, as well as the final version typed by student worker 3, were provided by the institution to the committee. Student worker 3 stated that he had prepared other papers for student-athletes in much the same manner, which the recruiting coordinator either dictated to him while student worker 3 typed, or typed from a handwritten copy delivered to him by the recruiting coordinator. To the best of his recollection, student worker 3 prepared items for student-athletes 1 and 2, as well as other student-athletes.
Student-athlete 1 stated that because of academic deficiencies, he was required to attend study sessions in the recruiting coordinator's office at the beginning of the 1999 spring semester. Student-athlete 1 attended the sessions with two fellow football student-athletes, including student-athlete 2, among others. Student-athlete 1 indicated that if he had a paper or major project due, the recruiting coordinator either made sure he worked on it or assisted him in finishing it. Student-athlete 1 related a situation where he had an English paper due on the subject of Aunt Jemimah as a stereotypical racist symbol. Student-athlete 1 stated that when he arrived at the recruiting coordinator's office, the recruiting coordinator had him sit down and dictated the paper while a student assistant typed it. Student-athlete 1 added that he could not pronounce or understand many of the words, though he handed the paper in as a rough draft. Student-athlete 1 reported that the instructor returned the paper to him with questions as to whether he had actually done the work. Student-athlete 1's tutor advised him not to turn in the paper, and he later wrote a different paper that was submitted for his final grade. In the interim, the recruiting coordinator wrote another paper for submission for student-athlete 1 (the paper supplied to university investigators by student worker 3). However, student-athlete 1 never submitted that paper for credit and could not recall ever seeing it.
The director of academic services for the department of athletics corroborates student-athlete 1 with regard to the Aunt Jemimah paper. The academic director's suspicions were aroused when a tutor came to her with a copy of a paper ostensibly prepared by student-athlete 1. The paper was a draft of an assignment for an English class, and she recalled that the subject matter dealt with Aunt Jemimah as a racist symbol. After reviewing the paper, the director of academic services had no doubt that student-athlete 1 had not prepared it. She based her opinion on the wording used in the paper.
Knowing that student-athlete 1 was in the recruiting coordinator's disciplinary program, the director of academic services immediately called the recruiting coordinator to voice her concern. The recruiting coordinator responded that student-athlete 1 had sat in his office for nine hours and used a dictionary to look up every word used in the paper. The director of academic services then met with student-athlete 1 and suggested that the young man "rework" the paper. The director of academic services explained the institutional plagiarism policy to him and gave him the choice as to whether or not he would hand in the paper for academic credit. The director of academic services also contacted student-athlete 1's English professor, who indicated that at that time, student-athlete 1 had not turned in a paper that did not seem to be his own work. The director of academic services also made the decision that student-athlete 1 would be removed from the recruiting coordinator's disciplinary study sessions. The following morning, one of the director's assistants came to see her bearing a dictionary autographed by the recruiting coordinator. The director of academic services took the recruiting coordinator's action as an insult to the tutoring program, causing her to conclude that improper activities were taking place in the recruiting coordinator's sessions. The director of academic services immediately contacted the associate director of athletics, who agreed that the disciplinary sessions should cease. Neither individual, however, reported her concerns to the compliance office (Finding II-M).
Student-athlete 2 stated that in either late January or early February 1999, the recruiting coordinator told him that it was mandatory for student-athlete 2 to come to the recruiting coordinator's office to do his schoolwork. Student-athlete 2 recalled that the recruiting coordinator and student worker 3 were present for the majority of the sessions. Student-athlete 2 indicated that if he had a paper due, he brought the rough draft to the recruiting coordinator. The recruiting coordinator then reviewed the paper and made insertions if necessary. If the recruiting coordinator saw something he did not like, he would usually suggest that student-athlete 2 use other specific wording. Student-athlete 2 indicated that the insertions supplied by the recruiting coordinator were no longer than three sentences to a paragraph. He added that at times, student worker 3 would type his papers.
In reference to Finding II-F-3, academic fraud associated with the recruiting coordinator's efforts in assisting student-athlete 3 in the completion of a final paper, the recruiting coordinator disagreed with the finding and denied he knowingly engaged in academic fraud by providing student-athlete 3 with material for his political science final paper. There was no dispute that on occasion, the recruiting coordinator wrote passages and suggested wording for student-athletes and completed papers and/or projects in his study sessions. In this particular instance, the committee concluded that the recruiting coordinator provided student-athlete 3 with material included in the young man's final paper for his political science class.
Student-athlete 3 reported that from approximately mid-November 1999 through the end of the semester, he was required by the recruiting coordinator to report to his (the recruiting coordinator's) office every day to complete his school assignments. Toward the end of the semester, student-athlete 3 was required to write a final paper in a political science course, which was to be 10 to 12 pages long. Student-athlete 3 spent approximately seven hours in the recruiting coordinator's office while the recruiting coordinator instructed him what to write while student-athlete 3 typed the paper. A student assistant was also present to make sure that student-athlete 3 completed the paper. Student-athlete 3 reported that he submitted the paper, but failed the course.
G. UNETHICAL CONDUCT, RECRUITING VIOLATION. [Constitution 2.2.5 and NCAA Bylaws 10.1 and 13.2.1] ((PDF*)
On three occasions during the 1998-99 academic year, the recruiting coordinator engaged in unethical conduct by preparing false documents pertaining to admissions criteria and other facts of specific degree programs at the institution. He then forged letterhead and the signature of the appropriate dean or professor in charge of these academic areas and sent the letter to three prospective student-athletes and their families. This information was sent in an attempt to assure the young men that they would be admitted into academic programs in their areas of interest.
The facts in this finding were self-reported by the institution and were not disputed. The committee, the enforcement staff and all involved parties agreed that a violation of NCAA legislation occurred. This was an unusual violation because it did not involve a tangible benefit or service to a prospect. In one instance, the recruiting coordinator created a fraudulent letter from the college of medicine outlining a fictional three-point policy that guaranteed admission to medical school for a student-athlete who met certain criteria. Based upon the evidence presented at the hearing, the committee has the authority to make findings on its own, especially as they may relate to unethical conduct and a lack of institutional control. In this instance, the committee concluded that the misrepresentation about admission into an academic discipline should be treated not only as a recruiting violation but also as a violation of ethical-conduct legislation.
H. FALSIFICATION OF RECRUITING RECORDS. [NCAA Bylaws 220.127.116.11.2, 13.7.6 and 13.8] ((PDF*)
During the 1998-99 and 1999-00 academic years, the recruiting coordinator instructed the recruiting assistant to falsify meal receipts obtained from restaurants during recruiting weekends so that the athletics department could pay the meals of individuals not permitted to receive them (i.e., individuals other than parents, legal guardians, spouses or student hosts). Specifically, after the meals, the recruiting assistant substituted the names of coaching staff members who had not been present in the place of individuals who had received the meals. Further, on at least two occasions, the recruiting coordinator provided a free meal to a student-athlete who was a student host for prospective student-athletes making unofficial visits to the institution.
The facts in this finding were self-reported by the institution and were not disputed. The committee, the institution, the enforcement staff and all involved staff members agreed that a violation of NCAA legislation occurred.
I. INSTITUTIONAL CONTROL OF RECRUITING FUNDS. [NCAA Bylaw 13.15.1] ((PDF*)
During the summers of 1999 and 2000, the recruiting coordinator solicited and received cash to be used for recruiting purposes during meetings with representatives of the university's athletics interests. Specifically:
- In the summers of 1999 and 2000, the recruiting coordinator spoke to a group of approximately 10 to 12 football boosters in Hopkinsville, Kentucky. After his speeches, the recruiting coordinator "passed the hat" to pay his expenses and to assist the football program. He collected approximately $1,200 in 1999 and over $800 in 2000 from the boosters.
- At an August 2000 meeting in Lexington, Kentucky, the recruiting coordinator solicited a $1,500 financial contribution from two representatives of the university's athletics interests (henceforth, "athletics representatives 2 and 3," respectively). The recruiting coordinator told the two representatives that the money would be used for football camps and "to help bring recruits in." Some time after the meeting, athletics representative 2 provided $1,500 cash and athletics representative 3 provided $1,000 cash to the recruiting coordinator. The meeting occurred at the home of athletics representative 1 and was organized by another representative of the university's athletics interests (henceforth, "athletics representative 4").
The committee, the institution and the enforcement staff were in agreement with the facts of this finding and that violations of NCAA legislation occurred. In his interviews with the university before he was terminated, the recruiting coordinator initially denied having any meetings to raise funds for the football program and contended that his sources of income were limited to his university salary and receipts from the football program's camps and clinics. Later, in his written response, the recruiting coordinator admitted that he spoke to booster groups during the summers of 1999 and 2000 and received payments for these speaking engagements. He asserted, however, that he never received more than $500 at any one of his speaking engagements and did not violate NCAA legislation. It should be noted that based on information developed by the NCAA and the institution, it was determined that the recruiting coordinator solicited funds on the basis that the funds would be used to assist the football program's recruiting efforts. Therefore, Bylaw 13.15.1 regarding control of recruiting funds was cited, rather than Bylaw 11.3.1, which pertains to institutional control of a staff member's salary.
With regard to Finding II-I-1, there was some dispute with regard to the amount of money the recruiting coordinator received as a result of his solicitations of boosters in Hopkinsville. The recruiting coordinator admitted to receiving money for speaking to groups to discuss the football program in 1999 and 2000. In his written response, the recruiting coordinator did not specifically address whether he attended meetings in Hopkinsville, Kentucky, but claimed that he never received more than $500 for any event, the threshold limit for reporting outside income under NCAA legislation.
A Hopkinsville business owner who is also a representative of the institution's athletics interest (henceforth, "athletics representative 5") reported that the recruiting coordinator spoke at two meetings in Hopkinsville, one in the summer of 1999 and the other in the summer of 2000, and that 10 or 12 institutional football supporters invited by athletics representative 5 attended each meeting. At the end of each meeting, they "passed the hat" and collected approximately $1,200 in 1999 and $800 to $900 in 2000. The purpose of the collection was to cover the recruiting coordinator's expenses and to "help with the football program." Athletics representative 5 stated his understanding was that similar meetings were held in Louisville and other cities across the state. Athletics representative 5 reported that he personally attended a similar meeting in Princeton, Kentucky.
With regard to Finding II-I-2, the solicitation of two athletics representatives by the recruiting coordinator for $2,500 to be used for recruiting purposes, the recruiting coordinator disputed the facts and denied that any violations of NCAA legislation took place.
Athletics representative 2, a Lexington businessman, reported that in early August 2000, he was contacted by either his brother (athletics representative 3) or an acquaintance (athletics representative 4) about joining a group that met weekly during the football season to watch game films and talk strategy with the recruiting coordinator. Subsequent to being asked to join the group, athletics representative 2 and his brother met with the recruiting coordinator at the home of a person whose last name was "(athletics representative 1's last name) or something like that," who lived "off of (a residential street in Lexington)." During the meeting, the recruiting coordinator discussed the fact that college athletics are very competitive and the need for Kentucky to keep pace with other conference schools. In that context, the recruiting coordinator asked for a donation of $1,500 from athletics representatives 2 and 3. The recruiting coordinator said the money was needed to assist financially disadvantaged prospects to attend football camps. Athletics representative 2 indicated that he willingly made the donation to become a member of the group, learn about the program and to get acquainted with the coaches. Athletics representative 3 did not make the donation on the same night as his initial meeting with the recruiting coordinator, as he wanted to think about the solicitation. At a later time, athletics representative 2 obtained $1,500 in cash and gave it to his brother (athletics representative 3) to pass on to the recruiting coordinator. Athletics representative 2 reported that he received no receipt or documentation verifying he had made the donation. Athletics representative 2 eventually attended three or four meetings of the group at a local restaurant.
Athletics representative 3 was interviewed by the institution in March 2001 and by the enforcement staff on May 15, 2001. Athletics representative 3 is another Lexington businessman who was approached by athletics representative 4 in late summer 2000 about contributing money to the recruiting coordinator and joining a group of football boosters who met weekly at a local restaurant to watch films and hear the recruiting coordinator speak about the program. Athletics representative 3 remembered being driven to athletics representative 1's house by athletics representative 4 where he had a meeting with the recruiting coordinator, at which time the recruiting coordinator asked for a $1,500 donation in exchange for being a part of the weekly meetings. The recruiting coordinator explained that the money would be used to "help bring recruits in and not for illegal activities." Shortly after meeting with the recruiting coordinator, athletics representative 3 recalled being driven by athletics representative 4 to an automatic teller machine and then back to the house where he delivered $1,000 to the recruiting coordinator.
Athletics representative 4 was interviewed by the institution as part of its internal investigation. Athletics representative 4 refused to divulge the individual's home to which he transported athletics representative 3. However, athletics representative 4 reported that he had attended three or four meetings at a local restaurant and had, at one point, provided to the recruiting coordinator a $500 cash donation. After his initial conversation with the university, athletics representative 4 refused to speak further with the institution or the NCAA enforcement staff.
Another Lexington business owner (henceforth, "athletics representative 6") reported that during either July or August 1999, he was solicited by a local stockbroker (henceforth, "athletics representative 7") to provide cash to the recruiting coordinator. Athletics representative 6 received a telephone call from athletics representative 7, who indicated that athletics representative 6 could help the recruiting coordinator by providing financial support to help the recruiting coordinator "take care of some things with high-school coaches and principals." Athletics representative 7 explained that the recruiting coordinator would be calling athletics representative 6 to set up lunch at a local restaurant. Athletics representative 7 gave specific instructions how athletics representative 6 could pass cash to the recruiting coordinator. Athletics representative 7 advised athletics representative 6 to enter the restaurant carrying a newspaper, and during the meeting with the recruiting coordinator, he was to refer the recruiting coordinator to a particular page of the newspaper, which supposedly contained an interesting article. Athletics representative 7 instructed athletics representative 6 to have 10-$100 bills taped to the page and leave the newspaper with the recruiting coordinator. Athletics representative 7 indicated that the money would be used by the recruiting coordinator to support whatever he needed to do "to get it done" at the institution. Following his conversation with athletics representative 7, athletics representative 6 received a telephone message to call the recruiting coordinator but did not return the call because "the illegality was obvious."
The committee noted that as seen in Findings II-A through II-D, throughout the 1999 and 2000 calendar years, the recruiting coordinator spent large amounts of money to pay for such things as hotel rooms, incidentals and meals for prospects, their parents and high-school coaches; he gave $1,400 cash to a student worker, which was converted into money orders for a high-school coach; and the recruiting coordinator has admitted paying the summer housing and meal expenses for at least one prospective football student-athlete, prospect D. The committee concluded that the recruiting coordinator collected money from any willing source, including from representatives of the institution's athletics interests, as set forth in this finding. The aforementioned athletics representatives should have reported these activities to university authorities.
J. FAILURE TO CONTROL SALARY OF EMPLOYEE; VIOLATION OF SUPPLEMENTAL PAY PROVISION; FAILURE IN FISCAL CONTROL OF OUTSIDE AGENCY. [NCAA Bylaws 6.4.1, 11.3.1, 18.104.22.168 and 22.214.171.124-(b)] ((PDF*)
During the 1996-97 and again during the 1999-00 and 2000-01 academic years, a football booster organization supplemented the salaries of football staff members. Specifically:
- During the 1996-97 academic year, under the administration of the previous football staff, the Wildcat Club, a booster organization of the institution's football program, agreed to issue monthly checks to assistant strength coaches and student assistants to reimburse them for the amount needed to pay their monthly health insurance premiums.
- During the 1999-00 and 2000-01 academic years, the head football coach arranged for the Wildcat Club to supplement the annual salary of his personal assistant(s). Specifically, in March 2000, the head football coach requested the treasurer of the Wildcat Club to deliver monthly checks to his personal assistant in the amount of $700. The young woman received these payments from April through December 2000 when she resigned. After hiring a new assistant, the head football coach again contacted a club member to ensure that the monthly payment of $700 was continued for his new assistant. The supplemental payment continued until the head football coach resigned in February 2001.
The institution, the enforcement staff and the committee agree with the facts in this finding and that a violation of NCAA legislation occurred. The information contained in Finding II-J-1 was uncovered by the university after the submission of its self-report of February 2001, which occurred during the tenure of the head football coach.
With regard to finding II-J-2, the head football coach was in substantial disagreement with the facts, but acknowledged that he played a role in arranging the supplemental pay for his administrative assistants. He contended that if a violation occurred, it should be regarded as an institutional violation only because (1) he believed that he had approval from the director of athletics to arrange the supplemental pay, and (2) the Wildcat Club had a history of providing supplemental pay to staff members. He also believed that this should be considered a secondary violation.
Ultimately, the committee concluded that the head football coach's role in this violation was such that only a finding of a secondary infraction was warranted against him. As it related to the head coach, this violation appeared to be limited to the coach's assistants and was therefore isolated. No recruiting or competitive advantage was obtained. The evidence was conflicting regarding whether the head football coach was told by university officials that such a practice was permissible.
With regard to institutional responsibility for this violation, the committee concluded that this was indicative of a lack of institutional control, which is discussed in greater detail in Finding II-M.
K. FAILURE TO MONITOR. [NCAA Constitution 2.8.1] ((PDF*)
From the 1998-99 to 1999-00 academic years, the head football coach failed to monitor the activities of the recruiting coordinator after he promoted him. The head football coach made no effort either to monitor the recruiting coordinator despite being told on at least three occasions about possible rules violations concerning the recruiting coordinator or to report to the institution's compliance staff the possible violations involving him. In fact, during the time period of this violation, the head football coach became increasingly protective of the recruiting coordinator.
The committee, the institution and the enforcement staff agree with the facts in this finding and that violations of NCAA legislation occurred. The head football coach disputed that he failed to monitor. In his response, the head football coach maintained that, "Members of the institution's staff are not charged by Bylaw 2.8.1 with monitoring responsibilities."
With regard to the fundamental question of whether a lack of monitoring can be applied to an individual coach, the committee noted that current guidelines pertaining to institutional control plus case precedent support the concept that individual coaches can be found for a lack of institutional control or, in this instance, a failure to monitor. Item 8 of The Principles of Institutional Control document states that head coaches can be held responsible for failing to monitor their assistants, and this failure can result in a finding of a lack of institutional control or a failure to monitor. Specifically:
"A head coach fails to create and maintain an atmosphere for compliance within the program when the coach supervises or fails to monitor the activities of the assistant coaches regarding compliance. The head coach has special obligation to establish a spirit of compliance among the entire team, including assistant coaches, other staff and student-athletes. The head coach must generally observe the activities of assistant coaches and staff to determine if they are acting in compliance with NCAA rules. Too often, when assistant coaches are involved in a web of serious violations, head coaches profess ignorance, saying that they were too busy to know what was occurring and that they trusted their assistants. Such a failure by head coaches to control their teams, alone or with the assistance of a staff member with compliance responsibilities, is a lack of institutional control (or a lack of monitoring). This is not to imply that every violation by an assistant coach involves a lack of institutional control. If the head coach sets a proper tone of compliance and monitors the activities of all assistant coaches in the sport, the head coach cannot be charged with the secretive activities of an assistant bent on violating NCAA rules."
Further, there have been numerous cases in which head coaches have been cited for a failure to monitor pursuant to NCAA Constitution 2.8.1. In Bucknell University, Infractions Report No. 161, the committee cited a head wrestling coach for failing to monitor the employment of a wrestling student-athlete in the intramural program at the institution. In California State University, Fullerton, Infractions Report No. 158, the director of athletics was cited individually for failing to monitor and provide adequate institutional control, as he failed to identify and review information concerning possible violations of NCAA legislation when it came to his attention. In Baylor University, Infractions Report No. 122, the head men's basketball coach was cited as an individual for demonstrating a serious lack of control and monitoring in the administration of his program. The committee found that the head coach failed to supervise his assistant coaches and the operation of his program, stating: "Head coaches have a responsibility to monitor the recruiting activities of their assistant coaches. However, the head coach completely neglected to conduct any of the monitoring activities expected of a Division I men's basketball program and, thus, was directly responsible for fostering an atmosphere in which major violations, including academic fraud, occurred." In University of Louisville, Infractions Report No. 154, the head women's volleyball coach, as well as the university, was cited for failing to exercise appropriate institutional control and monitoring in the conduct and administration of the women's volleyball program. It was stated that both the institution and the head coach failed to monitor members of the volleyball staff concerning their activities with a prospective student-athlete and a transfer student.
The committee found it noteworthy that during his interview with the enforcement staff, the head football coach himself repeatedly spoke of it being unwise of him to delegate so much authority to the recruiting coordinator and to fail to ascertain whether the recruiting coordinator was operating within the rules structure. The head football coach did no formal evaluations of the recruiting coordinator, though he stated: "I talked to (the recruiting coordinator) every day and tried to stay on top of him like I did the other coaches. Looking back on it, it probably wasn't checked very well." Although the head football coach indicated that he felt he was adequately supervising the recruiting coordinator at the time, he also indicated that his management style included delegating authority to various people and expecting them to do their jobs. All recruiting authority was given to the recruiting coordinator. When asked during his interview whether there were situations that should have alarmed him and caused him to look closely at what the recruiting coordinator was doing, the head coach responded "about 100." Nonetheless, the head coach claimed no knowledge whatsoever that the recruiting coordinator was sending apparel items to high-school coaches; paying for high-school coaches, prospects and their family members to stay in local hotels; making illegal recruiting contacts; committing academic fraud in the office adjacent to his; and, in general, treating members of the athletics staff poorly. The recruiting coordinator was given control of all recruiting duties and the head football coach mistakenly relied on the recruiting coordinator's integrity to perform those duties properly and in accordance with NCAA rules and regulations.
L. UNETHICAL CONDUCT. [NCAA Bylaws 10.1 and 10.1-(c)] ((PDF*)
The recruiting coordinator failed to deport himself with the generally recognized high standards normally associated with the conduct and administration of intercollegiate athletics, and engaged in unethical conduct as evidenced by his involvement in Findings II-A, II-B, II-C, II-D, II-E, II-H and II-I. [Note: The recruiting coordinator was previously found for unethical conduct as set forth in Findings and II-F and II-G.]
The committee, the institution and the enforcement staff agree with the facts and that violations of NCAA ethical-conduct legislation occurred. In the recruiting coordinator's response, he acknowledged that he violated the principles of ethical conduct but failed to identify the findings to which he referred. The committee determined that the recruiting coordinator engaged in unethical conduct based upon the information contained in the findings set forth above.
M. LACK OF INSTITUTIONAL CONTROL. [NCAA Constitutions 2.5, 2.8.1 and 6.01] ((PDF*)
As indicated in the introduction of this report, based upon the information presented at the hearing, the committee notified the university that it was considering a finding of lack of institutional control. During the hearing, the university was given an opportunity to respond and through subsequent correspondence from the chair, was given an additional opportunity to respond to the committee's concern at a later hearing or through written submission. The university responded briefly at the hearing and then responded in greater detail in a letter from the president. On the basis of all the evidence in the record, including important information provided at the hearing and after careful consideration of the university's responses, the committee concluded that a finding of lack of institutional control was appropriate in this case.
Of major concern to the committee was the fact that the recruiting coordinator was able to openly violate basic, fundamental recruiting legislation for an extended period of time (approximately two years) without detection. Moreover, he openly involved several individuals, including his own recruiting assistant as well as student workers, in the committing of these violations. One element that must be assessed in determining if a lack of institutional control existed is whether or not an internal monitoring system is in place to ensure compliance with NCAA rules.
The committee recognizes that the university's compliance office has a well-documented record of integrity, thoroughness and competence. Nonetheless, the former recruiting coordinator succeeded in operating "under the radar" of the university's compliance program. This is not to imply that an individual(s) operating in a manner to avoid detection automatically conveys a lack of institutional control. In this case, the committee was troubled by the widespread nature of these undetected violations--in time, in frequency, and in the number of individuals who had some knowledge of improper activities--and yet failed to report them to the proper authorities. The recruiting coordinator involved numerous other individuals (employees, students, representatives of the university's athletics interests and local businesses) in his schemes. These individuals were involved in delivering fairly substantial amounts of cash to high-school coaches and local merchants after transactions; providing university apparel items to high-school coaches and prospects' having knowledge of questionable academic practices; and receiving direct requests to establish a recruiting "slush fund," yet no reports were ever generated. This concern was compounded by the fact that the activities supporting the majority of these violations were occurring on campus or in the local community where heightened awareness should exist. Finally, the university readily acknowledged that it had no advance oversight of the expenditure of booster club funds, which resulted in Finding II-J.
Successful compliance and monitoring programs are much more than a series of forms and brochures. Surrounding the mechanical nature of the forms and reporting must be an atmosphere of knowledge of NCAA rules, a commitment to compliance and a level of trust. It is easy to lay all the blame at a single untrustworthy employee. However, in the committee's view, there were simply too many people involved in too many activities for too long a period of time that knew or should have known of rules violated, or at least have known that very questionable practices were occurring and yet nothing was reported.
The committee was also troubled by what it believed to be a breakdown in reporting of information relating to potential academic fraud violations referenced in Findings II-F and II-K. As set forth in Finding II-F, the recruiting coordinator engaged in academic fraud during unauthorized "study sessions" he conducted in his office. The evidence showed that a tutor became suspicious about a paper ostensibly written by one of the student-athletes participating in the recruiting coordinator's sessions and brought her concerns to the director of academic services. The director of academic services eventually informed an associate director of athletics of her concerns that improper activities were taking place during the recruiting coordinator's study sessions. The associate director of athletics instructed the director of academic services to contact the head football coach about these concerns. The director of academic services did as she was instructed, but the head football coach failed to stop the sessions, as set forth in Finding II-K-1. Neither the associate director of athletics nor the director of academic services contacted anyone in the compliance office, as they should have. During the hearing, the associate director of athletics referenced earlier was questioned about this issue. The associate director ultimately admitted that proper reporting procedures were not followed, as reflected in the following excerpt from the transcript of the hearing:
Associate Director of Athletics: She (director of academic services) told me that there were student-athletes in the sessions that were not just sitting in (the recruiting coordinator's) area studying but that were actually receiving (academic) assistance.
Committee Member 1: So, you did know they were receiving (academic) assistance?
Associate Director of Athletics: Yes, sir. You asked me (earlier) whether I knew there was a paper written for a student, and I did not know that, sir.
Committee Member 1: Well, I mean, I understand that. There is a big difference, in other words, from the impression that I got from your testimony she came and said there was a problem and you said stop the sessions, and finding out in these sessions students were getting improper help. I mean, you knew that.
Associate Director of Athletics: Yes, sir.
Committee Member 1: And yet at that point, you didn't say, "My goodness, we have got to go to compliance." You say, "Oh, let's go to the head coach," who is about to lose a player and you find out there is academic improprieties going on. Isn't that a little strange?
Associate Director of Athletics: I think you are reading a lot of motives into what I said. The compliance person was gone and her direct supervisor was gone, and we had to get the sessions stopped immediately before we did further monitoring.
Committee Member 2: I don't want to impute motive but this is in February of 1999, and the faculty athletics representative told me earlier if there had been evidence of plagiarism, improper assistance, and the process would have required that he be told. I thought that (the compliance director) said the same thing. But I also heard him say that they didn't find out about this until another quarter of the year. So is there a process that wasn't followed or is the process as described not accurate?
Associate Director of Athletics: There was a process that was not followed.
Committee Member 1: What should have been done? What was the process that was not followed?
Associate Director of Athletics: The process not followed was (the director of academic services) going to her supervisor, in turn the compliance office and me not following up on both of those.
The last area of concern the committee had regarding a lack of institutional control was the university's deficient financial oversight with respect to the Wildcat Club, a football booster organization, as described in Finding II-J. The evidence showed that the practice of supplementing the salary of football staff members dated back at least to the 1996-97 academic year, during the time of the previous football staff. Although the university audited the Wildcat Club, there were apparently no mechanisms in place to detect that the club was supplementing the salary of football staff members. Further, on its own initiative, the club could expend its funds in support of the university's football program without prior review and approval by the university. This was made starkly evident in questioning by the committee during the hearing. As reported by university officials, there was no "compliance review" of the Wildcat Club audit, thus, there was no means to detect a violation. It was reported to the committee that the annual budget of the Wildcat Club was approximately $11,000 to $12,000. With the head coach's secretary receiving a monthly supplement of $700, this was an $8,400 annual expenditure by the club, which equated to approximately two-thirds of the club's annual budget. The committee found it remarkable that the university failed to notice such a large expenditure and question it. The committee also noted that late information submitted by the university revealed the Wildcat Club had also supplemented the salaries of assistant strength coaches and student assistants in order to pay for their health insurance premiums.
[NCAA Bylaws 126.96.36.199, 188.8.131.52, 184.108.40.206, 220.127.116.11.2, 13.7.6 and 18.104.22.168] ((PDF*)
During the 1999-00 and 2000-01 academic years, the following secondary violations of recruiting legislation occurred. Specifically:
- In the summer of 1999, student workers in the department of athletics provided round-trip automobile transportation on approximately 10 occasions to a football student-athlete in order for the young man to travel between his job and campus.
- On several occasions during the 1999-00 academic year, the recruiting coordinator contacted prospective student-athletes by telephone more than once per week outside of the NCAA's permissible contact periods.
- In the fall of 1999, two prospective football student-athletes were provided gloves during their official paid visits. The young men were not required to return the gloves at the end of the visit.
- During the 2000-01 academic year, a football student-athlete earned more than allowable from his employment. Specifically, during the 2001 spring semester, the young man's total employment earnings were $2,359.46, exceeding the permissible limits by $359.46.