Basketball Infractions Report Released

West Virginia University has submitted the results of its self report of actual and alleged rules violations involving its men' s basketball program on Thursday, June 20, to the NCAA in Indianapolis, according to Director of Athletics Ed Pastilong.

The inquiry was conducted by WVU director of internal audit Bill Quigley, WVU director of athletic compliance Brad Cox, WVU athletic faculty representative and law professor Jack Bowman and outside counsel from the law firm Ice Miller of Indianapolis, Ind. The investigation began in April 2002 immediately after the allegations surfaced.

Following is the text of the report:

The purpose of this report is to provide an overview of the results of an inquiry within the West Virginia University ("WVU") Department of Intercollegiate Athletics ("NCAA") rules violations within its men's basketball program. These violations center on NCAA legislation governing amateurism and recruiting. The self-reported amateurism violations should not have institution responsibility ramifications because no evidence was developed to establish that any WVU institutional staff members had knowledge of the amateurism violations; rather the violations have individual student-athlete eligibility ramifications. The self-reported recruiting violations appear to be secondary in nature. The amateurism violations are isolated to one (1) men's basketball student-athlete as well as the parent of such student-athlete and an individual identified as a "mentor" of such student-athlete. To varying lesser degrees, four (4) men's basketball student-athletes have been identified in recruiting violations that as noted above appear to be secondary in nature.

A. Self-Reported Violations Involving Amateurism

The allegations involving amateurism concern one student-athlete, the mother of such student-athlete (the "Mother") and an individual identified as a "mentor" to the student-athlete (the "Mentor"). The Mentor was introduced to the student-athlete in high school by the student-athlete's assistant high school basketball coach as a result of the student-athlete's athletics abilities. There is no evidence to suggest that there was a pre-existing family relationship between the Mentor and the student-athlete or his family. A few years after such introduction in approximately the summer of 2001, the Mentor began consistently providing financial assistance to both the student-athlete and his Mother on an "as needed" basis. The method utilized to provide money to the student-athlete and his Mother was via Western Union money wire transfers in varying dollar amounts both prior to and during the student-athlete's enrollment at WVU.

There has been no evidence developed to indicate: (i) that the Mentor has any connection whatsoever with WVU generally, the WVU Department of Intercollegiate Athletics, or any members of the former or current men's basketball coaching staff nor (ii) that any WVU institutional staff members had or should have had knowledge of the financial assistance being provided to the student-athlete or his Mother. The Mentor is not a representative of the university's athletics interests as defined by NCAA bylaws. However, there is reason to believe that the Mentor provided financial assistance to the student-athlete and his Mother as incentive for the student-athlete to later employ the Mentor's company to advise the student-athlete on issues related to his finances and investments if the student-athlete were to become a professional basketball player. The basis of such conclusion stems from the fact that: (i) the Mentor worked at a company that had developed a sports and entertainment division, (ii) the Mentor did not view the provisions of money as a loan nor did he expect repayment of the money, and (iii) the Mentor had formerly worked as a "runner" for an agent recruiting college and other potential professional athletes, thereby demonstrating his familiarity with the sports agent business.

Regardless of the status of the Mentor as an agent or potential agent, the fact that the Mentor forwarded financial assistance to the student-athlete and his Mother based upon the student-athlete's athletics abilities brings into question NCAA amateurism rules. The money provided by the Mentor to the student-athlete and his Mother is in direct violation of NCAA amateurism rules. As such, the student-athlete is ineligible to compete in intercollegiate athletics for WVU. Unlike the three (3) other student-athletes identified in the secondary recruiting rules violations cited above, WVU will not seek restoration of the student-athlete's eligibility involved in the amateurism violations to the NCAA Student-Athlete Reinstatement staff.

The self-reported violations of recruiting legislation involve four (4) men's basketball student-athletes and the provision of lodging, transportation and occasional meals to the then prospective student-athletes prior to their full-time enrollment at WVU. More specifically, for approximately a two-week period in June 2001, three (3) of the then prospective student-athletes visited Morgantown. During that time period, each of the young men roomed with men's basketball student-athletes ranging from a period of three (3) to ten (10) nights. Additionally, one (1) prospective student-athlete in June, 1999 received two (2) to three (3) nights of lodging from an enrolled student-athlete and was provided impermissible local transportation from that same student-athlete.

Also, during that same two-week time period in June 2001, two (2) of the then prospective student-athletes received occasional free meals at a University dining hall, which occurred as a result of the method in which attendance was taken at the dining hall during WVU's 2001 summer basketball camp. In addition, the two (2) student-athletes were also provided impermissible transportation to and from work in Morgantown by another men's basketball student-athlete, who had a vehicle at that time, and on two (2) occasions, by two (2) separate employees of the WVU Department of Intercollegiate Athletics. WVU has recommended to the NCAA that the violations be characterized as secondary in nature. As a result of the four (4) student-athletes being identified in NCAA rules violations, WVU will declare all four (4) student-athletes ineligible for competition at WVU and appeal to the NCAA Reinstatement staff for immediate eligibility restoration of three (3) of the student-athletes pending nominal repayment of the impermissible benefits received.

C. Other Recruiting and Extra Benefits Allegations

During the inquiry, it was initially reported that an alleged "offer" of an inducement and the provision of an extra benefit was presented to a student-athlete's mother from a former member of the WVU's men's basketball coaching staff. However, after an extensive review of information, conducting numerous interviews and closely analyzing the allegation, there was no credible evidence to support the conclusion that the mother of the student-athlete received any offers of inducement or extra benefits relating thereto. It was also reported that a former assistant basketball coach drove two (2) student-athletes to their hometown after their brief stay in Morgantown in the summer of 2001. However, there was no credible information developed to substantiate these allegations.

In addition, it was alleged that the a mother of a student-athlete had on three (3) occasions received a local hotel room at a special university rate. However, the investigation revealed that while the mother had in fact received a discounted rate, she had directly negotiated with the hotel and had been granted a lower rate pursuant to the hotel's policy, which was generally available to the public at large. Thus, none of the above-referenced allegations resulted in the conclusion that NCAA rules were violated.

C. Ancillary Information

The internal inquiry revealed that a former men's basketball coach failed to disclose the provision of a housing benefit on an NCAA required form. As a result, an NCAA rule was violated that is secondary in nature.

D. Conclusion

WVU has been committed to conducting a full and complete inquiry into these NCAA allegations. This undertaking has been a priority for the past several months and due to the diligent and aggressive examination into these allegations, important information has been obtained and will be reported to the NCAA. Accordingly, WVU is self-reporting the actual rules violations to the NCAA as well as detail all of the relevant information gathered and reviewed in connection with the inquiry. Included in the self-report are the appropriate corrective measures implemented by WVU to prevent these types of violations from re-occurring.


BlueGoldNews Top Stories