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The NCAA Committee on Infractions Has Spoken: West Virginia University

The NCAA Committee on Infractions (“Committee”) recently issued its findings and found that West Virginia University (“WVU”) committed violations of NCAA legislation. After the investigation concluded the case was submitted to the Committee through the summary disposition process, which is an alternative to a formal hearing before the Committee that may be utilized when the NCAA enforcement staff, the member institution, and involved individuals agree to the facts of an infractions case and that those facts constitute violations of NCAA legislation.


This case involved impermissible telephone and text communications that occurred in a number of WVU’s athletics programs. Cumulatively, between June 2010 and February 2013, coaches in 14 sports sent 294 impermissible texts and placed 66 impermissible telephone calls to prospective student-athletes and, in some instances, parents. Most of the impermissible recruiting communications occurred in the following sports programs: women's gymnastics, football, women's basketball and women's soccer. The women's gymnastics staff sent 153 impermissible texts and placed one impermissible telephone call. The assistant women's gymnastics coach committed almost all (151 out of 154) of the text and telephone call violations in that program. Because of his responsibility for a large number of these impermissible communications, the assistant women's gymnastics coach was the only institutional staff member whose violations were individually addressed in this case. Further, members of the football staff sent 46 impermissible text messages and placed 22 impermissible telephone calls, members of the women's basketball staff sent 17 impermissible texts and placed 26 impermissible telephone calls, and members of the women's soccer staff sent 43 impermissible texts and placed three impermissible telephone calls.


On a smaller scale, 10 other sport programs also engaged in impermissible text and telephone-related activity. Cumulatively, staff members in these 10 sports programs sent 35 impermissible text messages and placed 14 impermissible telephone calls from 2010 to 2013. Those violations occurred in the men's basketball, baseball, men's soccer, men's wrestling, women's tennis, women's volleyball, men's swimming, women's diving, women's rowing and women's track and field programs.


The Committee determined that the case should move forward under a Level II standard and found that WVU committed the following violations of NCAA legislation:


Impermissible Recruiting Communications in violation of NCAA Bylaws 13.1.3.1 and 13.4.1.2


The NCAA enforcement staff, WVU and the assistant women's gymnastics coach, agreed between November 2010 and October 2012, three members of the women's gymnastics coaching staff, including the assistant coach, violated NCAA recruiting communication legislation by sending 153 impermissible text messages and placing one impermissible telephone call to five women's gymnastics prospective student-athletes and a parent of a prospective student-athlete who was also the club coach of the prospective student-athlete.


Between July 15, 2011, and October 2, 2012, the assistant women's gymnastics coach sent 100 impermissible text messages to the parent of a prospective student-athlete who was also the club coach of the prospective student-athlete.


Between November 25, 2010, and October 30, 2012, three women's gymnastics coaching staff members, including an assistant women's gymnastics coach, sent a total of 53 impermissible text messages to five prospective student-athletes. The assistant women's gymnastics coach sent 50 of the 53 impermissible text messages to four of the prospective student-athletes.


On March 18, 2012, the assistant women's gymnastics coach placed one impermissible telephone call to the parent of a prospective student-athlete who was also the club coach of the prospective student-athlete. The call was placed prior to the permissible time to contact the prospective student-athlete or the parent of the prospective student-athlete.


Impermissible Recruiting Communications in violation of NCAA Bylaws 13.1.3.1, 13.1.3.1.2, and 13.4.1.2


The NCAA enforcement staff and WVU agreed between August 2010 and February 2013, 10 members of the football coaching staff and the football recruiting coordinator violated NCAA recruiting communication legislation by sending 46 impermissible text messages and placing 22 impermissible telephone calls to 45 football prospective student-athletes and one parent of a prospective student-athlete.


Between August 6, 2010, and February 6, 2013, five members of the football coaching staff and the football recruiting coordinator sent a total of 46 impermissible text messages to 28 prospective student-athletes and one parent of a prospective student-athlete.


Between February 18, 2011, and December 3, 2012, eight members of the football coaching staff placed a total of 22 impermissible telephone calls that were prior to the permissible time to contact the prospective student-athlete, after a member of the coaching staff made one permissible call to the prospective student-athlete during the legislated time period or during a subsequent impermissible period to 18 prospective student-athletes. Specifically, of the 22 impermissible telephone calls, nine occurred prior to the permissible time to contact the prospect student-athlete, and 13 occurred after a member of the coaching staff made one permissible call to a prospective student-athlete during the legislated time period or during a subsequent impermissible period.


Impermissible Recruiting Communications in violation of NCAA Bylaws 13.1.3.1, 13.1.3.1.4, 13.1.3.1.4.1, and 13.4.1.3.1.4.2


The NCAA enforcement staff and WVU agree that between June 2010 and January 2013, five members of the women's basketball coaching staff and the director of basketball operations violated NCAA recruiting communication legislation by sending 17 impermissible text messages and placing 26 impermissible telephone calls to eight women's basketball prospective student-athletes and eight parents of prospective student-athletes, in which four of the eight parents were also the nonscholastic coach but not the head scholastic coach of the prospective student-athletes.


Between June 22, 2010, and January 8, 2013, four members of the women's basketball coaching staff and the director of basketball operations sent 17 impermissible text messages to three prospective student-athletes and three parents of prospective student-athletes in which one parent was also the nonscholastic coach of the prospective student-athlete but not the head scholastic coach of the prospective student-athlete. Of the 17 impermissible text messages, nine were sent to the parent of a prospective student-athlete who was also the nonscholastic coach of the prospective student-athlete but not the head scholastic coach of the prospective student-athlete.


Between April 18, 2011, and November 26, 2012, four members of the women's basketball coaching staff placed a total of 26 impermissible telephone calls to five prospective student-athletes and five parents of prospective student-athletes in which three of the five were also the nonscholastic coach of the prospective student-athlete but not the head scholastic coach of the prospective student-athlete. Twenty-five calls occurred prior to the permissible time to contact the prospective student-athlete or the parent of the prospective student-athlete. Of those calls, 19 were made to three parents of prospective student-athletes who were also the nonscholastic coach but not the head scholastic coach of the prospective student-athlete. One call was placed to a prospective student-athlete during an impermissible July evaluation period and prior to the permissible time to contact the prospective student-athlete. One call was placed after a member of the coaching staff made one permissible call to the prospective student-athlete or the prospective student-athlete's parent during the legislated time period.


Impermissible Recruiting Communications in violation of NCAA Bylaws 13.1.3.1, 13.1.3.1.4, 13.1.3.1.4.1, and 13.4.1.3.1.4.2


The NCAA enforcement staff and WVU agreed that between July 2010 and January 2013, the head women's soccer coach and an assistant women's soccer coach violated NCAA recruiting communication legislation by sending 43 impermissible text messages and placing three impermissible telephone calls to seven women's soccer prospective student-athletes and four parents of prospective student-athletes.


Between July 13, 2010, and January 12, 2013, the head women's soccer coach and one assistant women's soccer coach sent a total of 43 impermissible text messages to seven prospective student-athletes and two parents of prospective student-athletes.


Between December 16, 2010, and February 19, 2011, the head women's soccer coach placed a total of three impermissible telephone calls to one prospective student-athlete and two parents of prospective student-athletes. All three impermissible calls were placed prior to the permissible time to contact the prospective student-athlete or the parent of a prospective student-athlete.


Impermissible Recruiting Communications in violation of NCAA Bylaws 13.1.3.1, 13.1.3.1.3, and 13.4.1.2


The NCAA enforcement staff and WVU agreed that between August 2010 and March 2012, four members of the men's basketball coaching staff violated NCAA recruiting communication legislation by sending 15 impermissible text messages and placing four impermissible telephone calls to 10 men's basketball prospective student-athletes and two parents of prospective student-athletes.


Between August 4, 2010, and March 17, 2012, four members of the men's basketball coaching staff sent a total of 15 impermissible text messages to eight prospective student-athletes and two parents of prospective student-athletes.


Between April 25 and October 19, 2011, two members of the basketball coaching staff placed four impermissible telephone calls to two prospective student-athletes and one parent of a prospective student-athlete. Specifically, two occurred due to calls placed prior to the permissible time to contact the prospective student-athlete or the parent of the prospective student-athlete, while the other two occurred due to the calls being placed after a member of the coaching staff already made one permissible call to the prospective student-athlete during the legislated time period and during a subsequent impermissible period.


Impermissible Recruiting Communications in violation of NCAA Bylaws 13.1.3.1, 13.1.3.1.3, and 13.4.1.2


The NCAA enforcement staff and WVU agreed from 2010 to 2013, coaching staff members from nine sport programs (sport programs not identified above) violated NCAA recruiting communication legislation by sending 20 impermissible text messages and placing 10 impermissible telephone calls to 17 prospective student-athletes.


On July 6, 2011, an assistant baseball coach placed one impermissible telephone call to a baseball prospective student-athlete. The call was placed prior to the permissible time to contact the prospective student-athlete. In addition, between August 1, 2010, and June 21, 2012, three baseball coaching staff members sent a total of three impermissible text messages to three prospective student-athletes.


Between January 23 and May 27, 2012, two men's soccer coaching staff members placed four impermissible telephone calls to two men's soccer prospective student-athletes. All four calls were placed prior to the permissible time to contact the prospective student-athletes. In addition, on May 25, 2012, an assistant men's soccer coach sent a total of three impermissible text messages to a prospective student-athlete.


On January 29 and February 2, 2013, an assistant men's wrestling coach placed two impermissible telephone calls to two men's wrestling prospective student-athletes. Both calls were placed after a member of the coaching staff already made one permissible call to the prospective student-athlete during the legislated time period. In addition, on July 23, 2011, the head wrestling coach sent one impermissible text message to a prospective student-athlete.


On June 24, 2012, the head women's tennis coach placed one impermissible telephone call to a women's tennis prospective student-athlete. The call was placed prior to the permissible time to contact the prospective student-athlete. In addition, on January 31, 2012, the head women's tennis coach sent eight impermissible text messages to a prospective student-athlete.


On May 1, 2012, the head women's volleyball coach placed one impermissible telephone call to a women's volleyball prospective student-athlete. The call was placed after she already made one permissible call to the prospective student-athlete during the legislated time period. In addition, on July 6, 2012, the head women's volleyball coach sent two impermissible text messages to a prospective student-athlete.


On May 3, 2011, the head men's swimming coach sent one impermissible text message to a men's swimming prospective student-athlete.


On July 27, 2011, the assistant women's diving coach sent one impermissible text message to a women's diving prospective student-athlete.


On August 1, 2012, the assistant women's rowing coach placed one impermissible telephone call to a women's rowing prospective student-athlete. The call was placed after she had already made one permissible call to the prospective student-athlete during the legislated time period.


On March 24, 2012, the head women's track and field coach sent one impermissible text message to a women's track and field prospective student-athlete.


Aggravating and Mitigating Factors in accordance with NCAA Bylaws 19.9.2 and 19.9.4


Aggravating factors were as follows: 1) WVU has a history of major infractions cases including, most recently, football in 2011 (NCAA Bylaw 19.9.3-(b)); and 2) multiple II violations (NCAA Bylaw 19.9.3-(g)).


Mitigating factors were as follows: 1) prompt acknowledgement of the violation, acceptance of responsibility and imposition of meaningful corrective measures and/or penalties (NCAA Bylaw 19.9.4-(b)); affirmative steps to expedite final resolution of the matter (NCAA Bylaw 19.9.4-(c)); and an established history of self-reporting Level III or secondary violations (NCAA Bylaw 19.9.4-(d)).


As a result of the aforementioned violations, the Committee penalized WVU as follows:


1 Public reprimand and censure.


2. Two years of probation from February 18, 2015 through February 17, 2017.


3. WVU reduced total grants-in-aid in football from 85 to 84 for the 2013-14 academic year.


4. A assistant women’s gymnastics coach received a one-year show cause penalty.


5. During portions of the 2013-14 and 2014-15 academic years, WVU self-imposed reductions in telephone communication in all 14 of the involved sports.


6. During the 2013-14 academic year, WVU self-imposed reductions in off-campus recruiting in the sports of football, women’s soccer, women’s basketball and men’s basketball. WVU also self-imposed official visit restrictions for the women’s soccer program.

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