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The NCAA Committee on Infractions Has Spoken: Samford University

The NCAA Committee on Infractions (“Committee” or “Panel”) recently issued its findings and found that the Samford University (“SU” or “Institution”) committed violations of NCAA legislation. The Panel considered this case through the cooperative summary disposition process in which all parties agreed to the primary facts and violations, as fully set forth in the summary disposition report (SDR). The Committee found that SU committed the following violations of NCAA legislation:


Violation of NCAA Division I Manual Bylaws 14.01.1, 14.4.3.1, 14.4.3.2, and 14.4.3.3 (2010-11 through 2014-15); 14.4.3.1.7-(b) (2010-11, 2013-14 and 2014-15); 14.4.3.1.8-(b) (2011-12 and 2012-13); 14.10.1, 14.11.1 and 16.8.1.2 (2010-11 through 2012-13); 14.9.1 (2013-14); 14.10.1 (2013-14); 16.8.1 (2013-14 and 2014-15); and 12.10.1 (2014-15)


The NCAA enforcement staff and Institution agreed that from the 2010-11 academic year to the fall of 2014, the institution improperly certified 33 student-athletes as eligible for competition in eight sports and, as a result, the student-athletes competed while ineligible.


During the 2010-11, 2011-12 and 2013-14 academic years, a men's basketball student-athlete and two football student-athletes competed without satisfactory completion of at least 18 semester-hours of degree credit toward the students' designated degree program since the beginning of the previous fall term. As a result, the student-athletes received actual and necessary travel expenses for competition while ineligible and two of the student-athletes competed during a subsequent academic year without the institution seeking reinstatement. [NCAA Bylaws 14.01.1 and 14.4.3.1-(b) (2010-11 through 2013-14); 14.4.3.1.7-(b) (2010-11 and 2013-14); 14.4.3.1.8-(b) (2011-12); 14.9.1 (2013-14); and 14.10.1 (2010-11 and 2011-12); 14.11.1 (2010-11 and 2012-13); 16.8.1.2 (2010-11 and 2011-12); and 16.8.1 (2013-14)]


During the 2010-11 through 2014-15 academic years, two baseball student-athletes, five football student-athletes and a men's track and field student-athlete competed without satisfactory completion of at least six semester-hours of degree credit toward the students' designated degree program during the preceding regular academic term. As a result, the student-athletes received actual and necessary travel expenses for competition while ineligible. [NCAA Bylaws 14.01.1, 14.4.3.1-(c) (2010-11 through 2014-15); 14.4.3.1.7-(b) (2010-11, 2013-14 and 2014-15); 14.4.3.1.8-(b) (2011-12 and 2012-13); 14.10.1 (2010-11 through 2012-13); 14.9.1 (2013-14); 12.10.1 (2014-15); 16.8.1.2 (2010-11 through2012-13); and 16.8.1 (2013-14 and 2014-15)]


During the 2011-12 and 2013-14 academic years, a football student-athlete and a men's tennis student-athlete, who were in their third year of enrollment, competed without designating a program of studies. As a result, the student-athletes received actual and necessary travel expenses for competition while ineligible. [NCAA Bylaws 14.01.1 (2011-12 and 2013-14); 14.4.3.1.8-(b), 14.10.1 and 16.8.1.2 (2011-12); 14.4.3.1.7-(b),14.9.1 and 16.8.1 (2013-14)]


During the 2010-11 through 2013-14 academic years, 19 student-athletes in the sports of baseball, men's cross country, football, men's track and field, men's tennis, women's soccer and women's softball competed without successfully completing their percentage-of-degree requirements. As a result, the student-athletes received actual and necessary travel expenses for competition while ineligible and one student-athlete competed during a subsequent academic year without the institution seeking reinstatement. [NCAA Bylaws 14.01.1, 14.4.3.2 (2010-11 through 2013-14); 14.10.1 and 16.8.1.2 (2010-11 through 2012-13); 14.11.1 (2012-13); 14.9.1 and 16.8.1 (2013-14)]


During the 2012-13 and 2013-14 academic years, a football student-athlete and a men's track and field student-athlete competed without meeting the necessary minimum grade-point average requirement. As a result, the student-athletes received actual and necessary travel expenses for competition while ineligible. [NCAA Bylaws 14.01.1 and 14.4.3.3 (2012-13 and 2013-14); 14.10.1 and 16.8.1.2 (2012-13); 14.9.1 and 16.8.1 (2013-14)]


Violations of NCAA Constitution 2.8.1 (2010-11 through 2014-15)


The NCAA enforcement staff and Institution agree that from 2010 through 2014, the scope and nature of the violations detailed above demonstrate that the Institution failed to adequately monitor its progress-toward-degree certification process to ensure compliance with NCAA rules. Specifically, the Institution failed to establish an adequate compliance system to ensure proper athletics oversight of progress-toward-degree certification and provide adequate rules education to the institutional staff member responsible for progress-toward-degree certification. As a result, the Institution continuously misapplied NCAA legislation regarding progress-toward-degree certification and the Level II violations detailed above occurred.


Aggravating and Mitigating Factors in accordance with NCAA Bylaws 19.9.3 and 19.9.4


Aggravating Factors for the Institution


19.9.3-(b): A history of Level I, Level II or major violations.


19.9.3-(g): Multiple Level II violations by the institution.


Mitigating Factors for the Institution


19.9.4-(b): Prompt acknowledgement and acceptance of responsibility and imposition of meaningful corrective measures and/or penalties.


As a result of the foregoing, the Committee penalized SU as follows:


1. Public reprimand and censure.


2. Three years of probation from April 12, 2016 through April 11, 2019.


3. A fine of $5,000.00 to be paid to the NCAA.


4. SU shall vacate all regular season and conference tournament records and participation in which the ineligible student-athletes above competed.

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