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The NCAA Committee on Infractions Has Spoken: North Carolina Central University

The NCAA Committee on Infractions (“Committee” or “Panel”) recently issued its findings and found that North Carolina Central University (“NCCU” or “Institution”) committed violations of NCAA legislation. This case involved improper eligibility certifications at NCCU and the Institution's failure to monitor its certification process. COI 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”). COI proposed additional penalties to NCCU, which the Institution objected to in part. After holding an expedited penalty hearing on the issue, COI retained the contested penalties. Pursuant to NCAA Bylaw, NCCU has the opportunity to appeal those penalties.

The Committee concluded that NCCU committed the following violations:

Violations of NCAA Division I Manual Bylaws (2012-13); (2012-13); and (2012-13 through 2014-15); 16.8.1 (2012-13 through 2016-17); 14.10.1 (2013-14); (2013-14 and 2014-15); 12.11.1 (2014-15 through 2016-17) (Level II)

NCCU and the NCAA enforcement staff agreed that between the 2012-13 and 2014-15 academic years, NCCU improperly certified twenty-two (22) student-athletes in seven (7) sports as eligible. Specifically, 22 student-athletes competed without meeting percentage-of-degree requirements and five of them also competed without meeting credit-hour requirements. As a result, the student-athletes competed and received actual and necessary expenses while ineligible. Additionally, between the 2013-14 and 2016-17 academic years, NCCU failed to withhold from competition six of the 22 student-athletes before securing their reinstatement, although they had cured their progress-toward-degree deficiencies.

Violations of NCAA Constitution 2.8.1 (2012-13 through 2016-17) (Level II)

NCCU and the NCAA enforcement staff agreed that between the 2012-13 and 2016-17 academic years, the scope and nature of the violations detailed above demonstrate that NCCU violated the NCAA principle of rules compliance when it failed to adequately monitor student-athlete eligibility certification to ensure compliance with NCAA legislation. Specifically, NCCU misapplied progress-toward-degree legislation, which resulted in the erroneous certification of 22 student-athletes and caused significant ineligible competition and impermissible provision of actual and necessary expenses.

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

Aggravating Factors for the Institution

(a) Multiple Level II violations by the institution. NCAA Bylaw 19.9.3-(g).

Mitigating Factors for the Institution

(a) Prompt acknowledgement of the violations, acceptance of responsibility and imposition of meaningful corrective measures and/or penalties. NCAA Bylaw 19.9.4-(b).

(b) The absence of prior conclusions of Level I, Level II or major violations. NCAA Bylaw 19.9.4-(h).

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

1. Public reprimand and censure.

2. Two (2) years of probation from May 30, 2018, through May 29, 2020.

3. The Institution shall pay a $5,000 fine.

4. The Institution acknowledged that ineligible participation in seven sports programs occurred as a result of the violations in this case. Therefore, pursuant to Bylaws 19.9.7-(g) and, the institution shall vacate all regular season and conference tournament records and participation in which the ineligible student-athletes detailed above competed from the time they became ineligible through the time they were reinstated as eligible for competition. This order of vacation includes all regular season competition and conference tournaments. Further, if any of the ineligible student-athletes participated in NCAA postseason competition at any time they were ineligible, the institution's participation in the postseason shall be vacated. The individual records of the ineligible student-athletes shall also be vacated. However, the individual finishes and any awards for all eligible student-athletes shall be retained.

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