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The NCAA Committee on Infractions Has Spoken: University of South Florida

The NCAA Committee on Infractions (“Committee” or “Panel” or “COI”) recently issued its findings and found that the University of South Florida (“USF” or “institution”) committed violations of NCAA legislation. In February 2020, a member of the institution's athletics staff reported to in-house counsel that certain violations had gone unreported, including potentially impermissible on-field activities of football noncoaching staff members. The institution's outside counsel immediately conducted interviews and gathered relevant records, including football practice video that confirmed multiple football noncoaching staff members engaged in impermissible practice activities. After the institution provided a self-report to the NCAA enforcement staff, the parties began a collaborative investigation that substantiated violations in the football and women's basketball programs as well as confirmed that a number of Level III violations had not yet been reported. Additionally, during the course of the investigation, the institution and NCAA enforcement staff learned of a Level III violation involving the women's volleyball program after a member of the women's volleyball staff reported a possible violation.


This case was resolved through a Negotiated Resolution as Level II—Standard for the institution, head women’s basketball coach, and former head football coach.


The Committee found USF committed the following violations of NCAA legislation:


Violations of NCAA Division I Manual Bylaws 11.7.1, 11.7.1.1, 11.7.3 and 11.7.6 (2017-18 through 2019-20) (Level II)


The institution and NCAA enforcement staff agreed that from March 2018 through December 2019, seven then football noncoaching staff members participated impermissibly in on and off-field practice activities.


From March through December 2018, then football noncoaching staff member 1 regularly provided technical and tactical instruction to football student-athletes, including leading the tight ends' on-field practice activities and off-field film assessments and instruction. NCAA Bylaws 11.7.1, 11.7.1.1, 11.7.3 and 11.7.6 (2017-18 and 2018-19).


From August through December 2019, six then football noncoaching staff members provided technical and tactical instruction impermissibly to football student-athletes. Then football noncoaching staff member 2 regularly led the special teams' on-field practice activities and off-field film assessments and instruction (NCAA Bylaws 11.7.1, 11.7.1.1, 11.7.3 and 11.7.6 (2019-20)). Then football noncoaching staff member 3, then football noncoaching staff member 4 and then football noncoaching staff member 5, regularly simulated position players in scout team on-field practice activities (NCAA Bylaws 11.7.1, 11.7.1.1, 11.7.3 and 11.7.6 (2019-20)).Then football noncoaching staff member 6 and then football noncoaching staff member 7, occasionally provided direction to football student-athletes in on-field practice activities (NCAA Bylaws 11.7.1, 11.7.1.1, 11.7.3 and 11.7.6 (2019-20)).

Violations of NCAA Division I Manual Bylaws 11.1.1.1 (2017-18 through 2019-20) (Level II)


The institution, former head football coach, and NCAA enforcement staff agreed that from March 2018 through December 2019, the former head football coach is presumed responsible for the violations detailed above and did not rebut the presumption of responsibility. Specifically, the former head football coach did not demonstrate that he promoted an atmosphere for compliance as a shared responsibility because, despite prior similar violations in the football program and receipt of rules education from the institution's compliance staff, the former head football coach did not establish clear expectations regarding compliance with legislation regarding noncoaching staff members. Not only did the same impermissible activity continue to occur, multiple members of the former head football coach's staff utilized an alert system to avoid detection by compliance. Further, the former head football coach did not demonstrate that they monitored their staff as they were present when some of the violations occurred, failed to actively look for red flags and failed to self-detect potential violations.


Violations of NCAA Division I Manual Bylaws 11.01.7-(d), 11.7.1, 11.7.1.1, 11.7.3 and 11.7.6 (2017-18 through 2019-20) (Level II)


The institution and NCAA enforcement staff agreed that from the 2017-18 through 2019-20 academic years, three women's basketball noncoaching staff members and a student-manager participated impermissibly in on-court activities. As a result, the women's basketball program exceeded the permissible number of countable coaches.


During the 2017-18 and 2018-19 academic years, then women's basketball noncoaching staff member (then women's basketball noncoaching staff member 1) regularly provided impermissible instruction to male practice players. Additionally, during the 2018-19 academic year, women's basketball noncoaching staff member 1 simulated position players in scout team and engaged in other drills in on-court practice activities on approximately five occasions. NCAA Bylaws 11.7.1, 11.7.1.1, 11.7.3 and 11.7.6 (2017-18 and 2018-19).


During the 2017-18 through 2019-20 academic years, then women's basketball student-manager, participated impermissibly in CARA, including engaging in drills at full speed. NCAA Bylaw 11.01.7-(d) (2017-18 through 2019-20).

During the 2018-19 academic year, then women's basketball noncoaching staff member 2, simulated position players in scout team and engaged in other drills in on-court practice activities, on approximately 10 occasions. NCAA Bylaws 11.7.1, 11.7.1.1, 11.7.3 and 11.7.6 (2018-19).

During the 2019-20 academic year, women's basketball noncoaching staff member 3, occasionally provided impermissible instruction to male practice players. NCAA Bylaws 11.7.1, 11.7.1.1, 11.7.3 and 11.7.6 (2019-20).


Violations of NCAA Division I Manual Bylaws 17.1.7.1, 17.1.7.3.4 and 17.1.7.10.6.1 (2018-19 and 2019-20) (Level II)


The institution and enforcement staff agree that during the 2018-19 and 2019-20 academic years, the women's basketball program required women's basketball student-athletes' participation in CARA and required athletically related activities (RARA) beyond NCAA legislated limitations. Further, the women's basketball program failed to ensure the accurate recording of student-athletes' CARA hours in reports to the compliance staff.


During the 2018-19 and 2019-20 academic years, the women's basketball coaching staff required all women's basketball student-athletes to shoot fifty daily free throws in addition to scheduled and recorded practice times. The coaching staff also required multiple women's basketball student-athletes to complete weekly cardio workouts in addition to scheduled and recorded practice times. As a result, the women's basketball program exceeded weekly CARA limitations on approximately 23 occasions. NCAA Bylaws 17.1.7.1 and 17.1.7.3.4 (2018-19 and 2019-20).


On December 31, 2018, the women's basketball team practiced from approximately 8:00 p.m. until approximately 11:30 p.m. in violation of legislation prohibiting RARA activities during a continuous eight-hour period between 9 p.m. and 6 a.m. NCAA Bylaw 17.1.7.10.6.1 (2018-19).


Violations of NCAA Division I Manual Bylaws 11.1.1.1 (2017-18 through 2019-20) (Level II)


The institution, head women's basketball coach and NCAA enforcement staff agreed that from the 2017-18 through the 2019-20 academic years, the head women's basketball coach is presumed responsible for the violations involving the women’s basketball program detailed above and did not rebut the presumption of responsibility. Specifically, the head women's basketball coach did not demonstrate that they promoted an atmosphere for compliance as the head women's basketball coach permitted and/or was aware of the noncoaching staff members' involvement in impermissible activities outlined above yet failed to stop the impermissible activity or report it to compliance. Further, the head women's basketball coach did not demonstrate that they monitored their staff as they failed to ensure the accuracy and completion of the practice logs in order to determine whether requiring daily free throws and cardio workouts in addition to the scheduled practice hours complied with CARA limitations.


Violations of NCAA Division I Manual Bylaws 11.7.1, 11.7.1.1, 11.7.3 and 11.7.6 (2020-21) (Level III)


The institution and NCAA enforcement staff agreed that from August through October 2020, the women's volleyball director of player development engaged in decision making in on-field practice activities and, as a result, the women's volleyball program exceeded the permissible number of countable coaches. Specifically, the women's volleyball director of player development acted as a referee during practice approximately one time per week over approximately a three-month period.


Violations of NCAA Division I Manual Constitution 2.8.1 and Bylaws 14.3.4, 14.5.5.1 and 16.8.1 (2017-18); 13.4.3.2 (2017-18 and 2018-19); 19.2.2 (2017-18 through 2019-20); 11.3.2.5 and 13.1.1.3 (2018-19); and 11.3.2.8 (2018-19 and 2019-20) (Level II)


The institution and NCAA enforcement staff agreed that from approximately February 2018 through December 2019, the institution failed to report known Level III violations involving multiple sport programs. These violations were not reported for a variety of reasons, including but not limited to, using the occurrence as a teaching tool, failing to submit drafted Level III reports and/or a breakdown in reporting lines within the compliance office.

In February 2018, two four-year transfer baseball student-athletes who were serving their year of residence traveled to an away contest during which they received actual and necessary expenses, including a meal. NCAA Bylaw 14.3.4, 14.5.5.1 and 16.8.1 (2017-18).


In June 2018, the men's and women's soccer programs advertised for their soccer camps without including language indicating that the camp was open to any and all entrants. NCAA Bylaw 13.4.3.2 (2017-18).


In November 2018, a then assistant football coach tweeted an impermissible endorsement of a recruiting service. NCAA Bylaw 11.3.2.5 (2018-19).


In December 2018, a then assistant football coach tweeted an impermissible endorsement of a high school football program and coach. NCAA Bylaw 11.3.2.8 (2018-19).


In May 2019, a then assistant football coach tweeted an advertisement for an institutional football camp that lacked language indicating that the camp was open to any and all entrants. NCAA Bylaw 13.4.3.2 (2017-18).


In May 2019, an assistant women's golf coach contacted a student-athlete at another Division I institution via a third party without first obtaining authorization through the notification of transfer process. NCAA Bylaw 13.1.1.3 (2018-19).


In June 2019, a then men's basketball director of operations tweeted an impermissible endorsement of a recruiting service. NCAA Bylaw 11.3.2.5 (2018-19).


In November 2019, the head men's basketball coach tweeted an impermissible endorsement of a prospective student-athlete's team and coach. NCAA Bylaws 11.3.2.8 (2019-20).


In January 2020, the institutional men's soccer account tweeted an impermissible endorsement of a prospective student-athlete's team. NCAA Bylaws 11.3.2.8 (2019-20).


Violations of NCAA Division I Manual Constitution 2.8.1 (2017-18 through 2019-20) (Level II)


The institution and enforcement staff agreed that from the 2017-18 through 2019-20 academic years, the scope and nature of the violations detailed above demonstrate the institution violated the NCAA principle of rules compliance when it failed to adequately monitor its football and women's basketball programs to ensure compliance with noncoaching staff member legislation and failed to report known Level III violations.


Both the football and women's basketball programs previously committed violations involving noncoaching staff members participating in practices activities. However, the institution failed to heighten its monitoring or take reasonable steps to prevent further similar non-complaint conduct and, partly as a result, the violations above occurred. NCAA Bylaw 2.8.1 (2017-18 through 2019-20).


The institution failed to take swift action when noncompliance occurred, as evidenced by its failure to timely report multiple known Level III violations outlined above. NCAA Bylaw 2.8.1 (2017-18 through 2019-20).


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 by the institution.

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

19.9.3-(h): Persons of authority condoned, participated in or negligently disregarded the violation or related wrongful conduct.

19.9.3-(k): A pattern of noncompliance within the sports programs involved.


Mitigating Factors for the Institution

19.9.4-(b): Prompt acknowledgement of the violation, acceptance of responsibility and imposition of meaningful corrective measures and penalties.

19.9.4-(c): Affirmative steps to expedite final resolution of the matter.

19.9.4-(f): Exemplary cooperation.


Aggravating Factors for the Former Head Football Coach

19.9.3-(h): Persons of authority condoned, participated in or negligently disregarded the violation or related wrongful conduct.

19.9.3-(k): A pattern of noncompliance within the sports programs involved.


Mitigating Factors for the Former Head Football Coach

19.9.4-(b): Prompt acknowledgement of the violation and acceptance of responsibility.

19.9.4-(c): Affirmative steps to expedite final resolution of the matter.

19.9.4-(h): The absence of prior conclusions of Level I, Level II or major violations committed by the involved individual.


Aggravating Factors for the Head Women’s Basketball Coach

19.9.3-(h): Persons of authority condoned, participated in or negligently disregarded the violation or related wrongful conduct.

19.9.3-(k): A pattern of noncompliance within the sports programs involved.


Mitigating Factors for the Head Women’s Basketball Coach

19.9.4-(b): Prompt acknowledgement of the violation and acceptance of responsibility.

19.9.4-(c): Affirmative steps to expedite final resolution of the matter.

19.9.4-(h): The absence of prior conclusions of Level I, Level II or major violations committed by the involved individual.


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


1. Public reprimand and censure.


2. Probation: Three years of probation from October 29, 2021, through October 28, 2024.



3. Financial Penalty: The institution shall pay a fine of $10,000 plus one-half of one percent of each of the football and women's basketball budgets.


4. Scholarship Reduction(s): The institution shall reduce the number of initial grants-in-aid awarded in the football program by two during the 2022-23 academic year.5 The reduction shall be based on the average amount of aid awarded in the football program over the past four years.


5. Head Coach Restriction: The former head football coach violated head coach responsibility when they failed to promote an atmosphere of compliance and failed to meet monitoring expectations the membership has placed on head coaches. Bylaw 19.9.5.5 and the Figure 19-1 penalty guidelines contemplate head coach suspensions to address head coach responsibility violations. Therefore, any member institution employing the former head football coach in an athletically related position during the 2021-22 or 2022-23 academic years shall suspend the former head football coach from 7.5% of the football regular season contests in the first season of employment. This percentage corresponds with one football regular season contest. The provisions of this suspension require that the former head football coach not be present in the facility where the contest is played and have no contact or communication with football coaching staff members or student-athletes during the one contest-suspension period. The prohibition includes all coaching activities for the period of time that begins at 12:01 a.m. on the day of the contest and ends at 11:59 p.m. that day. During that period, the former head football coach may not participate in any coaching activities, including, but not limited to, team travel, practice, video study, recruiting and team meetings. The result of the contest from which the former head football coach is suspended shall not count toward the former head football coach's career coaching record.


6. Show-Cause Order: the head women's basketball coach violated head coach responsibility legislation when they failed to promote an atmosphere of compliance and failed to meet monitoring expectations the membership has placed on head coaches. Therefore, the head women's basketball coach shall be subject to a one-year show-cause order from October 29, 2021, through October 28, 2022.7 In accordance with Bylaw 19.9.5.4 and NCAA Division I Committee on Infractions Internal Operating Procedure (IOP) 5-15-3, any employing member institution shall restrict the head women's basketball coach from 15 hours of team practices during the women's basketball playing season. Additionally, during the one year show-cause period, any employing member institution shall provide the head women's basketball coach enhanced monitoring and NCAA rules education, which shall include monthly meetings with the member institution's compliance officer to Any member institution that employs the head women's basketball coach in an athletically related position during the one year show-cause period, shall abide by the terms of the show-cause order unless it contacts the office of the Committees on Infractions to make arrangements to show cause why the terms of the order should not apply.


7. The institution shall reduce the allowable CARA for the women's basketball program by two hours per week for the first four weeks following the first contest of the 2021-22 academic year and then by one hour per week for the next four weeks.


8. The women's basketball program shall prohibit noncoaching staff members from participating in practice in a managerial role or as practice players in the manner permitted by the blanket waiver approved September 8, 2020, by the NCAA Division I Committee for Legislative Relief.


9. The women's basketball program shall reduce by one the number of noncoaching staff members who attend practice for a period of seven days during the 2021-22 academic year.


10. The women's volleyball program shall restrict the women's volleyball director of player development from participating in one week (seven days) of on-court practices no later than the end of the 2021-22 academic year.


11. The women's volleyball program shall not utilize a temporary replacement exception for the first seven days of furlough for a full-time assistant coach no later than the end of the 2021-22 academic year.


12. The women's golf program shall restrict an assistant coach from participating in an international recruiting trip no later than the end of the 2021-22 academic year.


13. The women's golf program shall cease recruiting the prospective student-athlete referenced in above.


14. The women's golf program shall be precluded from conducting any recruiting activities with any prospective student-athletes for a period of one week during the fall of 2021 contact period.


15. The football program shall reduce by one the number of countable coaches able to participate in practice for a period of two days no later than the end of the 2021-22 academic year.


16. The football program shall reduce by two the number of quality control analysts who attend practice for a period of seven days no later than the end of the 2021-22 academic year.


17. The football program shall reduce by two the number of quality control analysts who attend practice for fourteen days during the 2021-22 academic year.


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