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The NCAA Committee on Infractions Has Spoken: Youngstown State University

The NCAA Committee on Infractions (“Committee” or “Panel” or “COI”) recently issued its findings and found that Youngstown State University (“institution” or “YSU”) committed violations of NCAA legislation.


YSU, the assistant football coach (“assistant coach”), and the NCAA enforcement staff agreed that in November and December 2019, the assistant coach had numerous impermissible contacts with a then football student-athlete who was enrolled at a four-year NCAA Division II institution via telephone calls, text messages, an off-campus, in-person contact, and an unofficial visit before obtaining written permission to contact from the Division II institution. Additionally, the institution, the assistant coach and the NCAA enforcement staff agreed that the institution provided the football student-athlete with an official visit in December 2019 without proper written permission, which resulted in additional impermissible contacts by the assistant coach and other football coaching staff members. YSU and the NCAA enforcement staff also agreed that the institution permitted three (3) football coaching staff members to recruit off-campus from September 2019 to January 2020 before they passed the NCAA Coaches Certification (Recruiting) Test. This failure resulted in the football coaches' engagement in several impermissible contacts and evaluations. Finally, YSU and the NCAA enforcement staff agreed that the institution failed to monitor and ensure compliance with NCAA recruiting legislation when it did not have an adequate system in place to monitor its football program's recruitment of a football student-athlete enrolled at another four-year institution or ensure its football coaches had passed the Coaches Certification (Recruiting) Test prior to recruiting off-campus.


This case was resolved through a negotiated resolution.


The Committee concluded that YSU committed the following violations:


Violations of NCAA Division I Manual Bylaw 13.1.1.3 (2019-20) (Level II)


The institution, the assistant coach, and the NCAA enforcement staff agreed that from November 26 through December 17, 2019, the assistant coach had at least 41 impermissible contacts with the Division II student-athlete without first obtaining written permission to contact from the Division II institution. Further, additional impermissible contacts occurred when the institution permitted the Division II student-athlete to complete an official paid visit.


From November 26 through December 17, 2019, the assistant coach engaged in at least 38 impermissible contacts via 13 telephone calls and 25 text messages with the Division II student-athlete. The assistant coach did not obtain permission from the Division II institution before he made the contacts. NCAA Bylaw 13.1.1.3 (2019-20).


On December 6, 2019, the Division II student-athlete made an unofficial visit to the institution. During the visit, the assistant coach and the head football coach engaged in impermissible contact when they met with the Division II student-athlete. The assistant coach still had not obtained permission to contact from the Division II institution. NCAA Bylaw 13.1.1.3 (2019-20).


On December 11, 2019, the assistant coach engaged in an off-campus, in-person contact with the Division II student-athlete at a local coffee and fast-food restaurant near the Division II institution. The assistant coach still had not obtained permission to contact from the Division II institution. NCAA Bylaw 13.1.1.3 (2019-20).


On December 13-15, 2019, the institution provided the Division II student-athlete an official paid visit. During the visit, the assistant coach and other football coaches engaged in impermissible contact when they met with the Division II student-athlete over an extended time period. The institution and assistant coach still had not obtained permission to contact from the Division II institution prior to the official paid visit. NCAA Bylaw 13.1.1.3 (2019-20).


Violations of NCAA Division I Manual Bylaws 11.5.1 and 13.1.2.1.1 (2019-20) (Level II)


The institution and NCAA enforcement staff agreed that from September 20, 2019, to January 29, 2020, the institution permitted three (3) football coaches to recruit off-campus before they were certified on knowledge of applicable recruiting rules. Specifically, the coaches had impermissible contacts with 16 football prospective student-athletes and conducted impermissible evaluations of two prospective student-athletes before they passed the Coaches Certification (Recruiting) Test.


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


The institution and NCAA enforcement staff agreed that from at least September 20, 2019, to January 29, 2020, the scope and nature of the violations detailed above demonstrate that the institution violated the NCAA principle of rules compliance when it failed to adequately monitor its football program by ensuring compliance with applicable NCAA recruiting legislation.


From November through December 2019, the institution failed to monitor the football program's recruitment of the Division II student-athlete identified above. Additionally, the institution failed to recognize that the prospective student-athlete was then enrolled at another four-year college and determine whether it had permission to contact him and authorize an official visit. The institution also failed to provide rules education, training on the use of, or a username or password to access the NCAA transfer portal to an assistant football coach. NCAA Constitution 2.8.1 (2019-20).


From September 2019 through January 2020, the institution failed to establish reasonable policies and procedures to ensure all coaching staff members passed the annual Coaches Certification (Recruiting) Test prior to engaging in off-campus recruiting activities. NCAA Constitution 2.8.1 (2019-20).


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


Aggravating Factors for the Institution


A history of Level I, Level II or major violations by the institution. NCAA Bylaw 19.9.3-(b).


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


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


Mitigating Factors for the Institution


Prompt self-detection and self-disclosure of the violations. NCAA Bylaw 19.9.4-(a).


Prompt acknowledgement of the violation, acceptance of responsibility and (for an institution) imposition of meaningful corrective measures and/or penalties. NCAA Bylaw 19.9.4-(b).


An established history of self-reporting Level III or secondary violations. NCAA Bylaw 19.9.4-(d).


Aggravating Factors for the Assistant Coach


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


Mitigating Factors for the Assistant Coach


Prompt acknowledgement of the violation, and acceptance of responsibility. NCAA Bylaw 19.9.4-(b).


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


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


1. Public reprimand and censure.


2. Probation: Two years of probation from April 20, 2021 to April 19, 2023.


3. Financial penalty: The institution will pay a fine of $5,000 to the NCAA.


4. Recruiting Restrictions: (a) The institution shall reduce official paid visits in its football program during the 2021-22 academic year by three from the number of visits permissible; (b) The institution shall prohibit unofficial visits in its football program for two weeks during the 2020-21 academic year; (c) The institution shall prohibit all recruiting communications in its football program for two weeks during the 2020-21 academic year; and (d) The institution shall reduce the number of evaluations days in its football program during the 2021-22 academic year by three from the number of evaluation days permissible.


5. The institution suspended the assistant coach from all coaching duties during three preseason football dates: January 30 and February 7 and 14, 2021.


6. The institution prohibited the assistant coach from all recruiting activities from February 13 through 26, 2021.


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