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The NCAA Committee on Infractions Has Spoken: Youngstown State University

The NCAA Committee on Infractions (“Committee” or “COI” or “panel”) recently issued its findings and found that YSU University (“YSU” or “institution”) committed violations of NCAA legislation. This case involved academic integrity and recruiting inducement violations in the women's soccer program at YSU. The former head women's soccer coach was at the center of these violations, and his personal involvement demonstrated that he failed to promote an atmosphere of compliance in the women's soccer program. Additionally, after separating from the institution, the head coach violated principles of ethical conduct and cooperation during the investigation in this case.


After considering applicable aggravating and mitigating factors, the panel classified this case as Level I-Standard for YSU and Level I-Aggravated for the head coach.


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


Violations of NCAA Division I Manual Bylaws NCAA Division I Manual Bylaws 10.01.1, 10.1, 10.1-(b) and 10.1-(g) (2015-16) and 12.11.1, 14.1.2.1-(a), 14.1.2.1-(b) and 16.8.1 (2016-17)


Over an approximately one-year period, the head coach knowingly arranged for false University of Ghana transcripts for three international women's soccer student-athletes who wanted to enroll and compete at YSU. The institution erroneously certified the three student-athletes based on the false transcripts, and they subsequently competed and received expenses while ineligible. YSU agreed that Level I violations occurred. The head coach denied arranging for the false transcripts. The panel concluded the violations occurred, and they are Level I.


In May and June 2016 and January 2017, the head coach knowingly arranged for false transcripts from the University of Ghana for student-athletes 1, 2 and 3. The use of the false transcripts enabled the three international student-athletes to enroll at YSU as transfers from a four-year institution, thus making them immediately eligible to compete. The head coach's conduct violated Bylaws 10 and 14. When the institution erroneously certified the student-athletes based on the false transcripts and allowed them to compete and receive expenses while ineligible, violations of Bylaws 12 and 16 occurred.


Bylaw 10 requires current and former institutional staff members to conduct themselves in an ethical manner and to act with honesty and sportsmanship at all times. Bylaw 10.1 defines unethical conduct and includes a non-exhaustive list of behaviors specifically identified as unethical. Among these are Bylaw 10.1-(b) (2015-16), knowing involvement in arranging for false transcripts for a prospect, and Bylaw 10.1-(g) (2015-16), failure to provide complete and accurate information to the NCAA Eligibility Center or an institution's admissions office regarding an individual's academic record. Effective August 1, 2016, the membership moved academic integrity violations from Bylaw 10 (Unethical Conduct) to Bylaw 14 (Eligibility). Thus, Bylaws 10.1-(b) and 10.1-(g) became Bylaws 14.1.2.1-(a) (2016-17) and 14.1.2.1-(b) (2016-17), respectively. Bylaw 12.11.1 obligates institutions to withhold ineligible student-athletes from competition. Relatedly, under Bylaw 16.8.1, an institution may provide actual and necessary expenses only to eligible student-athletes who represent the institution in practice and competition.


All parties agreed that the arrangement of false University of Ghana transcripts for student-athletes 1, 2 and 3 would constitute a violation of Bylaws 10 and 14 if demonstrated. The primary question for the panel was whether the information in the record demonstrated that the head coach was responsible for arranging the false transcripts. YSU and the NCAA enforcement staff agreed that he was. The head coach denied any responsibility. Ultimately, the panel concluded that the record supported the head coach's involvement in arranging for the false transcripts.


The panel found the following four factors to be particularly persuasive in demonstrating the head coach's involvement: (1) student-athlete 3's statement to YSU implicating the head coach in the falsification of her transcript; (2) the nearly identical transcripts of student-athlete 2 and the non-YSU student-athlete; (3) the head coach's involvement in delivering the transcripts to YSU; and (4) the lack of an alternative explanation for how the false transcripts came into being. The panel also had concerns regarding the head coach's credibility due to inconsistent statements.


First, the statements made by student-athlete 3 during her meeting with the institution indicate the head coach had a role in procuring her falsified transcript. The former compliance director's written summary of that meeting is the most reliable account of what the student-athlete said as it was compiled only a few days after the meeting. According to the former compliance director, the student-athlete stated that the head coach told her he would arrange for her to have transcripts from the University of Ghana—a school she did not attend—so that she would be immediately eligible to participate on the soccer team and receive an athletics scholarship. When interviewed a few months later, the current head coach recalled student-athlete 3's statements being more vague. However, he confirmed that the student-athlete was generally aware that the head coach was taking care of the transcript issue. Additionally, both the former compliance director and another athletics administrator who attended the meeting recalled student-athlete 3 stating that she was told to say she went to the University of Ghana if asked. Both individuals indicated it was the head coach who told her to stay this. The panel did not find student-athlete 3's later denial in a private WhatsApp message to the head coach to be credible, particularly where the current head coach, former compliance director and another athletics administrator corroborated her earlier statements to the institution.


Second, it is significant that the head coach was in possession of the non-YSU student-athlete's University of Ghana transcript mere weeks before delivering a nearly identical transcript to YSU on behalf of student-athlete 2. When questioned about this at the hearing, the head coach could not provide an explanation as to why these two transcripts reflected exactly the same courses, grades and GPAs for the two student-athletes. He attempted to call the non-YSU student-athlete's credibility into question by asserting that she never mailed him her transcript as she claimed; rather, he picked it up from her in Ghana. But he could not explain to the panel why the non-YSU student-athlete would lie, speculating only that she might have thought she was doing him a favor or thought she was in trouble. Moreover, whether she mailed or hand delivered the transcript to the head coach is irrelevant because she also messaged him a screenshot of her grades—a fact the head coach did not deny. The head coach also emphasized that he was not recruiting the non-YSU student-athlete. However, this only makes his possession and transmittal of her transcript all the more curious.


Third, the head coach admitted that he delivered the transcripts for student-athletes 1 and 2 to YSU. At the infractions hearing, the head coach denied delivering student-athlete 1's transcript. However, during his March 2019 interview, he described picking up her transcript, delivering it to YSU, and watching the international admissions coordinator open the sealed envelope and joke with him that the transcript was fake. The panel finds the head coach's interview statements to be more credible than his statements at the hearing because they were made closer to the time of the conduct at issue and were more detailed. Although the head coach claimed he was not aware that the transcripts were false, his involvement in delivering transcripts purportedly from the same university for two different student-athletes on two different occasions suggests more than mere coincidence. Additionally, his changing narrative regarding the delivery of student-athlete 1's transcript was a credibility concern for the panel.


Finally, the head coach was unable to provide a plausible alternative explanation as to how the false transcripts came into being. Admitting that he was "speculating," he suggested at the hearing that student-athlete 1 showed the other two student-athletes how to falsify their transcripts. He also theorized that student-athlete 2 was motivated to implicate him in the falsification because she was upset that the head coach cancelled her scholarship when she left midseason to compete in the World Cup. This does not explain, however, what would have motivated the three student-athletes to falsify their transcripts in the first instance. Rather, it is the head coach—who had an interest in getting the student-athletes on the playing field as quickly as possible—who had a reason to falsify the transcripts. By bringing the three student-athletes in as four-year transfers, they were immediately eligible and did not have to submit test scores or meet other initial eligibility requirements.


The panel recognized that much of the information supporting this violation was circumstantial. However, the membership has given the COI authority to base its decisions on "information that directly or circumstantially supports the alleged violation." See Bylaw 19.7.8.3 (emphasis added). In its written submissions and at the infractions hearing, the enforcement staff repeatedly reminded the panel that it could view the head coach's failure to participate in a second interview and produce cellphone records as an admission that the alleged violation occurred. See Bylaws 19.2.3.2.1 and 19.2.3.2.2. However, the panel does not conclude this violation occurred based on inferences.13 Rather, the information, though primarily circumstantial, demonstrated that the head coach possessed the information necessary to falsify the student-athletes' transcripts and a reason to do so. It also demonstrated that he delivered two false transcripts to YSU on two separate occasions and played some role in procuring student-athlete 3's false transcript.


Thus, based on the facts and circumstances in the record, the panel concludes that the head coach knowingly arranged false transcripts for student-athletes 1, 2 and 3 in violation of Bylaws 10.1-(b) (2015-16) and 14.1.2.1-(a) (2016-17). He also failed to provide complete and accurate information regarding the student-athletes' academic records in violation of Bylaws 10.1-(g) (2015-16) and 14.1.2.1-(b) (2016-17). YSU erroneously certified the three student-athletes based on the false transcripts, which led to the student-athletes competing in a total of 61 contests while ineligible. When YSU failed to withhold the ineligible student-athletes from competition and provided them with actual and necessary expenses, the institution violated Bylaws 12.11.1 and 16.8.1.


The COI has previously concluded that Level I academic misconduct violations occur when institutional staff members arrange for fraudulent academic credit or false transcripts for prospective student-athletes. See University of the Pacific (2017) (concluding Level I academic misconduct violations occurred when the head men's basketball coach arranged for fraudulent academic credit by providing prospects with answers to coursework and exams in their summer distance learning courses); University of Mississippi (2016) (concluding a Level I academic misconduct violation occurred when the former director of basketball operations and former assistant basketball coach completed coursework for two prospects in five online courses); and Southern Methodist University (2016) (concluding a Level I academic misconduct violation occurred when a basketball administrative assistant obtained an incoming student-athlete's username and password and completed all his assignments and exams for an online course).


Consistent with these cases, the panel concluded the academic misconduct violation in this case is Level I. See also Bylaw 19.1.1 (identifying academic misconduct as an example of a Level I severe breach of conduct). The head coach's conduct seriously undermined and threatened the integrity of the NCAA Collegiate Model. The violation also provided YSU a substantial recruiting and competitive advantage by allowing the three student-athletes to bypass initial eligibility requirements and compete as four-year transfers.


Violations of NCAA Division I Manual Bylaws 12.11.1, 13.2.1, 13.2.1.1-(h), 13.5.1, 13.5.4, 13.15.1 and 16.8.1 (2016-17)


During the 2016-17 academic year, the head coach arranged for or provided impermissible recruiting inducements to student-athlete 3 in the form of payment of an institutional fee, cost-free summer housing, and cost-free transportation to and from the summer housing. YSU agreed that violations occurred and are Level II. The head coach agreed to the violations, but argued they should be designated Level III. The panel concluded the violations occurred and are Level II.


Between December 2016 and late July 2017, the head coach assisted student-athlete 3 with her transition from Ghana to YSU by providing or arranging the following: (1) payment of the student-athlete's $45 application fee; (2) cost-free housing with a host family while the student-athlete competed with an amateur soccer team during the summer; and (3) cost-free transportation from the airport to the host family's house and from the host family's house to campus. The recruiting inducements violated Bylaw 13 and rendered student-athlete 3 ineligible. Student-athlete 3 went on to compete in 33 contests while ineligible. When YSU failed to withhold the student-athlete from competition and provided her with expenses, Bylaw 12 and 16 violations occurred.


Bylaw 13 governs recruiting, with Bylaw 13.2.1 generally prohibiting institutional staff members from being directly or indirectly involved in arranging or providing benefits to a prospective student-athlete that are not otherwise available to prospective students generally. Bylaw 13.2.1.1-(h) identifies "free or reduced-cost housing" as a specifically prohibited benefit. Pursuant to Bylaw 13.5.1, institutions may not provide transportation to prospects except during an official visit or in limited circumstances during an unofficial visit. Relatedly, Bylaw 13.5.4 generally prohibits institutional staff members from providing a prospect with transportation to campus for purposes of enrollment. Bylaw 13.15.1 prohibits an institution or booster from providing or arranging financial assistance, directly or indirectly, to pay the cost of a prospect's educational or other expenses for any period prior to his or her enrollment. Finally, as referenced above, institutions are obligated to withhold ineligible student-athletes from competition and may not provide them with actual and necessary expenses pursuant to Bylaws 12 and 16.


The head coach's assistance to student-athlete 3 in the months leading up to her enrollment at YSU violated multiple provisions of Bylaw 13. First, when he arranged for another student-athlete to pay student-athlete 3's $45 application fee, the head coach provided financial assistance for a prospect's pre-enrollment educational expenses in violation of Bylaw 13.15.1 Second, and most significantly, the head coach's involvement in arranging cost-free housing for student-athlete 3 while she competed with the amateur team during the summer of 2017 violated Bylaw 13.2.1.1-(h). Finally, by providing transportation to a prospect outside of an official or unofficial visit—including transportation to campus for initial enrollment—the head coach violated Bylaws 13.5.1 and 13.5.4. The institution's subsequent failure to withhold student-athlete 3 from competition and its provision of expenses to the student-athlete while ineligible violated Bylaws 12.11.1 and 16.8.1 respectively.

COI has previously concluded that recruiting violations occur when an institutional staff member arranges housing for a prospect during the summer prior to initial enrollment. See Monmouth University (2017) (concluding Bylaw 13 violations occurred when the head men's tennis coach arranged free housing for a prospect prior to enrollment) and Southeastern Louisiana University (2015) (concluding a Bylaw 13 violation occurred when the assistant women's volleyball coach arranged for two incoming freshman student-athletes to live with enrolled student-athletes for approximately one week prior to the incoming student-athletes' enrollment). As in these cases, the head coach's actions in facilitating housing and other inducements for student-athlete 3 prior to her initial enrollment violated Bylaw 13.


The head coach agreed that his conduct violated Bylaw 13 recruiting legislation but argued the violations were Level III, not Level II as alleged. The panel disagreed. The violations were not isolated or limited as they took place over a period of roughly seven months, beginning in December 2016 and ending in July 2017. Additionally, the arrangement of housing for student-athlete 3 provided more than a minimal advantage or benefit because it enabled the student-athlete to compete with an amateur team during the summer prior to enrollment and sharpen her skills. In past cases, the COI has concluded that recruiting inducements of a similar scope and nature constituted Level II violations. See Monmouth and Southeastern Louisiana. As in these cases, and consistent with Bylaw 19.1.2, the panel concluded the recruiting inducements and related Bylaw 12 and 16 violations constitute a collective Level II violation.


Violations of NCAA Division I Manual Bylaws 11.1.1.1 (2015-16 and 2016-17)


The head coach's direct involvement in arranging for false transcripts and recruiting inducements demonstrated that he failed to promote an atmosphere of compliance in the women's soccer program. The head coach did not take a clear position on the head coach responsibility allegation, merely noting his disagreement with the underlying academic misconduct allegation and his admission that he provided impermissible recruiting inducements to student-athlete 3. The institution agreed that the head coach's conduct constituted a Level I violation of NCAA head coach responsibility legislation. The panel concluded that the violation occurred, and it is Level I.


During the 2015-16 and 2016-17 academic years, the head coach failed to meet his responsibility to promote an atmosphere of compliance in his program. The head coach was personally involved in violations of foundational NCAA academic integrity legislation when he arranged for false transcripts for three international women's soccer student-athletes. He was also involved in arranging or providing recruiting inducements to one of the student-athletes prior to her enrollment at YSU. The panel concluded that the head coach's conduct violated Bylaw 11 head coach responsibility legislation.


Bylaw 11.1.1.1 establishes two affirmative duties for head coaches: (1) to promote an atmosphere of rules compliance and (2) to monitor individuals in their programs who report to them. The bylaw presumes that head coaches are responsible for the violations in their programs. Head coaches may rebut this presumption by demonstrating that they promoted an atmosphere of compliance and monitored their staff.


Here, the head coach failed to rebut the presumption. His direct involvement in the violations demonstrated that he did not promote an atmosphere of compliance. He knew he could bypass initial eligibility requirements and ensure student-athletes 1, 2 and 3 were immediately eligible as four-year transfers, and he took steps to make that happen. Specifically, the head coach arranged false transcripts for the three student-athletes—an action he knew to be a violation of NCAA academic integrity legislation and contrary to the principles of competitive equity that are a pillar of the Collegiate Model. The head coach's involvement in providing and arranging recruiting inducements further demonstrates that he did not promote an atmosphere of compliance. In his written materials and at the hearing, the head coach did not provide any information regarding his efforts to promote compliance or monitor his staff. For these reasons, the head coach did not rebut the presumption of responsibility.


The COI has previously concluded that head coaches failed to promote an atmosphere of compliance when they were directly involved in violations. See University of Northern Colorado (2017) (concluding a Level I head coach responsibility violation occurred when the head men's basketball coach was involved in academic misconduct violations, including personally completing a prospect's summer coursework and enlisting an athletic trainer to do the same) and Pacific (concluding a Level I head coach responsibility violation occurred when the head men's basketball coach was personally involved in academic misconduct violations, including providing prospects with answers to coursework). As in these cases, the panel concludes that the head coach's conduct violated Bylaw 11 head coach responsibility legislation. Consistent with Bylaw 19.1.1 and the COI's past cases, the violation is Level I because it derived from an underlying Level I severe breach of conduct.


Violations of NCAA Division I Manual Bylaws 10.1-(c) (2018-19) and 10.1, 10.1-(a), 19.2.3, 19.2.3-(b), (c) and (d) (2018-19 and 2019-20)


During the investigation in this case, after the head coach was no longer employed by the institution, he provided false or misleading information to the enforcement staff when he denied having any knowledge of or involvement in the academic misconduct violations. The head coach also failed to meet his obligation to cooperate when he declined to participate in a second interview and failed to produce cellphone records requested by the enforcement staff. The head coach disputed the allegation. The panel concluded the violation occurred and is Level I.


Beginning in March 2019, the head coach's conduct during the investigation failed to uphold the standards of ethical conduct and cooperation established by the membership. The head coach provided false or misleading information to the enforcement staff when he denied any involvement in arranging false transcripts for student-athletes 1, 2 and 3. Additionally, the head coach did not meet his obligation to cooperate when he did not respond to the enforcement staff's requests for a second interview and failed to produce cellphone records requested by the NCAA enforcement staff or permit mirror imaging of his phone. The head coach's conduct violated Bylaws 10 and 19.


As described previously, Bylaw 10 lists specific examples of conduct the membership has deemed unethical. Among other things, these include an individual's refusal to furnish information relevant to an investigation of possible violations (see Bylaw 10.1-(a)) and knowingly furnishing false or misleading information concerning an individual's involvement in or knowledge of possible violations (see Bylaw 10.1-(c)). Further, under Bylaw 19.2.3, current and former institutional staff members have an affirmative obligation to cooperate fully with the NCAA enforcement staff to further the objectives of the Association and its infractions program. Full cooperation includes the following: (1) timely participation in interviews and providing complete and truthful responses (see Bylaw 19.2.3-(b)); (2) full and complete disclosure of relevant information, including timely production of materials or information requested by the NCAA enforcement staff (see Bylaw 19.2.3-(c)); and (3) disclosing and providing access to all electronic devices used for business purposes (see Bylaw 19.2.3-(d)).


The head coach's conduct during the investigation did not meet the standards established by the membership. First, the head coach provided false or misleading information to the enforcement staff during his March 16, 2019, interview. Specifically, he denied arranging the false transcripts for student-athletes 1, 2 and 3. However, factual information in the record substantiates that the head coach knew the student-athletes did not attend the University of Ghana and he was involved in arranging false transcripts for them as described above. The head coach's knowing provision of false or misleading information violated Bylaw 10.1-(c).


Second, the head coach did not respond to multiple requests by the NCAA enforcement staff for a second interview. The head coach claimed he was not aware of the requests because he did not receive the enforcement staff's email correspondence. The panel does not find this claim to be credible for two reasons. First, the NCAA enforcement staff sent a third request via mail, which the head coach did not address and did not deny receiving. Second, the NCAA enforcement staff issued the NOA alleging the head coach's failure to respond to the interview request on November 13, 2019. But it was not until the prehearing conference in March 2021 that the head coach informed the staff that he never received the request. If this had truly been an instance of missed communications, it seems more probable that the head coach would have alerted the enforcement staff to the situation immediately upon receiving the NOA. Thus, the panel concluded that the head coach's failure to participate in a second interview violated Bylaw 10.1-(a) and 19.2.3-(b).


Finally, the head coach did not provide cellphone records requested by the NCAA enforcement staff and refused the staff's requests to mirror his phone. The panel indicated it is sensitive to the privacy concerns raised by the head coach. However, the NCAA enforcement staff made significant efforts to accommodate those concerns and offered to speak with the head coach's attorney on multiple occasions to address and alleviate any concerns he may have. The panel also recognized that the head coach attempted to obtain records from his cellphone provider via electronic chats. Ultimately, these efforts did not go far enough. The head coach did not, for example, heed the NCAA enforcement staff's suggestion to visit the provider's store in-person to request the records. The NCAA bylaws place an unequivocal obligation on current and former institutional staff members to make a full, complete and timely disclosure of information requested by the NCAA enforcement staff, including providing access to electronic devices used for business purposes. The head coach failed to do this and thereby violated Bylaws 10.1-(a), 19.2.3-(c) and 19.2.3-(d).


Consistent with Bylaw 19.1.1, the panel concluded that the head coach's failure to cooperate and unethical conduct violations are Level I. See Bylaw 19.1.1-(c) and (d) (identifying failure to cooperate and individual unethical conduct as examples of Level I violations). This designation is consistent with past case guidance. COI has routinely concluded that individuals who provide false or misleading information during an investigation, fail to participate in interviews or fail to provide information relevant to an investigation commit Level I violations of Bylaws 10 and 19. See Missouri State University (2021) (concluding that the head women's volleyball coach engaged in Level I unethical conduct when she provided false or misleading information regarding her involvement in violations); University of Connecticut (2019) (concluding that the head men's basketball coach engaged in Level I violations when he declined to participate in a second interview with the enforcement staff); and University of Louisiana at Lafayette (2016) (concluding that an assistant football coach engaged in Level I violations when he declined to participate in a third interview and furnish phone records). As in these cases, the head coach's provision of false or misleading information, failure to participate in a second interview and refusal to provide requested records is a Level I violation.


VIOLATION NOT DEMONSTRATED


The Notice of Allegations alleged that the head coach violated Bylaw 10 unethical conduct legislation by knowingly arranging recruiting inducements for student-athlete 3. The panel concluded that the facts do not support an unethical conduct violation because the head coach took the proper steps in speaking with the compliance office before acting and did not willfully attempt to subvert NCAA recruiting legislation. It is noteworthy that the head coach's actions in this area—i.e., his proactive engagement of the compliance office—differs drastically from his actions related to the false transcripts.


Bylaw 10 requires institutional staff members to conduct themselves in an ethical manner. In accordance with Bylaw 10.1-(b), staff members must not knowingly involve themselves in offering or providing a prospect with an impermissible recruiting inducement.


The head coach followed protocol by seeking the input and approval of the former compliance director before taking steps to facilitate summer housing for student-athlete 3. Specifically, the head coach asked the former compliance director if student-athlete 3 could stay with another YSU student-athlete who was also competing on the amateur team that summer. When the former compliance director told him this was not permissible because the other student-athlete was connected with YSU, the head coach took this to mean student-athlete 3 could stay with someone else as long as the person was unaffiliated with the institution. Thus, the head coach's subsequent actions—i.e., asking the amateur team's head coach to find housing for student-athlete 3—was the result of a legitimate misunderstanding rather than an attempt to skirt the rules.


The COI addressed a similar situation in University of the Pacific (2017). There, the COI concluded that although the head baseball coach violated Bylaw 16 extra benefits legislation when he provided impermissible financial aid to a student trainer, his conduct was not unethical in violation of Bylaw 10 because he sought approval of the financial aid arrangement before acting. Specifically, the head baseball coach consulted with the associate athletic director who oversaw financial aid compliance and followed the advice he was given. Thus, the COI concluded that the head baseball coach did not act unethically because he was not willfully attempting to subvert NCAA rules.


Likewise, the panel concluded that the head coach's conduct was not unethical in this case because he asked questions before acting and simply misinterpreted the answer he received. The Bylaw 10 unethical conduct violation was not demonstrated.


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


Aggravating Factors for the Institution

19.9.3-(a): Multiple Level I violations by the institution;

19.9.3-(b): A history of Level I, Level II or major violations by the institution;

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

19.9.3-(i): One or more violations caused significant ineligibility or other substantial harm to a student-athlete or prospect.


Mitigating Factors for the Institution

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

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


Aggravating Factors for the Head Coach

19.9.3-(a): Multiple Level I violations by the involved individual;

19.9.3-(e): Unethical conduct, compromising the integrity of an investigation, failing to cooperate during an investigation or refusing to provide all relevant or requested information;

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

19.9.3-(i): One or more violations caused significant ineligibility or other substantial harm to a student-athlete or prospect; and

19.9.3-(m): Intentional, willful or blatant disregard for the NCAA constitution and bylaws.


Mitigating Factors for the Head Coach

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


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


1. Public reprimand and censure.


2. Probation: Three (3) years of probation to run consecutive to the probationary period prescribed in Case No. 01239. This will extend the current period of probation through April 19, 2026.


3. Competition Penalty: During the 2019-20 academic year, the women's soccer program ended its season with the last regular-season contest and did not participate in postseason conference or NCAA tournament competition.


4. Financial penalty: YSU shall pay a fine of $5,000 plus two percent of the budget for the women's soccer program.


5. Scholarship Reduction: During the 2020-21 academic year, YSU reduced the number of equivalencies in women's soccer by one.


6. Recruiting Restrictions: (a) During the 2020-21 academic year, YSU limited official visits in the women's soccer program to five. This represented a 12.5 percent reduction from the average number of visits provided by the program during the previous four years; (b) For one academic year during the period of probation, YSU shall prohibit unofficial visits in the women's soccer program for a period of 10 weeks; (c) For one academic year during the period of probation, YSU shall prohibit recruiting communication in the women's soccer program for a period of 10 weeks; and (d) For one academic year during the period of probation, YSU shall prohibit off-campus recruiting in the women's soccer program for a period of 10 weeks.


7. Show Cause Order: The head coach shall be subject to a five-year show-cause order from January 11, 2022, through January 10, 2027.


8. Head Coach Restriction: The head coach violated Bylaw 11 head coach responsibility legislation when he failed to promote an atmosphere of compliance in the women's soccer program. Bylaw 19.9.5.5 and the Figure 19-1 penalty guidelines contemplate head coach suspensions to address head coach responsibility violations. Therefore, should the head coach become employed in an athletically related position at an NCAA member institution following the five-year show-cause period, the head coach shall be suspended from the first 50 percent of contests in the first season following the show-cause period. The provisions of this suspension require that the head coach not be present in the facility where the contests are played and have no contact or communication with women's soccer coaching staff members or student-athletes during the 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 head coach may not participate in any coaching activities including, but not limited to, team travel, practice, video study, recruiting and team meetings. The results of those contests from which the head coach is suspended shall not count toward the head coach's career coaching record.


9.Vacation of Team and Individual Records: YSU acknowledged that student-athletes 1, 2 and 3 competed while ineligible as a result of the falsified transcripts, which led YSU to erroneously certify the student-athletes. Therefore, pursuant to Bylaws 19.9.7-(g) and 31.2.2.3 and COI IOP 5-15-7, YSU shall vacate all regular season and conference tournament wins, records and participation in which ineligible student-athletes competed from the time they became ineligible through the time they were reinstated as eligible for competition.28 (Self-imposed.) Further, if the ineligible student-athletes participated in NCAA postseason competition at any time they were ineligible, YSU's participation in the postseason contests in which the ineligible competition occurred 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. Further, YSU's records regarding its women's soccer program, as well as the records of its head coach, shall reflect the vacated records and be recorded in all publications in which such records are reported, including, but not limited to, institutional media guides, recruiting material, electronic and digital media, plus institutional, conference and NCAA archives. Any institution that may subsequently hire the affected head coach shall similarly reflect the vacated wins in his career records documented in media guides and other publications cited above. Head coaches with vacated wins on their records may not count the vacated wins toward specific honors or victory "milestones" such as 100th, 200th or 500th career victories. Any public reference to the vacated records shall be removed from the athletics department stationery, banners displayed in public areas and any other forum in which they may appear. Any trophies awarded by the NCAA in the affected sport program shall be returned to the Association.

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