Texas Southern demonstrated a lack of institutional control and was responsible for booster involvement in recruiting, academic improprieties, ineligible student-athlete participation and exceeding scholarship limits, according to a decision announced Tuesday by the Division I Committee on Infractions.
In addition, the former head basketball coach was cited for unethical conduct and the former head football coach did not promote an atmosphere for compliance, the committee said in its report.
The committee noted that as a double repeat violator, Texas Southern either has been on probation or had violations occurring on campus, or both, for 16 of the past 20 years. At various times during the earlier probation periods the university reported to the committee it was taking certain remedial actions when it actually was not, which was of particular concern to the committee.
In this case, the university allowed 129 student-athletes in 13 sports during seven academic years to compete and receive financial aid and travel expenses when they were ineligible. The majority of these student-athletes had not met progress toward degree or transfer requirements. The committee noted “particularly serious violations” occurred when the former head football coach knowingly allowed a booster to recruit for the football program and the former head men’s basketball coach provided false or misleading information during the investigation.
The men’s basketball team also failed to serve its academic performance program penalty. During the 2009-10 season, the university was required to limit scholarships and restrict its athletically related activity to five days a week. The team awarded two more scholarships than allowed in the penalty and did not adhere to the practice restrictions.
The former head football coach and three former assistant football coaches were all aware that a booster was contacting potential transfers and their parents, according to committee findings. The booster also purchased an airline ticket for a prospective student-athlete’s girlfriend through an acquaintance of the former head football coach. The committee notes the staff not only failed to dissuade the booster from making such contacts but also actively encouraged him and did not attempt to determine if the booster’s activities were permissible under NCAA rules.
Over two academic years, the former head basketball coach and former head football coach made an arrangement to put two student-athletes on football scholarships for the purpose of circumventing the scholarship limits placed on the men’s basketball program. One of the student-athletes admitted he had initially been untruthful about playing football during the investigation and both student-athletes did not participate in the football program.
The university exceeded financial aid limits during the 2008-09 through 2010-11 academic years. Compounding the problems with oversight was that no squad lists were produced by the compliance office during the years the violations occurred.
The former head football coach failed to promote an atmosphere for compliance in the football program and monitor the activities regarding compliance by assistant coaches. The report states, “The former head football coach’s purported ignorance of well-understood and long-standing NCAA rules is not persuasive.” The committee noted the former head football coach demonstrated that rules compliance was not of foremost importance. Additionally, he did not establish a culture for rules compliance within his program and he did not monitor his staff’s interactions with the booster.
The former head basketball coach was cited for unethical conduct for knowingly providing false or misleading information concerning improperly awarded scholarships to two men’s basketball student-athletes. In its findings, the committee noted that the coach’s sole purpose in asking the head football coach to put the two student-athletes on a football scholarship was to procure athletically related scholarships beyond what the men’s basketball program was able to provide.
Because of the scope and nature of the findings, Texas Southern lacked institutional control due to its failure to have necessary safeguards in place to prevent violations; ensure the academic performance program sanctions were fully understood and complied with; and make certain that all scholarships were properly awarded and to generate squad lists. The university also insufficiently investigated academic issues that involved 24 student-athletes and allowed 12 of the 24 student-athletes to receive unearned academic credit. Texas Southern also failed to notify the NCAA about the ineligible competition of some of the student-athletes.
Penalties in this case include:
•Public reprimand and censure.
• Five years probation from October 9, 2012, through October 8, 2017.
• Postseason ban for the 2013 and 2014 football seasons and 2012-13 men’s basketball season.
• Three-year show-cause orders for the former head men’s basketball coach and the former head football coach. The public report contains further details.
• A limit of no more than 65 overall counters, 25 initial counters (from 30 maximum) and 60 equivalency scholarships (from 63 maximum) in football for four academic years.
• A limit of 11 men’s basketball scholarships (from 13 maximum) for three academic years.
• Due to health and safety concerns related to the reductions in scholarships and squad size, during probation, the football team may only compete against FCS member schools.
• Vacation of all team records for the 2006-07 through 2009-10 academic years in all sports, and vacation of all team records for the 2010-11 academic year in football and woman’s soccer (self-imposed by the university).
• Reduction in the available number of recruiting person days by 10 for men’s basketball during the 2011-12 and 2012-13 academic years (self-imposed by the university).
• During the 2012-13 and 2013-14 academic years, the university may only use half the available evaluation days in both the spring and fall evaluation periods in football.
• Football official paid visits are limited to 30 total per year for football and nine total per year for men’s basketball during the 2011-12 and 2012-13 academic years.
• An in-person review of the university’s athletics policies and practices must be conducted annually, at the university’s expense, through the term of probation. The review must generate a report of his/her findings, to be submitted with the annual compliance reports and submitted to the committee.
The members of the Division I Committee on Infractions who reviewed this case include Melissa (Missy) Conboy, acting chair of the Committee on Infractions and deputy director of athletics at the Notre Dame; John S. Black, attorney; Christopher L. Griffin, attorney; Roscoe C. Howard, Jr., attorney; Eleanor W. Myers, faculty athletics representative and law professor at Temple; James O’Fallon, law professor and faculty athletics representative at Oregon; Josephine (Jo) R. Potuto, faculty athletics representative and the Richard H. Larson Professor of Constitutional Law at the University of Nebraska College of Law; Greg Sankey, executive associate commissioner and chief operating officer for the Southeastern Conference; and Rodney J. Uphoff, coordinator of appeals and law professor at Missouri.