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Appeals committee upholds Mary Hardin-Baylor vacation of records penalty

Download the June 2020 University of Mary Hardin-Baylor Appeals Decision

The University of Mary Hardin-Baylor must vacate wins in which a student-athlete competed while ineligible, according to a decision issued by the NCAA Division III Infractions Appeals Committee.

In the NCAA Division III Committee on Infractions decision regarding Mary Hardin-Baylor, the committee found that football staff members, led by the head coach, violated recruiting and extra benefit rules by providing impermissible transportation.

In its appeal, the university argued that the vacation of records penalty prescribed by the Committee on Infractions was excessive such that it constitutes an abuse of discretion. The university said the existence, in this case, of only one of the factors contemplated by the bylaw related to the vacation of records penalty is not sufficient for the prescription of the penalty, and it said that the Committee on Infractions failed to address the other six factors in its decision. It also argued that no competitive advantage was gained when the benefit was provided, and case precedent did not support the penalty.

The Committee on Infractions said that the penalty was “fair and consistent with both the authorizing legislation and past cases.”

For a penalty to be overturned by the Infractions Appeals Committee, the university must demonstrate both that the penalty is excessive, and it is an abuse of discretion. 

In its decision, the Infractions Appeals Committee noted the NCAA rule detailing when the vacation of records penalty can be applied does not require more than one of the outlined circumstances to be present in a case for the Committee on Infractions to prescribe it. In this case, the Infractions Appeals Committee noted one of the circumstances, direct or knowing involvement of a coach or institutional administrator, was present. The Infractions Appeals Committee said the university agreed that there was a student-athlete who participated while ineligible and the head coach had directed involvement in the violation of NCAA rules.

When reviewing case precedent, the Infractions Appeals Committee noted the Committee on Infractions’ case history shows that it has routinely prescribed a vacation of records when an ineligible student-athlete competes.

After reviewing the arguments and case record, the Infractions Appeals Committee did not find the vacation of records penalty was excessive, and it affirmed the penalty.

The members of the Infractions Appeals Committee who heard this case were William J. Fritz, chair of the Division III Infractions Appeals Committee and president at Staten Island; Lauren S. Haynie, athletics director at Brandeis; and Kate Roy, associate commissioner of the North Atlantic Conference.