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Arkansas Tech Provided Improper Benefits to Student-Athletes

Download the Arkansas Tech Public Infraction Decision

 

Arkansas Tech University failed to monitor its housing operations when it waived or paid $14,250 in housing security deposits for 57 prospects and student-athletes from 2009 to 2013, according to a decision issued by the Division II Committee on Infractions.

The university also reserved on-campus apartment rooms for student-athletes, which is contrary to NCAA rules because the general student body was not allowed to reserve rooms. Student-athletes on the university’s baseball, men’s and women’s basketball, men's and women's golf, football and women’s volleyball teams received the impermissible benefits.

Penalties, including those self-imposed by the university, are two years of probation, scholarship reductions in men’s and women’s basketball, reduced recruiting opportunities, reduced countable athletic activity and a vacation of games in which ineligible student-athletes competed.

This case was resolved through the summary disposition process, a cooperative effort where the involved parties collectively submit the case to the Committee on Infractions in written form. The NCAA enforcement staff and university must agree to the facts of the case in order for this process to be utilized instead of having a formal hearing. An expedited penalty hearing was held because all parties did not agree to all of the proposed penalties.

During the four-year period, the university had no procedures in place to detect, and require the reporting of, instances where prospects and student-athletes did not pay the required housing security deposit. The university also did not have procedures in place to ensure the reservation of rooms in on-campus apartments did not violate NCAA rules. The university’s housing office was responsible for monitoring security deposits, but it did not provide NCAA rules education to the housing staff. Additionally, the education provided to coaches did not include information about the limits for reserving on-campus housing for student-athletes. The lack of communication among campus departments and the lack of education contributed to the university’s failure to monitor certainaspects of its housing operation.

Penalties and corrective measures prescribed by the committee include:

  • Public reprimand and censure.
  • Two years of probation from June 4, 2015 through June 3, 2017.
  • A vacation of all wins in which ineligible student-athletes competed from 2009 through 2013. The public decision contains further details on the vacation.
  • Attendance at an NCAA Regional Rules Seminar for the vice president who oversees the housing official and the athletics compliance officer.
  • A $5,000 fine.

Penalties and corrective measures imposed by the university include:

  • A reduction of men’s basketball scholarships by 0.5 for both the 2015-16 and 2016-17 seasons.
  • A reduction of women’s basketball scholarships by 0.35 for both the 2015-16 and 2016-17 seasons.
  • A two-week reduction in the men’s basketball recruiting calendar during the 2014 and 2015 summer evaluation periods.
  • A one-week reduction in the women’s basketball recruiting calendar during the 2014 summer evaluation period.
  • A reduction of one official visit in the women’s and men’s basketball programs.
  • A two-year reduction of countable athletic activity in women’s and men’s basketball from 20 hours a week to 18 hours a week, for a total yearly reduction of 32 hours each year.

Members of the Committees on Infractions are drawn from NCAA membership and members of the public. The members of the Division II Committee on Infractions who reviewed this case are Douglas D. Blais, professor of sport management, Southern New Hampshire University; John D. Lackey, attorney; Bridget E. Lyons, senior associate director of athletics and senior woman administrator, Barry University; Julie Rochester, chair and faculty athletics representative and associate professor, Northern Michigan University; Carey Snyder, associate director of athletics, East Stroudsburg University of Pennsylvania; Harry O. Stinson III, interim athletics director, Kentucky State University; and Jane Teixeira, associate commissioner and senior compliance administrator, Pacific West Conference.