You are here

Chattanooga failed to monitor housing for tennis student-athletes

Download the March 2018 University of Tennessee at Chattanooga Public Infractions Decision

The University of Tennessee at Chattanooga did not monitor the living arrangements of three men’s tennis student-athletes who received reduced-cost housing from a booster, according to a Division I Committee on Infractions panel. The panel also found that the head men’s tennis coach did not promote an atmosphere of compliance in his program.

The head coach failed to meet his responsibility of compliance when he knew his student-athletes rented rooms from and drove the booster’s cars. He did not identify areas of concern, including differing rent charges and the free use of the cars, or ask the university’s compliance staff if the arrangements were allowed. The panel noted that the head coach admitted he took a hands-off approach with respect to his student-athletes’ off-campus arrangements. He presumed that if there were any issues, compliance would let him know.

“Compliance is an ongoing, shared responsibility, and coaches — particularly head coaches — are vital for assuring compliance within sport programs,” the panel said in its decision.

Chattanooga had a process for student-athletes to identify their living arrangements, including the address and rent payment. Despite having this information, the university did not identify the student-athletes’ living arrangements as potential issues and the violations went undetected for more than three years.

The booster also provided free meals to 11 student-athletes and provided impermissible transportation.

The panel used the Division I membership-approved infractions penalty guidelines to prescribe the following measures:

  • Two years of probation from March 27, 2018, through March 26, 2020.
  • A vacation of records in which men’s tennis student-athletes competed while ineligible. The university will provide a written report containing the matches impacted to the NCAA media coordination and statistics staff within 45 days of the public decision release.
  • A reduction of men’s tennis scholarship equivalencies by 5 percent for the 2017-18 academic year (self-imposed by the university).
  • A four-year disassociation of the booster and a permanent ban on student-athletes renting housing or cars from the booster. Details of the disassociation can be found in the public decision (self-imposed by the university).
  • Required attendance at NCAA Regional Rules Seminars for all full-time athletics compliance staff members during the probation period (self-imposed by the university).
  • Completion of a comprehensive compliance review by an outside agency with athletics compliance expertise within the next six months.
  • A $5,000 fine.

Members of the Committee on Infractions are drawn from NCAA membership and members of the public. The members of the panel who reviewed this case are Michael F. Adams, chancellor at Pepperdine; William Bock III, attorney in private practice; Thomas Hill, senior vice president emeritus at Iowa State; Joel Maturi, former Minnesota athletics director; Joyce McConnell, provost and vice president of academic affairs at West Virginia; and Sankar Suryanarayan, chief hearing officer for this panel and university counsel at Princeton.