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Fayetteville State failed to monitor its athletics program

Download the Nov. 2017 Fayetteville State Public Infractions Decision

Fayetteville State failed to monitor its women's basketball program and both the former women’s basketball head coach and her husband, the former director of intramurals, acted unethically, according to a decision by the NCAA Division II Committee on Infractions. The former head women’s basketball coach recruited two transfer student-athletes who were academically ineligible to compete, practice and receive financial aid.  

Though the two student-athletes were ineligible, the former women's basketball head coach sought special admissions exceptions, allowed them to practice with the team despite warnings from the compliance director, and knowingly arranged impermissible tuition payments by a booster for both student-athletes.  By requesting the booster make these payments, the former head coach engaged in unethical conduct.  She also acted unethically when she provided false or misleading information to the institution when questioned about these payments. 

The committee noted in it decision, “This case demonstrates the hazards of recruiting prospective student-athletes who do not meet eligibility requirements.”

Penalties prescribed by the committee include two years of probation for the university; a three-year show cause order for the former women’s basketball head coach; a two-year show cause order for the former director of intramural athletics; a vacation of records in which an ineligible student-athlete competed; and disassociation from the booster for two years.

The former women’s basketball head coach recruited and offered scholarships to two ineligible prospects who had previously attended two-year schools. Neither student met Fayetteville State’s admissions standards, but the former head coach convinced admissions officials to allow the students to enroll in classes through the university’s special visiting student program.

Shortly after the student-athletes enrolled, one incurred more than $4,000 in university charges. The head coach called a booster and requested assistance in paying the outstanding student fees. The former director of intramural athletics accompanied the booster to the financial aid office to complete the transaction. Approximately one month later, the head coach contacted the same booster to request assistance in paying fees for the second student-athlete. The booster was again accompanied by the former director of intramural athletics to pay the outstanding fees, resulting in more than $12,500 in impermissible benefits for the two student-athletes.

The two student-athletes also participated in practice after enrolling at the university, despite the former head coach’s knowledge that they were not eligible to participate in practice due to their status as special visiting students. The compliance director twice notified the former head coach that the student-athletes could not participate in practice, but did not follow up with the head coach to ensure that rules were followed moving forward.

Penalties include the following:

  • Public reprimand and censure for the university.
  • Two years of probation from Nov. 14, 2017, through Nov. 13, 2019.
  • A $2,500 fine.
  • Disassociation of the booster during the probationary period.
  • A three-year show cause period for the former women’s basketball head coach, from Nov. 14, 2017, through Nov. 13, 2020. During that period, any NCAA member school employing her must show cause why she should not have restrictions on athletically related activity.
  • A two-year show cause period for the former director of intramural athletics from Nov. 14, 2017, through Nov. 13, 2019. During that period, any NCAA member school employing him must show cause why he should not have restrictions on athletically related activity.
  • A vacation of all records in which ineligible student-athletes competed.

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 John David Lackey, attorney; Julie A. Rochester, committee chair, faculty athletics representative and associate professor, Northern Michigan; Carey Snyder, associate director of athletics at East Stroudsburg; Harry Stinson, athletics director at Lincoln (Pennsylvania); Christie L. Ward, senior woman administrator and associate athletics director for compliance at Georgia Southwestern.