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Former Alabama assistant football coach acted unethically

Download the April 2017 Alabama Public Infractions Decision

A former Alabama assistant football coach acted unethically when he provided false or misleading information about impermissible recruiting contacts, according to a Division I Committee on Infractions panel. The university also committed Level III recruiting violations when a second former assistant football coach had impermissible off-campus contact with a recruit during an evaluation period and members of the football staff impermissibly allowed a prospect’s youth football coach to attend a recruiting visit at the prospect’s home. 

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, university and participating parties must agree to the facts and overall level of the case to use this process instead of a formal hearing. The panel held an expedited penalty hearing because the former assistant coach did not agree with the conditions of the show-cause penalty.

The former assistant coach knowingly committed a recruiting violation when he participated in an impermissible meeting arranged by a booster with four prospects at their high school. The booster later initiated another impermissible meeting with three of the prospects on her own. The contacts provided the university with a recruiting advantage because, contrary to NCAA rules, the activity occurred before the end of the prospects’ junior year of high school and allowed the booster to recruit prospects. When the former assistant coach was asked about his recruiting activity by the university and the NCAA enforcement staff, he denied the recruiting activity and the booster’s involvement. His statements were in direct contradiction to information provided by two of the prospects and the high school’s football coach. The panel noted the seriousness of the case was substantially exacerbated by the former assistant coach’s provision of false or misleading information.

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

  • Public reprimand and censure for the university.
  • A two-year show-cause period for the former assistant coach from April 14, 2017, through April 13, 2019. During that period, any NCAA member school employing the former coach in an athletics role, including his current school, must restrict him for all off-campus recruiting activities and require him to attend NCAA Regional Rules Seminars in 2017 and 2018.
    • The former assistant coach requested an expedited penalty case to contest the length of his show-cause penalty. After the hearing, the panel determined the penalty was appropriate because the former assistant coach had a responsibility as a part of the NCAA membership to provide truthful information during the investigation and he failed to do so during the interviews.
  • A withholding of the former assistant coach and his replacement from off-campus recruiting and telephone contact for 39 days, from April 22 through May 31, 2016 (self-imposed by the university).
  • The former assistant coach involved in a Level III violation was prohibited from participating in any off-campus recruiting for 30 days from Sept. 25, 2015, through Oct. 25, 2015, and suspended from one game during the 2015 football season (self-imposed by the university).
  • A disassociation of the booster (self-imposed by the university).
  • A $5,000 fine (self-imposed by the university).

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 Melissa Conboy, deputy director of athletics at Notre Dame; Thomas Hill, senior policy advisor to the president of Iowa State; Stephen A. Madva, attorney in private practice; Joel Maturi, former Minnesota athletics director; Eleanor W. Myers, chief hearing officer for the panel and law professor at Temple; Vincent Nicastro, deputy commissioner and chief operating officer for the Big East Conference; and Joseph D. Novak, former head football coach at Northern Illinois.