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Former Alabama State softball coach failed to promote atmosphere for compliance

Download the Alabama State University Public Infractions Decision

INDIANAPOLIS - A former Alabama State University head softball coach did not promote an atmosphere for compliance when she allowed student-athletes to participate in countable athletically related activity in excess of what NCAA rules allow, according to a Division I Committee on Infractions panel. The school also failed to monitor the processes that led to student-athletes purchasing items that were not course-related books or supplies.

The panel accepted the university's self-imposed $5,000 fine and countable athletic activity reductions. It also prescribed a one-year show-cause order for the former coach. During that time, if an NCAA member school hires her, it must set weekly meetings with her to monitor countable athletic activity.

This case was resolved through the summary disposition process, a cooperative effort during which the involved parties collectively submit the case to the Committee on Infractions in written form. The NCAA enforcement staff, university and involved individuals must agree to the facts and overall level of the case in order to use this process instead of a formal hearing.

The former coach was aware that student-athletes would arrive early to practice to run and stretch, and occasionally, the former coach would keep the student-athletes for post-practice meetings with the team. Both activities resulted in the team exceeding countable athletic activity. The softball program also did not apply countable activities limitations placed on the softball program by the Division I Committee on Academic Performance. The former coach did not demonstrate that she promoted an atmosphere for compliance within her program when she was personally involved in the violations.

Additionally, the university did not monitor its student-athletes' bookstore purchases when it did not fully implement a previously established compliance system and did not provide rules education to university staff members and bookstore personnel. The extra-benefit violations were a result of the athletics director shifting sole oversight of the purchases to the academic services unit instead of oversight by both the academic services unit and compliance staff. The director of academic services felt his unit was too busy to monitor the purchases and instructed his staff not to monitor them. As a result, no one monitored the purchases and the bookstore personnel did not have the rules education necessary to ensure all purchases followed the rules.

Penalties prescribed by the panel include the following:

  • Public reprimand and censure for the university.
  • Two years of probation from Oct. 20, 2016, through Oct. 19, 2018.
  • A one-year show-cause order for the former head softball coach from Oct. 20, 2016, through Oct. 19, 2017. During that time, any NCAA member school that hires her must set weekly meetings with the school's compliance director to submit countable activity logs and discuss those activities. She also must attend an NCAA Regional Rules Seminar.
  • A reduction in the number of softball countable athletic activity hours from 20 to 16 (self-imposed by the university).
  • The softball program took two days off during the spring 2015 championship segment and the 2015-16 academic year (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 John Black, attorney in private practice; Melissa Conboy, deputy director of athletics at the University of Notre Dame; Thomas Hill, senior vice president for student affairs at Iowa State University; Joel Maturi, former University of Minnesota, Twin Cities, athletics director; Joseph Novak, former head football coach at Northern Illinois University; and Larry Parkinson, chief hearing officer for the panel and director of enforcement for the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission.