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Former Arizona diving coach commits recruiting violations

Download the Jan. 2019 University of Arizona Public Infractions Decision

A former University of Arizona diving coach committed multiple recruiting violations related to his recruitment of an international prospect, according to a Division I Committee on Infractions panel. Additionally, the former head swimming and diving coach did not promote an atmosphere of compliance or monitor the former diving coach when he failed to act on his knowledge of the prospect’s circumstances.

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, involved individuals and university must agree to the facts and overall level of the case to use this process instead of a formal hearing.

The prospect did not meet the NCAA requirements to be an academic qualifier. In an attempt to meet the requirements, she moved to the campus area several months before she enrolled at the university to complete a program at its Center for English as a Second Language.  

The former diving coach knew the prospect from their shared home country and previously coached her while she trained with the country’s national team. He recruited the prospect to the university and, after learning that she was an academic nonqualifer, he arranged for her to stay with a booster while she completed the program. The booster did not charge the prospect rent for the living arrangement. The committee noted that the former diving coach said he did not ask the prospect whether she was paying rent because “as the coach, it’s better sometimes not to ask.”

The violations continued when the prospect registered with the local diving club in order to train with the former diving coach, according to the committee. The prospect did not meet any exceptions to the NCAA tryout rule, so each training session held at the diving club was an impermissible tryout. The prospect also traveled with the university’s diving team to an NCAA diving meet, resulting in her receiving impermissible lodging, transportation and tryouts.

The committee found the violations in this case supported a violation of the NCAA’s head coach responsibility rule because the former head coach was aware of the prospect’s living and training arrangements, but he did not alert the compliance office. He also trusted oversight of the diving program to another staff member but did not communicate the expectation to the staff member. He admitted that he was more focused on the swimming side of the program and acknowledged that the former diving coach was not always on his radar because diving practices were at a different time than the swimming practices.

This infractions case is limited to recruiting violations in the swimming and diving program. The committee has not considered any additional information related to other athletics programs at the university. The NCAA will not comment beyond the facts in the present infractions case.

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

  • Two years of probation.
  • A one-year show-cause order for the former diving coach. During that period, any NCAA member school employing the him must restrict him from any athletically related duties.
  • A reduction in women’s swimming and diving scholarship equivalencies by one from the average number awarded during the past four academic years.
  • A suspension of swimming and diving recruiting activity for a three-week period beginning Dec. 10, 2018 (self-imposed by the university).
  • A three-week ban on unofficial visits and complimentary admissions in the swimming and driving program beginning Dec. 10, 2018 (self-imposed by the university).
  • A reduction in the number of official swimming and diving visits by five, which represented a 10.8 percent reduction in visits based on the average provided over a four-year period (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 Michael F. Adams, president emeritus of Georgia; Norman Bay, attorney in private practice; Bobby Cremins, former head men’s basketball coach at Appalachian State, Georgia Tech and College of Charleston; Joel Maturi, former Minnesota athletics director; Gary L. Miller, chief hearing officer for the panel and chancellor at Green Bay; Larry Parkinson, director of enforcement for the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission; and Roderick Perry, athletics director at Indiana University-Purdue University Indianapolis.