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Former CSUN director of basketball operations acted unethically

Download the 2016 CSUN Public Infractions Decision

Listen to the media teleconference.

A former California State University, Northridge, director of basketball operations acted unethically when he committed academic misconduct for and provided impermissible academic benefits to a total of 10 men’s basketball student-athletes, according to a decision issued by a Division I Committee on Infractions panel. The university also failed to investigate and monitor the activities of the former director of operations.

Penalties in the case include three years of probation, a one-year postseason ban for the men’s basketball team, a vacation of men’s basketball records in which student-athletes participated while ineligible and a five-year show-cause order for the former director basketball of operations. During the show-cause period, if he is hired by an NCAA school in an athletically related position, that school must appear with him before the committee. The panel also accepted several corrective actions self-imposed by the university, which the public report further details.

The former director of basketball operations denied completing coursework or providing impermissible academic benefits to student-athletes; however, the panel did not find him to be credible.

In the instance of one student-athlete, a tutor found he did not know how to log in to the system used by the university to submit assignments, but found assignments submitted through the system. Additionally, student-athlete mentors and tutors found that coursework for other men’s basketball student-athletes was submitted online without the student-athletes’ knowledge; the grades student-athletes received for online courses were significantly higher than grades they received in traditional classes; and the student-athletes reported working with a coach for their online classes.

Metadata collected during the investigation from the computer of the former director of basketball operations contained approximately 3,000 individual actions involving the 10 men’s basketball student-athletes. He could not explain why metadata showed logins, submissions and attempts of assignments as quizzes from his computer at an IP address from his parents’ house more than 70 miles from the university. Once he was removed from his position, six of the student-athletes’ grades in an online course dropped significantly. He stated that student-athletes used his computer to complete coursework; however, none of the men’s basketball coaching staff could recall ever seeing a student-athlete using the computer.

The former director of basketball operations received NCAA rules education and knew, or should have known, that completing coursework for student-athletes was impermissible. He committed academic misconduct for two student-athletes and provided impermissible academic benefits to six student-athletes. He also committed academic misconduct and provided impermissible academic benefits to an additional two student-athletes.

The university did not monitor the involvement of the former director of basketball operations  in the online coursework of 10 student-athletes and did not adequately investigate concerns, the panel said. Concerns with the former director of basketball operations were raised as early as three years before the violations began, but the university failed to take adequate steps to thoroughly investigate the concerns or monitor his actions. The university noted there was dysfunction between its academic affairs and athletics departments. That dysfunction and lack of communication allowed the violations involving the former director of basketball operations to occur, according to the panel.

The panel noted that the university should be commended for the substantial and widespread corrective actions it took once the investigations concluded.

Penalties and corrective actions imposed by the panel include:

  • A three-year probation period to from Dec. 7, 2016, through Dec. 6, 2019.
  • A five-year show-cause order for the former director of basketball operations. The period will run from Dec. 7, 2016, through Dec. 6, 2021. Any NCAA school employing him in an athletically related role during that time must appear with him before a Committee on Infractions panel.
  • A vacation of wins in which the men’s basketball student-athletes participated while ineligible. The university will identify the games impacted following the release of the public report. 
  • A $5,000 fine plus 1 percent of the men’s basketball budget.
  • A one-year men’s basketball postseason ban, completed following the 2015-16 season (self-imposed by the university).
  • A reduction of two men’s basketball scholarships over two academic years. The program reduced scholarships by one during the 2016-17 season and must reduce scholarships by one during the 2017-18 season (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, chancellor, Pepperdine University; Britton Banowsky, executive director of the College Football Playoff Foundation; Carol Cartwright, chief hearing officer for the panel and president emeritus at Kent State University; Gregory Christopher, athletics director at Xavier University; Larry Parkinson, director of enforcement for the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission; Gregory Sankey, chair of the Committee on Infractions and commissioner for the Southeastern Conference; and Sankar Suryanarayan, university counsel, Princeton University.