You are here

Former Lamar head men’s golf coach acted unethically

Download the Lamar University Public Infractions Decision

A former Lamar University head men’s golf coach acted unethically when he provided three student-athletes with a total of $15,500 in impermissible benefits to increase the amount of their scholarships, according to a decision issued by a Division I Committee on Infractions panel. The former head coach also took $5,600 in scholarship money from two student-athletes to give to another student-athlete. The panel found the former head coach did not promote an atmosphere of compliance due to his involvement in the violations and did not cooperate during the investigation. A former assistant men’s golf coach also did not cooperate during the investigation.

The panel accepted the university’s self-imposed men’s golf scholarship reductions and added two years of probation, a one-year postseason ban for the men’s golf team, a fine, recruiting restrictions, a vacation of men’s golf records, and five-year show-cause orders for the former head and assistant coaches. During that time, if an NCAA school hires either coach, it must appear before the committee to discuss whether the coach’s athletics-related responsibilities should be limited.

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 and the university must agree to the facts and overall level of the case in order to use this process instead of a formal hearing. The panel reviewing the case held an expedited penalty hearing because the university did not agree with some of the penalties.

When the scholarship agreements for three men’s golf student-athletes were reduced or canceled, the former head coach assured each that the discrepancy would be corrected. Rather than use university funds, which would have been allowed since the men’s golf team had not reached its scholarship limit, the student-athletes said that the coach provided them with the money to supplement the expenses previously provided by the university. The panel noted that the former head coach knew, or should have known, that he was not allowed to supplement student-athletes’ scholarships.

The former head coach also asked two men’s golf student-athletes to withdraw money they received as a part of their scholarships and give it to him so he could give it to another student-athlete on the team. The student-athletes were neither given notice that their scholarships would be reduced nor given an opportunity for a hearing about the reduction.

The former head coach and the assistant coach did not cooperate with the university or the NCAA enforcement staff during the investigation and refused to submit to an interview. The coaches also did not participate in the summary disposition process.

Penalties prescribed by the panel include the following:

  • Public reprimand and censure for the university.
  • A two-year probation period from Sept. 22, 2016, through Sept. 21, 2018.
  • A five-year show-cause order for the former head coach from Sept. 22, 2016, through Sept. 21, 2021. If an NCAA member school hires him during that time, he and the school must appear before the Committee on Infractions.
  • A five-year show-cause order for the former assistant coach from Sept. 22, 2016, through Sept. 21, 2021. If an NCAA member school hires him during that time, he and the school must appear before the Committee on Infractions.
  • A vacation of men’s golf records in which ineligible student-athletes competed. After the release of the public report, the university will identify the competition affected.
  • A reduction in the number of men’s golf scholarships for the 2014-15 academic year to 3.5 equivalencies, from a total of 4.5 (self-imposed by the university).
  • A prohibition of unofficial visits during a seven-week period during the 2016-17 academic year.
  • A reduction in the number of official paid visits by 12.5 percent during the 2016-17 academic year based on the average number provided during the previous four years in the men’s golf program.
  • A prohibition of recruiting communications during a seven-week period for men’s golf coaches during the 2016-17 academic year.
  • A prohibition of off-campus prospect evaluations by men’s golf coaches during a seven-week period during the 2016-17 academic year.
  • A $5,000 fine plus an amount equal to 1 percent of the university’s average men’s golf budget for the previous three years. The university will calculate the total fine after the report is issued.

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 Gregory Christopher, athletics director at Xavier University; Alberto Gonzales, dean of the law school at Belmont University and former attorney general of the United States; Gary L. Miller, chief hearing officer for this case and chancellor at University of Wisconsin-Green Bay; Eleanor W. Myers, law professor at Temple University; Jill Pilgrim, attorney in private practice; and Gregory Sankey, chair of the Committee on Infractions and commissioner for the Southeastern Conference.