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Former Northeastern coach failed to promote atmosphere for compliance

Northeastern State University’s former head women’s tennis coach provided cash, academic fees, meals and other benefits to his student-athletes, according to findings by the NCAA Division II Committee on Infractions. The former head coach’s actions resulted in the committee citing him for failing to promote an atmosphere for compliance and unethical conduct.

Penalties include one year of probation, a $5,000 fine, vacation of certain women’s tennis contests and a two-year show-cause for the former head coach. During the show-cause period, if employed at an NCAA school, the former head coach must attend an NCAA Regional Rules Seminar, attend ethics training and submit monthly reports to the school’s compliance office.

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 involved individuals must agree to the facts of the case in order for this process to be utilized instead of having a formal hearing.

For two consecutive years, the former coach provided a total of six student-athletes with $1,300 cash shortly after their arrival on campus for initial enrollment. Over the course of three fall semesters, the former head coach provided women’s tennis team members regular post-practice meals, transportation and gifts on birthdays and holidays. The former head coach also provided four student-athletes with textbooks or cash to buy textbooks. Additionally, he paid certain fees for four international student-athletes.

From the spring of 2009 into the summer of 2012, four student-athletes participated on 13 recruiting calls to seven international prospective student-athletes, five of whom enrolled at Northeastern State. The former head coach claimed he believed it was permissible for current international student-athletes to assist him in overcoming the language barrier with prospects, but did not ask the athletics department for guidance on the matter.

The former head coach received regular NCAA rules education and was aware of the rules as they related to financial aid and extra benefits. Because his actions demonstrated that compliance with NCAA rules was not of foremost importance as he led the women’s tennis program, the committee cited him for a failure to promote an atmosphere for compliance and unethical conduct.

Penalties, including those imposed by the university, are:

  • Public reprimand and censure.

  • One year of probation from July 3, 2013 through July 2, 2014.

  • A two-year show-cause order for the former head coach. During this period, the committee restricts athletically related duties of the former head coach should he be employed by an NCAA school. The public report details the restrictions further.

  • A vacation of wins in which the 11 ineligible student-athletes competed during the 2009-10 through 2012-13 academic years, including regular season, and the team’s appearance in the Division II women’s tennis championships (imposed by the university).

  • Cancellation of the 2012 women’s tennis season (imposed by the university).

  • A $5,000 fine.

The members of the Division II Committee on Infractions who reviewed this case include Douglas Blais, faculty athletics representative, Southern New Hampshire University; Jean Paul Bradshaw II, attorney; Bridget Lyons, senior associate director of athletics, Barry University; Julie Rochester, chair and faculty athletics representative and associate professor, Northern Michigan University; Carey Snyder, associate director of athletics, East Stroudsburg University of Pennsylvania; Harry O. Stinson III, assistant athletics director of compliance, Kentucky State University; and Jane Teixeira, assistant commissioner of compliance, Pacific West Conference. 

Issuing NCAA Office(s):