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Former Ohio State swimming coach failed to promote compliance

Download the Nov. 2017 Ohio State University Public Infractions Decision

The former Ohio State head men’s swimming coach failed to promote an atmosphere of rules compliance related to recruiting violations, according to a Division I Committee on Infractions panel. The violations stemmed from a prospect living near campus before enrollment, which the Committee on Infractions has repeatedly warned can lead to violations.

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

The international prospect could not enroll at Ohio State in the fall due to delayed high school test scores. He decided to move to Columbus, Ohio, to train with the university’s swim club while he waited to enroll in the spring semester. His presence in Columbus led to a former assistant coach arranging for off-campus housing and other members of the swimming program providing him with access to athletics and recreational facilities and free meals. The former head coach also conducted an impermissible tryout of the prospect in the aquatics facility.

The former head coach agreed to his responsibility for these violations. He knew the prospect was on campus but failed to notify the compliance office or take appropriate steps to ensure the prospect’s living arrangements and activities were within NCAA rules. His personal involvement with the impermissible tryout also demonstrated his failure to promote an atmosphere of rules compliance.

The violations occurred after the implementation of the current penalty structure, so the panel used the current Division I infractions penalty guidelines approved by the membership in 2013 and adjusted by the membership in 2017 for a Level II case with mitigation. This mitigation includes the university’s prompt self-detection and disclosure of the violations while quickly imposing meaningful corrective measures. The university also has an established history of self-reporting violations. The panel also noted the former head coach’s prompt acknowledgement of the violations, which were largely unintentional and limited in scope. The former coach also does not have a history of prior major violations. The following penalties were agreed upon by the university and former head coach:

  • Public reprimand and censure for the university.
  • Suspension of off-campus recruiting for a two-week period that began Oct. 24, 2016 (self-imposed by the university).
  • Suspension of the former head coach from coaching activities for two contests Nov. 11 and 12, 2016 (self-imposed by the university).
  • Ohio State must pay a $5,000 fine.

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 Norman C. Bay, attorney in private practice; Alberto Gonzales, dean of the law school at Belmont and former attorney general of the United States; Stephen A. Madva, retired attorney; Vince Nicastro, deputy commissioner and chief operating officer for the Big East Conference; Joe Novak, former head football coach at Northern Illinois; David M. Roberts, chief hearing officer for the panel and special advisor to the president at Southern California; and Sankar Suryanarayan, university counsel, Princeton.