INDIANAPOLIS — A former Southeast Missouri State assistant men’s basketball coach acted unethically when he arranged fraudulent academic credit for a prospect, provided false or misleading information to the NCAA enforcement staff and university, and failed to cooperate during the investigation, according to a Division I Committee on Infractions panel.
Penalties in the case include a two-year extension of the university’s probation period from a 2016 infractions case, a $5,000 fine and a six-year show-cause order for the former assistant coach. During that time period, if an NCAA school hires him in an athletically related position, he and the school have an opportunity to appear before the Committee on Infractions to determine if the former coach’s athletically related duties should be limited.
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 participating parties must agree to the facts and overall level of the case to use this process instead of a formal hearing. The panel reviewing the case held an expedited penalty hearing because the former coach did not agree with the length of the show-cause penalty.
The former coach directed a current men’s basketball student-athlete to complete three online exams on behalf of the prospect. The student-athlete knew completing the exams for someone else was wrong, but the former coach pressured the student-athlete with repeated phone calls, texts and conversations. The former coach approached the student-athlete to complete a fourth exam for the prospect, but the student-athlete reported the conduct before the exam could take place. As a part of the academic misconduct scheme, the former coach also arranged for former university students, a former men’s basketball student employee and a former student employee’s mother to complete online coursework on behalf of the prospect. The individuals also registered the prospect for his online courses and kept track of his login information.
While the former coach denied any involvement in arranging for the individuals to complete coursework on behalf of the prospect, the metadata associated with the coursework contradicted that claim and showed the coursework was completed by individuals in locations where the prospect was not physically present. The former coach also did not respond to the NCAA enforcement staff’s requests for documents and a final interview.
An expedited hearing was held to review the length of the former coach’s show-cause. The panel noted it appreciated the former coach’s resumed participation in the case and his candor during the hearing, but his arguments did not support a show-cause penalty of less than six years. In its decision, the panel said the former coach abused his position of trust when he pressured the student-athlete to participate in the academic misconduct scheme and that the violations warranted a substantial show-cause penalty within the range defined by the penalty matrix.
Penalties prescribed by the panel include the following:
- Public reprimand and censure for the university.
- A two-year extension of probation from the university’s 2016 infractions case, which will conclude on Feb. 11, 2019. The university’s previous probation period was to conclude on Feb. 11, 2017.
- A six-year show-cause period for the former coach from March 10, 2017, through March 9, 2023. Any NCAA school employing him in an athletically related role during that time can appear with him before a Committee on Infractions panel to determine if the former coach’s athletically related duties should be limited.
- 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 Gregory Christopher, chief hearing officer for the panel and athletics director at Xavier; Melissa Conboy, senior deputy director of athletics at Notre Dame; Stephen A. Madva, attorney in private practice; Joel Maturi, former Minnesota athletics director; Joyce McConnell, provost and vice president of academic affairs at West Virginia; Joseph D. Novak, former head football coach at Northern Illinois; and Gregory Sankey, chair of the Committee on Infractions and commissioner for the Southeastern Conference.