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Four Brigham Young boosters gave extra benefits to men’s basketball student-athlete

Download the Nov. 2018 BYU Public Infractions Decision

Four Brigham Young boosters provided more than $12,000 in complimentary all-inclusive vacations, cash, meals, golf and the use of a car to a men’s basketball student-athlete in violation of NCAA rules, according to a Division I Committee on Infractions panel.

The COI found that most of the impermissible benefits were given by one booster and included approximately $10,000 worth of all-expenses-paid trips, the use of a car and car insurance. Two other boosters treated the student-athlete to free golf outings and meals at a country club where they were members. One of those boosters also provided or left $200 cash in the locker room for the student-athlete during practice. The fourth booster arranged a free weekend stay at a resort. The decision noted that the men’s basketball team gained an advantage of an ineligible player for two seasons because the student-athlete played after receiving benefits.  He continued receiving benefits during and after those seasons.

Although this case involved only one student-athlete, the COI noted in its report that it was concerned about the level of unmonitored access the four different boosters had with the prominent student-athlete. The COI was particularly troubled that one of the boosters had access to the men’s basketball locker room and used that access to provide the student-athlete with cash. The fact that a Brigham Young mentorship program connected one of the boosters with the student-athlete was also concerning to the COI. The committee emphasized that the limited scope of the case does not alleviate a university’s responsibility to educate and monitor boosters and detect inappropriate behaviors.

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 and university must agree to the facts and overall level of the case to use this process instead of a formal hearing. After the panel reviewed the case, it prescribed a vacation of all records in which the student-athlete participated while ineligible. The university did not agree with the vacation of records penalty, so there was an expedited penalty hearing.

The university argued that the vacation of records penalty was not appropriate; however, after hearing arguments, the panel determined it was appropriate based on the scope of the violations. The decision noted that vacation of records is an important penalty that addresses competitive advantage gained over other NCAA member schools that follow the rules. It added that the penalty serves to motivate member schools to act proactively to deter, detect and address violations immediately, with the understanding that a failure to do so could result in a significant penalty. Specific to this case, the committee said the penalty holds the university accountable for failing to withhold an ineligible student-athlete from competition.

Division I membership-approved infractions penalty guidelines were used to prescribe the following measures:

  • Two years of probation from Nov. 9, 2018, through Nov. 8, 2020.
  • A vacation of records in which the student-athlete participated while ineligible.
  • A reduction of one men’s basketball scholarship, served during the earliest possible academic year (self-imposed by the university).
  • Recruiting restrictions detailed in the public report.
  • A disassociation of one of the boosters (self-imposed by the university).
  • 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 Carol Cartwright, chief hearing officer and president emerita at Kent State and Bowling Green; Jody Conradt, retired head women’s basketball coach  and special assistant to athletics at Texas; Alberto Gonzales, dean of the law school at Belmont and former attorney general of the United States; Thomas Hill, senior vice president emeritus at Iowa State; Joyce McConnell, provost and vice president of academic affairs at West Virginia; Gary L. Miller, chancellor at Green Bay; and David Roberts, special advisor to the president at Southern California and vice chair of the Division I Committee on Infractions.