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Monmouth failed to monitor its men’s tennis program

Download the October 2017 Monmouth Public Infractions Decision

Monmouth failed to monitor its men’s tennis program and the conduct of the former head coach, according to a Division I Committee on Infractions panel. The former head coach failed to meet his responsibilities and did not promote an atmosphere of compliance based on his direct and personal involvement in recruiting inducements and practice prior to enrollment violations. Monmouth agreed with all the violations, including its failure to monitor. The case also included improper financial aid and extra benefit violations. The former head coach contested his responsibility in the violations, as well as the head coach responsibility violation.

Penalties prescribed by the panel, as well as those self-imposed by the university, include two years of probation for the university; a $5,000 fine for the university; recruiting restrictions; vacation of records; and a one-year show-cause order for the former head coach, which includes a suspension for 30 percent of the season should an NCAA school hire him.

 “This case centers on significant failures by both the former head coach and Monmouth stemming from the recruitment of an international prospective student-athlete whose visa status delayed his enrollment,” the panel stated in its decision. “The failures allowed violations to occur undetected over the course of several months. This case is yet another example of the increased risk of violations when a prospect moves near campus prior to enrollment.”

In anticipation of the prospect obtaining a student visa in time to enroll for the 2015 fall term, the former head coach impermissibly arranged off-campus housing for the prospect with five men’s tennis student-athletes. The prospect, however, did not obtain his student visa in time to enroll. The former head coach directed the five student-athletes, who did not know the prospect until the former head coach introduced them, to house the prospect.

The prospect paid a lower amount for rent and utilities than his housemates. Because of this, his housemates paid more living expenses than expected. Monmouth provided $2,500 to one of the housemates through increased athletics aid for the 2016 spring term.  That student-athlete then impermissibly provided a portion of this aid to the other student-athletes in the house to cover their higher than expected living expenses.

The housing arrangement and presence near campus prior to enrollment resulted in several additional violations. The former head coach allowed the prospect to practice with the team, and the prospect’s housemates provided him meals and transportation for practices, which are considered recruiting inducements.

The former head coach did not inform the athletics compliance staff that the prospect lived with student-athletes or that he practiced with the team. In addition, he did not ask whether the delay in his visa status affected his status as a prospect, the activities he could engage in or the interactions he could have with the staff and team.

Monmouth failed to track who attended and participated in practice. The panel noted that athletics administrators, including the sport supervisor whose job expected him to attend practices, did not attend a single practice. The university did not educate the volunteer coach attending practice or require him to attend compliance meetings any of his six years at the university.

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 and Level III case:

  • Public reprimand and censure for the university.
  • Two years of probation from Oct. 18, 2017, through Oct. 17, 2019.
  • Recruiting restrictions for initiating contact during the recruitment of international men’s tennis student-athletes during the probationary period (self-imposed by the university).
  • A one-year show-cause period for the former head coach from Oct. 18, 2017, through Oct. 17, 2018. During that period, any NCAA member school employing him must show cause why he should not have restrictions on athletically related activity.
  • Disassociation of the prospect from the university (self-imposed by the university).
  • Vacation of team and individual records in which the ineligible student-athletes competed.
  • Monmouth 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 William Bock III, attorney in private practice; Bobby Cremins, former head men’s basketball coach at Georgia Tech, College of Charleston and Appalachian State; Thomas Hill, senior policy advisor to the president of Iowa State; Stephen A. Madva, attorney in private practice; Joel Maturi, former Minnesota athletics director; Gary L. Miller, chief hearing officer for the panel and chancellor at Green Bay; and Vince Nicastro, deputy commissioner and chief operating officer for the Big East Conference.