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NCAA appeals committee upholds Morgan State postseason ban and financial penalty

Download the July 2018 Morgan State University Public Appeal Decision

Morgan State’s softball and women’s tennis teams must serve a postseason ban, according to a decision by the NCAA Division I Infractions Appeals Committee. The committee also affirmed the university’s financial penalty of $5,000 plus one percent of the 2017-18 budgets of football, softball and women’s tennis programs.

In the NCAA Division I Committee on Infractions’ decision, the panel found that Morgan State lacked institutional control due to its failure to manage the eligibility certification and financial aid processes. For four years, the university improperly certified the eligibility of 94 student-athletes in 10 sports. Over the same period, the university improperly provided financial aid to student-athletes in nine sports.

In its appeal, the university argued that the panel did not consistently apply the postseason ban to all 10 sports responsible for the violations and should be set aside. The university also asserted that it should be allowed to retain the financial penalty for compliance purposes, as has been done in two previous cases.

The Committee on Infractions responded to the appeal by noting that the postseason bans and fine were at the low end of the penalty guidelines and narrowly tailored to apply only to the three sports with the most violations.

In its review of the case, the appeals committee found that the Committee on Infractions panel afforded substantial and appropriate leniency based on the specifics of the case.

The members of the Infractions Appeals Committee who heard this case were Patti Ohlendorf, committee chair and vice president for legal affairs at Texas; Ellen Ferris, associate commissioner for governance and compliance at the American Athletic Conference; W. Anthony Jenkins, attorney in private practice; Allison Rich, senior associate athletics director and senior woman administrator at Princeton; and David Shipley, law professor and faculty athletics representative at Georgia.