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St. John’s (New York) head women’s volleyball coach did not promote an atmosphere for compliance

Download the Dec. 2018 St. John's University (NY) Public Infractions Decision

The St. John’s (New York) head women’s volleyball coach failed to promote an atmosphere for compliance when she participated or directed others to participate in impermissible recruiting activity, according to a Division I Committee on Infractions panel. The panel also found that the university failed to monitor its women’s volleyball program.

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.

The committee found the head coach impermissibly arranged for a prospect to live with enrolled women’s volleyball student-athletes. As the prospect prepared for the SAT and another exam necessary for international students, the head coach provided or directed others to provide impermissible transportation to the testing center. To help her prepare for the exams, the head coach and a graduate assistant provided the prospect with free academic assistance.

The prospect was also allowed to participate in open gym sessions after team practices. The committee found the head coach at times impermissibly observed her participating in the sessions and asked team members about the prospect’s participation.

The committee noted when the head coach participated in or directed the activities, “she showed that rules compliance was not of foremost consideration as she administered her program.” She also requested that staff members commit the violations and was aware that they did so, which resulted in her failing to promote an atmosphere for compliance.

After the prospect moved close to the campus, the head coach introduced her to a longtime senior-level athletics administrator. At the time, the committee noted the prospect was on her way to an open gym session and the administrator did not recognize the potential for rules violations. The administrator also did not see any need to inform the compliance office about the arrangement. Further, the committee found no other athletics staff detected any of the violations even though the prospect frequented campus facilities, including the team locker room.

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

  • Two years of probation from Dec. 20, 2018, through Dec. 19, 2020.
  • A one-year show-cause order for the head coach. During that time, the head coach must attend an NCAA Regional Rules Seminar. The university suspended the coach for 2½ months, including 14 contests, in 2017.
  • A reduction of one women’s volleyball scholarship during the 2017-18 academic year (self-imposed by the university).
  • A 5 percent reduction in women’s volleyball official visits, based on the average number provided during the previous four years.
  • A two-week ban in off-campus recruiting for the women’s volleyball program.
  • A $10,000 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 Carol Cartwright, president emerita at Kent State and Bowling Green; Jason Leonard, executive director of athletics compliance at Oklahoma; Stephen A. Madva, attorney in private practice; Joel Maturi, former Minnesota athletics director; and Roderick Perry, athletics director at Indiana University-Purdue University Indianapolis.