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West Virginia commits recruiting violations

Download the Public Infractions Decision

Between June 2010 and February 2013, West Virginia University coaches in 14 sports sent impermissible texts and placed impermissible calls to prospects and parents, according to a decision issued by a NCAA Division I Committee on Infractions panel. Most of the impermissible communications occurred in women’s gymnastics, football, women’s basketball and women’s soccer, resulting in Level II violations. Additionally, an assistant women’s gymnastics coach committed nearly all of the text and phone violations in that program. The recruiting violations in the other 10 programs were limited and the panel determined they were Level III violations.

Penalties in this case include two years of probation, recruiting restrictions and a one-year show-cause order for the assistant coach. During the show-cause period, the assistant coach may not recruit during the 30 days before the 2015 spring NLI signing date and must attend an NCAA Regional Rules seminar.

This case was resolved through the summary disposition process, a cooperative effort where the involved parties submit the case to the Committee on Infractions in written form. The NCAA enforcement staff and school must agree to use the summary disposition process instead of having an in-person hearing. Because the violations and penalties are agreed upon by the school and involved individual, there is no opportunity to appeal.

A number of the coaches involved in the violations claimed a misunderstanding in some of the recruiting communication rules, which was the reason many of the violations occurred. Additionally, the school did not fully understand how to use compliance software it purchased to monitor phone and text activity. It wasn’t until the software company updated the software that the school learned of the violations. The violations occurred while the school was on probation from a previous infractions case. 

Penalties and measures prescribed by the committee are below:

  • Two years of probation from February 18, 2015 through February 17, 2017.
  • A one-year show-cause order for the assistant coach from February 18, 2015 through February 17, 2016. During this time, the assistant coach may not recruit during the 30 days before the 2015 spring NLI signing date. He must also attend an NCAA Regional Rules seminar. Finally, the panel acknowledged and adopted the school’s suspension of one competition for the assistant coach.

Penalties self-imposed by the school and adopted by the panel (details contained in report appendix):

  • Reduction of telephone communication in all 14 involved sports during portions of the 2013-14 and 2014-15 academic years.
  • Reduction of off-campus recruiting in football, women’s soccer, women’s basketball and men’s basketball.
  • Restrictions to official visits for the women’s soccer program.
  • Reduction of one football scholarship for the 2013-14 academic year.

The members of the Division I Committee on Infractions who reviewed this case include John Black, attorney; Carol Cartwright, president emeritus at Kent State University; Melissa Conboy, chief hearing officer and deputy director of athletics at the University of Notre Dame; Joel Maturi, former University of Minnesota athletics director; Jim O’Fallon, appeals advocate and law professor and faculty athletics representative at the University of Oregon; Greg Sankey, executive associate commissioner and chief operating officer for the Southeastern Conference; and Rodney Uphoff, law professor at the University of Missouri, Columbia.