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Boise State University scholarship reduction unchanged

The Division I Committee on Infractions stands by its original decision that Boise State University must reduce the number of football scholarships by three for two more years. The decision was made after this penalty, which was appealed by Boise State, was remanded by the Infractions Appeals Committee for reconsideration.

In its appeal, Boise State argued that football scholarship reduction penalties imposed by the committee in past cases were inconsistent with the scholarship reductions in this case.

The committee reviewed past cases with similar circumstances as the Boise State case.  Further, it undertook a detailed assessment and analysis of the violations in the Boise State case, which included a lack of institutional control. On a second look, the committee stood by its initial decision to reduce football scholarships from 85 to 82 for the 2012-13 and 2013-14 academic years.  

“While past infractions cases and their respective penalties are a part of the institutional memory of the Committee on Infractions when it tailors the penalties in a case, they do not provide a ‘one-size-fits-all’ measure of whether a penalty is fair and appropriate,” the committee stated in its report. “Each case – and the fairness of the penalties imposed in each case – ultimately stands on their own facts.”

In its analysis of the Boise State case, the committee noted the university’s failure to monitor the activities of football prospects before enrollment; the serious nature of the violations; the competitive advantage that resulted from the violations; and the failure of the athletics department to listen to warnings and provide the appropriate response when alerted to potential violations by the NCAA.  These factors contributed to the committee’s ruling that Boise State lacked institutional control, a finding which was not appealed. 

The Boise State infractions case involved a series of major violations with more than 75 prospects and student-athletes in five sports over the course of five years. The involved sports included football, men’s and women’s cross country and track and field, and men’s and women’s tennis. Multiple recruiting violations were found, including impermissible lodging and transportation.  Other violations involved impermissible practice sessions, financial aid and cash payments. The former head women’s tennis coach was cited for unethical conduct and a failure to monitor. A former assistant track coach was also cited for unethical conduct.

Penalties, including those self-imposed by the university, are a four-year show-cause order for the former head women’s tennis coach and a two-year show-cause order for the former assistant track coach, a one-year postseason ban for women’s tennis, recruiting restrictions, scholarship reductions in multiple sports, vacation of records in women’s tennis, a $5,000 fine and three years of probation.

Boise State may appeal this reaffirmation of the football scholarship reductions to the Infractions Appeals Committee.