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Howard lacked institutional control

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A former Howard University head cross country/track and field coach admitted that he violated the NCAA ethical conduct rules and did not promote an atmosphere for compliance. Additionally, Howard University lacked institutional control over certain aspects of its athletics department, according to a decision issued by a NCAA Division I Committee on Infractions panel. The university’s violations occurred for more than three years and involved more than 200 student-athletes in 15 sports. The case centered on the misuse of scholarship money, failure to withhold ineligible student-athletes from competition, impermissible recruiting contacts and the provision of $11,500 in inducements and extra benefits to prospects and student-athletes.

Penalties in this case, which were mostly self-imposed by the university, include four years of probation; a $140,000 fine; scholarship reductions for football, men’s basketball, women’s swimming, and men’s cross country/track and field; recruiting restrictions, a vacation of wins in men’s cross country/track and field; the disassociation of an athletics representative; and a three-year show-cause order for the former head cross country/track and field coach. If the former coach seeks employment at an NCAA member school during that period, he and the school must appear before a panel of Committee on Infractions to determine if the school should restrict his athletically related duties.

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, university and involved individuals must agree to use the summary disposition process instead of having an in-person hearing.

The university lacked control and did not monitor the administration of its student-athlete textbook distribution and student financial account system. From 2010-11 through the 2013 summer term, the university allowed student-athletes to spend scholarship money on items not required for their courses and permitted student-athletes to keep any unspent portion of their scholarship that was designated solely for the purchase of required course items, tuition and housing. Additionally, the university did not make sure that a new textbook system operated within NCAA rules, did not incorporate safeguards in the textbook and financial account systems that could have prevented the violations, and did not recognize an NCAA violation. When a violation became known, the university did not properly investigate the extent of the impermissible purchases by student-athletes and any inappropriate credits and refunds to student-athletes.

The university also failed to monitor the men’s and women’s cross country/track and field programs to assure compliance with NCAA financial aid, recruiting and extra benefits rules. While it knew the former coach recruited international student-athletes, it did not make sure that he did so within NCAA rules. Additionally, the university initially awarded athletics aid to an international student-athlete who was determined to be a nonqualifier.

The former coach violated the NCAA ethical conduct rules and did not promote an atmosphere for compliance, according to the facts of the case. The former coach deliberately developed a relationship with the founder of a charity, who the former coach knew could help him recruit several prospects from Kenya. The head coach recruited and held evaluations with four prospects while in Kenya during a recruiting quiet period. The athletics representative promoted Howard in phone calls with two prospects at the former coach’s direction.

The former coach and the athletics representative also knowingly provided or arranged for the provision of $11,500 in inducements and extra benefits in the form of fees for a visa, apparel, university fees, transportation and living expenses to five prospects who later became student-athletes at Howard. The former coach also denied involvement in providing benefits during the investigation, despite being reported by the involved student-athlete.

Penalties and measures self-imposed by the university and accepted by the panel are below:

  • Scholarship reductions for football, men’s basketball, women’s swimming and men’s cross country/track and field (self-imposed by the university). The public report further details the reductions.
  • A vacation of men’s cross country/track and field wins from 2011-12 and 2012-13 in which ineligible student-athletes competed (self-imposed by the university). The public report contains further details.
  • A reduction of recruiting opportunities in men’s and women’s cross country/track and field (self-imposed by the university).
  • A reduction of the number of men’s and women’s cross country/track and field coaches who may recruit during the 2013-14, 2014-15 and 2015-16 seasons from three to one (self-imposed by the university).
  • A fine of $140,000 (self-imposed by the university).
  • The permanent disassociation of the athletics representative (self-imposed by the university). Details of the disassociation can be found in the public report.
  • Completion of a review of its athletics compliance program by the Mid-Eastern Athletic Conference in July 2013 and an external agency during the 2017-18 academic year (self-imposed by the university).

Penalties prescribed by the panel are below:

  • Public reprimand and censure.
  • Four years of probation from May 20, 2014 through May 19, 2018 (proposed by the university and accepted by the panel).
  • A three-year show-cause order for the former head coach. The public report contains further details.

The members of the Division I Committee on Infractions who reviewed this case include Melissa Conboy, chief hearing officer and deputy director of athletics at the University of Notre Dame; John Black, attorney; Lloyd Carr, former head football coach at the University of Michigan; Carol Cartwright, president emeritus at Kent State University; Greg Christopher, athletics director at Xavier University; and Bobby Cremins, former head basketball coach at the Georgia Tech.

Issuing NCAA Office(s):