You are here

Alaska Fairbanks failed to monitor its athletics program

Download: University of Alaska Fairbanks public infractions decision

The University of Alaska Fairbanks lacked control over, and failed to monitor, its athletics program, according to a decision issued by a Division I Committee on Infractions panel and the Division II Committee on Infractions. From 2007-08 through 2011-12, the university did not properly certify the eligibility of 40 student-athletes, resulting in student-athletes competing while ineligible. Nine of the student-athletes participated in Division I men’s ice hockey, while the other 31 were student-athletes in eight of the university’s nine Division II sports programs.

Penalties include three years of probation; a 2014-15 postseason ban for men’s and women’s basketball, men’s ice hockey and women’s swimming; scholarship reductions; a $30,000 fine; the men’s ice hockey, men’s and women’s basketball must vacate all wins in which ineligible student-athletes participated; and the women’s skiing and women’s swimming teams must vacate points scored during competitions by ineligible student-athletes.

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, university and involved individuals must agree to the facts of the case in order for this process to be utilized instead of having a formal hearing. An expedited penalty hearing was held because all parties did not agree to all of the proposed penalties.

From 2007 through 2012, the university broke a number of Division I and Division II rules on continuing, transfer and initial eligibility by improperly certifying student-athletes for competition.  The university did not have an adequate compliance system in place to ensure it was properly certifying student-athletes based on two-year college transfer, progress-toward-degree, degree credit-hour or admission status requirements. The lacking system was due in part to the university’s failure to provide formal rules education to staff members outside the athletics department who were responsible for the academic eligibility certification of student-athletes. The university acknowledged that it did not take appropriate action in response to warnings that the certification system was deficient and it failed to follow through when it was suggested the system be improved. Because of these reasons, the committee found that the university failed to monitor the administration of its athletics programs and it lacked institutional control.   

Penalties and corrective measures include:

  • Public reprimand and censure.
  • Three years of probation from November 5, 2014 through November 4, 2017.
  • A postseason ban for men’s and women’s basketball, men’s ice hockey and women’s swimming during the 2014-15 academic year.
  • A vacation of all wins in which ineligible student-athletes competed for the men’s ice hockey, and men’s and women’s basketball teams. The women’s skiing and women’s swimming teams also must vacate all points scored by ineligible student-athletes. The public report contains further details on the vacation.
  • A reduction in scholarship for the men’s hockey, men’s and women’s basketball, women’s skiing and women’s swimming teams. The public report contains more details on the reductions.
  • A $30,000 fine.

Members of the Committees on Infractions are drawn from NCAA membership and members of the public. The members of the Division I Committee on Infractions panel who reviewed this case are Melissa Conboy, deputy director of athletics at the University of Notre Dame; Thomas Hill, senior vice president for student affairs at Iowa State University; Roscoe Howard, attorney; Joel Maturi, former University of Minnesota athletics director; and Greg Sankey, executive associate commissioner and chief operating officer for the Southeastern Conference. The members of the Division II Committee on Infractions who reviewed this case are Jean Paul Bradshaw, attorney and public member; Bridget E. Lyons, senior associate director of athletics and senior woman administrator, Barry University; Carey Snyder, associate director of athletics, East Stroudsburg University of Pennsylvania; Harry O. Stinson III, interim athletics director, Kentucky State University; and Jane Teixeira associate commissioner and senior compliance administrator, Pacific West Conference.