You are here

Albany State athletics department violated NCAA rules

Download the Public Infractions Decision

Albany State (Georgia) committed multiple violations that established the university’s failure to monitor and lack of control over the administration of its athletics program, according to a decision issued by the NCAA Division II Committee on Infractions.

Specifically, the violations were in five areas: eligibility certification, financial aid, playing and practice seasons, extra benefits and athletics responsibilities.

First, the university improperly certified 22 student-athletes in eight sports. In its decision, the committee found improper amateurism, academic or transfer certifications resulted in 21 of the student-athletes competing while ineligible.

Second, the university canceled or decreased financial aid for 20 football student-athletes without giving them notice or hearing opportunities to challenge the reduction or nonrenewal, contrary to NCAA rules.

Third, the university violated playing and practice rules when it did not record countable athletically related activity hours in eight sport programs. Further, the committee said the football program violated countable athletically related activity rules when coaches attended and observed voluntary summer workouts. The workouts were also not designed and conducted by the strength and conditioning staff, contrary to NCAA rules.

Fourth, the university provided extra benefits when it allowed two football student-athletes to live rent-free in the athletics facility for six weeks during the summer.

Last, NCAA rules state that a faculty athletics representative cannot hold an administrative or coaching position in the athletics department. The university violated that rule when it allowed the faculty athletics representative to serve simultaneously as the athletics director.

The committee said the shortcomings in eligibility certification and financial aid processes at the university, in addition to the other violations, resulted in a failure to monitor and a lack of control over its athletics programs. In its decision, the committee noted that the athletics department did not adequately coordinate with the departments that made decisions about which courses transferred for credit and applied to an individual student-athlete’s degree program. The compliance officer was a faculty member who worked in athletics as a consultant. The committee said she had other athletics responsibilities in addition to compliance and could not keep up with all of them. Finally, the committee said the registrar and financial aid offices did not have adequate training on NCAA rules and did not fully understand their roles in the process.

The case was resolved through cooperative summary disposition, a process where involved parties collectively submit the case to the committee in written form. The NCAA enforcement staff and university must agree to the facts of the case for this process to be used instead of having a formal hearing.

The committee prescribed the following penalties and corrective measures:

  • Two years of probation.
  • Scholarship reductions (self-imposed by the university), including:
    • 2018-19 academic year: A 3.11 reduction in football and a 0.36 reduction in baseball.
    • 2019-20 academic year: A 1.0 reduction in women’s basketball, 0.25 reduction in softball and a 0.6 reduction in men’s basketball.
    • 2020-21 academic year: A 0.14 reduction in women’s volleyball and a 0.7 reduction in women’s track and field.
  • A vacation of records in which student-athletes competed while ineligible (self-imposed by the university). The university must provide a written report containing the matches impacted to the NCAA media coordination and statistics staff within 45 days of the public decision release.
  • A $3,000 fine.
  • An outside audit of athletics policies and procedures (self-imposed by the university and completed in 2016-17). The university must implement the recommendations of the outside auditor.
  • The athletics director, compliance officer, faculty athletics representative and representatives from the offices of financial aid, registrar, academic achievement and admissions must attend at least two NCAA Regional Rules Seminars during 2018, 2019, 2020 and 2021. Head coaches will attend a seminar once every three years (self-imposed by the university).

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 John David Lackey, attorney in private practice; Richard Loosbrock, faculty athletics representative and history professor at Adams State; Melissa Reilly, associate commissioner and senior woman administrator for the East Coast Conference; Jason Sobolik, assistant athletic director for compliance and student services at Minnesota State University Moorhead; Harry O. Stinson III, Committee on Infractions chair and athletics director at Lincoln (Pennsylvania); Jane Teixeira, senior associate commissioner and senior woman administrator for the Pacific West Conference; and Christie L. Ward, associate athletics director for compliance and senior woman administrator at Georgia Southwestern.