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Appeals committee remands show-cause order for UC Santa Barbara water polo coach

Download the May 2021 Public UC Santa Barbara Head Men's Water Polo Coach Appeals Decision

Download the June 2021 Remanded Committee on Infractions Public Decision

The NCAA Division I Infractions Appeals Committee overturned findings that the UC Santa Barbara head men’s water polo coach set in motion the events that led to housing and other impermissible benefits for a student-athlete before enrolling at the university. As a result, the appeals committee returned the case to the NCAA Division I Committee on Infractions to reassess if the level of violations and whether the appealed show-cause order should be changed. The appeals committee upheld two other findings of fact appealed by the head coach.

In the Committee on Infractions decision regarding UC Santa Barbara, the panel found, among other things, the men’s water polo program violated impermissible benefit rules and its head coach failed to promote an atmosphere of compliance in his program and violated head coach responsibility rules when he was directly involved in violations and did not consult compliance. The head coach also involved an assistant coach in the violations, according to the findings.

In his appeal, the head coach argued the findings should be set aside because they were contrary to the information presented to the Committee on Infractions panel and were not NCAA violations and that a procedural error led to the findings. He also sought to have the show-cause order vacated.

In its response to the appeal regarding the head coach’s role in arranging the housing and impermissible benefits, the Committee on Infractions argued the coach set the events in motion by recommending the student-athlete to the club coach, telling the club coach that the student-athlete needed some place to live and then putting them in contact with each other.

When appealing a finding, an individual or school must show more than an alternate reading or application of the information to demonstrate it is clearly contrary to the information provided. The Infractions Appeals Committee held that the conversation in the record establishes that the head coach told the club coach that the student-athlete would need housing, but no additional agreement was made or action taken by the appellant to facilitate the housing. The appeals committee, therefore, concluded there is insufficient factual information to demonstrate the head coach’s direct or indirect involvement in arranging housing for the student-athlete and vacated the violation.

Additional details regarding the upheld violations, improper employment compensation and head coach responsibility, are located in the public decision.

The members of the Infractions Appeals Committee who heard this case were Jonathan Alger, president at James Madison; Ellen M. Ferris, associate commissioner for governance and compliance at the American Athletic Conference;  W. Anthony Jenkins, acting committee chair of the Division I Infractions Appeals Committee and an attorney in private practice; Allison Rich, senior associate athletics director and senior woman administrator at Princeton; and David Shipley, law professor and faculty athletics representative at Georgia.