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Charleston Southern failed to monitor its athletics program

Download the Oct. 2018 Charleston Southern University Public Infractions Decision

Charleston Southern failed to monitor its athletics program when it improperly certified 55 student-athletes in 12 sports over a six-year period, according to a Division I Committee on Infractions panel. The university also did not monitor policies designed to ensure the correct administration of book scholarships.

The university first became aware of deficiencies in its compliance operations in 2011 after a conference compliance audit. The conference report noted that despite the compliance director’s good performance, there was a need for written certification policies, additional staff and the development of a formal rules education program. According to the university, it did not have the time and resources to appropriately address the report’s recommendations.

The certification violations largely resulted from the university’s use of an unofficial and unwritten process. It relied on some individuals who did not have the proper knowledge to certify student-athletes and did not provide those individuals with enough training or rules education, according to the committee.

Additionally, the university did not have rules education programs or monitoring policies designed to ensure book scholarships were administered properly.

The panel noted that some Division I members face unique funding challenges, but the commitment to compliance is a basic requirement. It continued by saying when inadequate compliance systems and operations are identified, dedicating enough resources to remedy those issues is not optional. Rather, it is an obligation of Division I membership.

“University leadership must act swiftly to address known compliance failures with adequate resources,” the panel said in its decision.   

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 participating individuals must agree to the facts and overall level of the case to use this process instead of a formal hearing.

The panel used the Division I membership-approved infractions penalty guidelines to prescribe the following measures:

  • Two years of probation from Oct. 16, 2018, through Oct. 15, 2020.
  • A vacation of records in which student-athletes competed while ineligible.
  • A reduction of countable athletic activity in the football program from 20 hours to 16 hours for one week during the fall 2017 playing season (self-imposed by the university).
  • The football program must reduce the amount of football scholarships by a total of six equivalencies during the 2019-20 and 2020-21 academic years.
  • A $5,000 fine, plus 0.5 percent of the annual athletics department budget.

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 Carol Cartwright, president emerita of Kent State and Bowling Green; Alberto Gonzales, chief hearing officer for this panel and dean of the law school at Belmont and former attorney general of the United States; Jason Leonard, executive director of athletics compliance at Oklahoma; Stephen A. Madva, attorney in private practice; Joel Maturi, former Minnesota athletics director; Joseph D. Novak, former head football coach at Northern Illinois; and David Roberts, special advisor to the president of Southern California and vice chair of the Committee on Infractions.