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Former Buffalo assistant men’s basketball coach violated NCAA ethical conduct rules

Download the April 2020 University at Buffalo SUNY Public Negotiated Resolution Agreement

A former Buffalo assistant men’s basketball coach violated NCAA ethical conduct rules when he forged a written statement in support of a transferring student-athlete’s request to have the year-in-residence requirement waived, according to an agreement released by the Division I Committee on Infractions.

This case was processed through the negotiated resolution process. The process was used because the university, the former assistant coach and the NCAA enforcement staff agreed on the violations and the penalties. The Division I Committee on Infractions reviewed the case to determine whether the resolution was in the best interests of the Association and whether the agreed-upon penalties were reasonable. Negotiated resolutions may not be appealed and do not set case precedent for other infractions cases.

After the student-athlete transferred to the university, the head men’s basketball coach asked the former assistant coach to compile the appropriate documentation for the student-athlete to receive a waiver to compete immediately after transferring.

As a part of the process, the former assistant coach contacted one of the student-athlete’s former teammates to write a letter in support of the student-athlete’s waiver request. The former coach and the former teammate discussed the content of the statement, and the former coach drafted the statement.

According to the agreement, the former teammate did not answer the former assistant coach’s calls to get the statement submitted. Then, without the former teammate’s knowledge, the former assistant coach created an email account using the former teammate’s name and submitted the statement to the associate athletics director for compliance, violating NCAA ethical conduct rules.

The associate athletics director for compliance responded to the submission to request the former teammate sign a copy of the statement. In response, the former assistant coach, posing as the former teammate, continued to violate ethical conduct rules by signing and resubmitting the statement.

The agreement said the former assistant coach did not tell the head coach or associate athletics director for compliance about the difficulties he experienced getting the former teammate’s statement and signature, nor did he tell them that he created a fake email account to send the statement.

The university and the enforcement staff used ranges identified by the Division I membership-approved infractions penalty guidelines to agree upon Level II-mitigated penalties for the university. The former assistant coach agreed to Level II-aggravated penalties. Those and other penalties, approved by the Committee on Infractions, are detailed below:

  • One year of probation.
  • A $5,000 fine.
  • A two-week ban on all men’s basketball recruiting communications contacts during the 2020-21 academic year.
  • A reduction of five men’s basketball recruiting person days for the 2020-21 academic year.
  • A three-year show-cause order for the former assistant coach. During the first year of that period, should he become employed at an NCAA member school, he must be restricted from all off-campus recruiting and all recruiting communications. He also must be suspended from the first 20% of the season (six contests), not counting exhibition games.
  • If the former assistant coach is employed by an NCAA member school during the second year of the show-cause, he must be restricted from all off-campus recruiting activities and all recruiting communications through Aug. 31, 2021.
  • If the former assistant coach is employed by an NCAA member school during his show-cause order, he must attend an NCAA Regional Rules Seminar at his own expense each year of the show-cause order.

Members of the Committee on Infractions are drawn from the NCAA membership and members of the public. The members of the panel who reviewed this case were Joel Maturi, former Minnesota athletics director; Kay Norton, president emeritus of Northern Colorado; and Larry Parkinson, director of enforcement for the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission.