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Former Lenoir-Rhyne head men’s basketball coach acted unethically

Download the August 2016 Lenoir-Rhyne University Public Infractions Decision

A former Lenoir-Rhyne University head men’s basketball coach violated NCAA ethical conduct rules when he committed recruiting violations, did not provide an atmosphere for compliance and did not participate in an interview during the NCAA investigation, according to a decision issued by the Division II Committee on Infractions. A former Lenoir-Rhyne assistant men’s basketball coach also violated ethical conduct rules when he told a student-athlete to provide misleading information during the investigation and when he failed to cooperate with the investigation.

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 used instead of having a formal hearing.

During a recruiting dead period, a university compliance coordinator saw members of the men’s basketball coaching staff observing two prospects participating in a basketball game with the team. The compliance coordinator immediately recognized this as a potential recruiting violation and started an internal inquiry.

The committee found that the former head coach knowingly allowed the prospects to visit the university during a recruiting dead period and participate in tryouts, contrary to NCAA recruiting rules. The prospects received impermissible rides to and from the campus, transportation while on campus and overnight accommodations. NCAA Division II rules allow only one official paid visit to a campus, but for one of the prospects, the visit was his second paid visit.

The former head coach violated head coach responsibility rules when he did not promote an atmosphere for compliance by participating and allowing the recruiting visit to occur, even after he was told the visit would be impermissible.  

Penalties and corrective measures prescribed by the committee include:

  • Public reprimand and censure.
  • One year of probation from Aug. 25, 2016, through Aug. 24, 2017.
  • Three-year show-cause orders from Aug. 25, 2016, through Aug. 24, 2019, for the former head coach and former assistant coach. If either coach becomes employed by an NCAA school during the show-cause period, he and the school must appear before the Committee on Infractions to determine if the former coach’s athletically related duties should be limited.

Members of the Committees on Infractions are drawn from NCAA membership and members of the public. The members of the Division II Committee on Infractions who reviewed this case are Douglas D. Blais, professor of sport management, Southern New Hampshire University; John D. Lackey, attorney; Julie A. Rochester, committee chair, faculty athletics representative and associate professor, Northern Michigan University; Carey Snyder, associate athletics director at East Stroudsburg University of Pennsylvania; and Christie L. Ward, senior woman administrator and associate athletics director for compliance at Georgia Southwestern State University.