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Former Mississippi Valley women’s soccer head coach provided impermissible benefits

Download the Mar. 2020 Mississippi Valley State University Negotiated Resolution Agreement

A former Mississippi Valley women’s soccer head coach arranged and provided impermissible travel fees and expenses to a student-athlete before she enrolled at the university, according to an agreement released by the Division I Committee on Infractions.

The university, the former head coach and NCAA enforcement staff agreed that the former head coach impermissibly facilitated payment for a prerequisite for obtaining a student visa to study in the United States when the student-athlete had trouble paying for it online herself.

The former head coach also impermissibly paid for the student-athlete’s flight from her home country to Memphis, Tennessee, after she had difficulty booking the flight herself. The agreement notes the student-athlete paid the former head coach back soon after arriving in the United States.

According to the agreement, the former head coach is presumed responsible for the violations. Specifically, the agreement said, “The coach did not demonstrate that he promoted an atmosphere for compliance within the women’s soccer program due to his personal involvement in the violations.”

This case was processed through negotiated resolution. This process is used instead of a formal hearing or summary disposition when the university and the enforcement staff agree 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. The parties agreed to classify this case as Level II-Standard. Negotiated resolutions may not be appealed and do not set case precedent for other infractions cases. 

The university, former head coach and enforcement staff used agreed-upon penalty ranges identified by the Division I membership-approved infractions penalty guidelines for Level II-Standard cases.

The penalties, approved by the Committee on Infractions, are detailed below:

  • Three years of probation.
  • A $5,000 fine plus 1% of the women’s soccer budget for the 2019-20 academic year.
  • A seven-week ban (not consecutive) of unofficial visits and no complimentary tickets.
  • A 10-week ban (not consecutive) of off-campus recruiting
  • A one-year show-cause order for the former head coach. During that period, he must attend an NCAA Regional Rules Seminar in 2020 and was prohibited from all off-campus recruiting activities from Jan. 6 through Feb. 2, 2020. Additionally, he must be suspended from the first four games of the 2020-21 academic year or 20% of the maximum number of allowable contests.
  • A two-game reduction during the women’s soccer regular season for the 2020-21 academic year.
  • A vacation of records in which the women’s soccer student-athletes participated while ineligible. The university must provide a written report containing the contests impacted to the NCAA media coordination and statistics staff within 14 days of the public release of the decision.

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 are Norman Bay, attorney in private practice; Greg Christopher, chief hearing officer, chair of the Committee on Infractions and vice president for administration and director of athletics, Xavier; and Sankar Suryanarayan, university counsel at Princeton.