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Former Pennsylvania head men’s basketball coach violated NCAA rules

Download the Feb. 2020 University of Pennsylvania Public Negotiated Resolution

The former University of Pennsylvania head men’s basketball coach violated NCAA ethical conduct rules when he impermissibly accepted at least $250,000 from the father of a prospect to train, recruit and place the prospect on the recruited student-athlete list, according to an agreement released by the Division I Committee on Infractions. The prospect’s father gave the money and other benefits to the former coach to increase the likelihood that the prospect would be admitted to the university.

The university and NCAA enforcement staff agreed the former coach’s actions resulted in multiple tryout and recruiting contact violations in addition to accepting the supplemental pay without reporting it as athletically related income while employed at the university.

According to the agreement, the former coach did not promote an atmosphere for compliance within the men’s basketball program due to his personal involvement in the violations. The former coach also refused to participate in an interview with the university and the enforcement staff.

This case was processed through the negotiated resolution process. The process was used instead of a formal hearing or summary disposition because the university and the enforcement staff agreed on the violations and the penalties. The former coach did not participate in the processing of the case. 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.

The university and the enforcement staff used ranges identified by the Division I membership-approved infractions penalty guidelines to agree upon Level I-mitigated penalties for the university. The agreement said the former coach did not commit the violations to provide a recruiting advantage to the university, but rather the former coach deliberately used his position to influence the admissions process and concealed his conduct for his personal financial gain.

The agreement said the former coach’s uncontested violations are classified as Level I-aggravated because the violations include unethical conduct that shows a reckless indifference to NCAA rules and seriously undermines college athletics.

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

  • Two years of probation.
  • A $5,000 fine.
  • A three-week ban on all men’s basketball recruiting communications May 10-20, 2020, and May 31-June 10, 2020.
  • A reduction of men’s basketball recruiting-person days for the 2019-20 academic year by seven.
  • A 15-year show-cause order for the former coach. During that period, any NCAA member school employing him must restrict him from any athletically related duties unless it shows cause why the restrictions should not apply.
  • In the year after the expiration of the show-cause period, any member school employing the former coach must suspend him for the first 50% of the season if he is employed as a coach.

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 Carol Cartwright, chief hearing officer for the panel and president emeritus at Kent State and Bowling Green; Kay Norton, president emeritus of Northern Colorado; and Joseph D. Novak, former head football coach at Northern Illinois.