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Former Saint Leo head women's volleyball coach violated NCAA ethical conduct rules

Download the Dec. 2019 Saint Leo University Public Infractions Decision

A former Saint Leo head women’s volleyball coach violated NCAA ethical conduct rules when he knowingly made payments to and on behalf of a women’s volleyball student-athlete, according to a decision issued by the NCAA Division II Committee on Infractions. The committee also said the former coach’s conduct violated head coach responsibility rules.

During her recruitment, the student-athlete told the head coach that she would require a full scholarship in order to enroll at the university. However, once the student-athlete enrolled, the university did not have the necessary women’s volleyball scholarship equivalencies to provide her with a scholarship that included housing or books.

The committee said the former coach provided the student-athlete with money to cover the shortfall under the guise of work for the coach’s club volleyball team. While the former coach said the student-athlete was supposed to work for the club team during the entire 2017-18 academic year, she did not work during the fall semester due to the university volleyball team practice and competition schedule.

The former coach did not demonstrate he promoted an atmosphere for compliance within his program because he knowingly provided the impermissible benefits, according to the committee’s decision.

The case was resolved through a cooperative summary disposition, a process where involved parties collectively submit the case to the committee in written form. All participating parties must agree to the facts of the case for this process to be used instead of having a formal hearing. The university and the former coach do not have the opportunity to appeal. 

The committee prescribed the following penalties and corrective measures:

  • One year of probation.
  • A limit of seven women’s volleyball scholarships for the 2019-20 and 2020-21 academic years (self-imposed by the university).
  • A fine of $4,000.
  • A vacation of records in which the student-athlete competed while ineligible (self-imposed by the university). 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 decision release.
  • A two-year show-cause order for the former coach. During that period, any NCAA member school employing him must show cause why he should not have restrictions on athletically related activity.

Members of the Committee on Infractions are drawn from NCAA membership and members of the public. The members who reviewed this case are John David Lackey, attorney in private practice; Richard Loosbrock, faculty athletics representative and history professor at Adams State; Melissa Reilly, associate commissioner and senior woman administrator for the East Coast Conference; Jason Sobolik, assistant athletics director for compliance and student services at Minnesota State University Moorhead; Harry O. Stinson III, Committee on Infractions chair and athletics director at Lincoln (Pennsylvania); and Jane Teixeira, senior associate commissioner and senior woman administrator for the Pacific West Conference.