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Lynn University failed to monitor its certification process

Download the Feb. 2019 Lynn University Public Infractions Decision.

Lynn University failed to monitor its certification process when it improperly certified or failed to certify the eligibility of 51 student-athletes in 14 sports, according to a decision issued by the NCAA Division II Committee on Infractions.

The committee also found that the former Lynn athletics compliance director violated NCAA ethical conduct rules when she intentionally provided false information to coaches, resulting in improper certification of four ineligible student-athletes, and refused to participate in the interview process.

This case was resolved through the summary disposition process, a cooperative effort where the involved parties collectively submit the case to the committee in written form. The NCAA enforcement staff, university and participating involved individuals must agree to the facts of the case for this process to be used instead of having a formal hearing.

The violations occurred in part because the athletics compliance officer could not or would not keep up with the workload, the committee said. In four instances, the athletics compliance officer told coaches their student-athletes were eligible when they were in fact ineligible. Specifically, the committee found the athletics compliance officer told the women’s volleyball coach that a student-athlete’s eligibility was reinstated without conditions when in fact the athletics compliance officer was informed that the student-athlete would need to complete repayment as a condition of the reinstatement. The athletics compliance officer also provided the athletics certification coordinator with incorrect information about the status of transfer waivers of three student-athletes, which resulted in erroneous certifications for the student-athletes.   

In the majority of the certification issues, the committee found the university allowed student-athletes to participate without completing required forms, getting their amateurism and/or initial eligibility status certified and meeting transfer requirements. One student-athlete competed during his 11th semester of full-time enrollment, and three student-athletes competed before their names were placed on eligibility lists.

The committee said this case “demonstrates the need for all member schools to devote adequate resources to the athletics compliance effort.” It continued that while the athletics compliance officer alone is responsible for her violations, the university’s inadequate monitoring of the certification process and the people involved in it contributed to the problem.

Penalties and corrective measures prescribed by the committee include the following:

  • Public reprimand and censure.
  • Two years of probation.
  • A five-year show-cause order for the former athletics compliance officer. During that period, any NCAA member school employing her must show cause why she should not have restrictions on athletically related activity.
  • A vacation of records in which the ineligible student-athlete competed (self-imposed by the university). The university must provide a written report containing the matches impacted to the NCAA media coordination and statistics staff within 45 days of the public decision release.
  • The college must undergo an outside review of its athletics compliance program and must implement all recommendations.
  • A $5,000 fine (self-imposed by the university).

Members of the Committee 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 John D. Lackey, attorney in private practice; Richard Loosbrock, faculty athletics representative and history professor at Adams State; Melissa Reilly, associate commissioner and senior woman administrator at the East Coast Conference; Harry O. Stinson III, Committee on Infractions chair and athletics director at Lincoln (Pennsylvania); Jane Teixeira, senior associate commissioner and senior woman administrator at the Pacific West Conference; and Christie L. Ward, associate athletics director for compliance and senior woman administrator at Georgia Southwestern.