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San Diego State women’s volleyball program violated NCAA rules

Download the Jan. 2020 San Diego State University Public Negotiated Resolution

The San Diego State women’s volleyball coaching staff violated NCAA rules on countable athletically related activity, according to an agreement released by the Division I Committee on Infractions.

The agreement also said the volleyball coaching staff impermissibly organized open gym participation for prospects during on-campus visits and had impermissible contact with a prospect during her first year at a two-year college when she was certified as an NCAA nonqualifer.

The university, the head coach and NCAA enforcement staff agreed the head coach directed volleyball student-athletes to participate in summer open gyms and strength and conditioning activities when they should have been voluntary. The activities were impermissible because the student-athletes believed they were required to report back to campus to participate in the summer activities. While the agreement said the head coach did not intend for the activities to be mandatory, they were impermissible because they were not always initiated and requested solely by the student-athletes.

According to the agreement, the head coach also directed that incoming freshman student-athletes impermissibly participate as campers in the university’s camps.

The head coach did not demonstrate that she promoted an atmosphere of compliance within her program due to her personal knowledge of and involvement in the violations. The agreement said that after athletics administrators notified the head coach about potential issues with mandatory summer activities and advised her to clearly communicate the voluntary nature of those activities, she failed to ensure subsequent summer activities followed NCAA rules.

This case was processed through the negotiated resolution process. The process was used instead of a formal hearing or summary disposition because the university, the head coach and the enforcement staff agreed 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. 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 II-mitigated penalties for the university. The head coach agreed to Level II-standard penalties. Those and other penalties, approved by the Committee on Infractions, are detailed below:

  • One year of probation.
  • A $5,000 fine.
  • A reduction of paid official visits for women’s volleyball during the 2019-20 academic year by 5% of the average number of official paid visits for the program during the previous four years.
  • The head coach must be suspended from the first two regular-season games of the 2020 women’s volleyball season.
  • A reduction of the number of women’s volleyball countable athletically related activity by 97.5 hours over the 2019-20 and 2020-21 academic years.
  • The university reduced contacts with prospects by two once such contacts were permissible.

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 Greg Christopher, chair of the Committee on Infractions, chief hearing officer for the panel and vice president for administration and athletics director at Xavier;  Bobby Cremins, former head men’s basketball coach at Appalachian State, Georgia Tech and College of Charleston; and Kay Norton, president emeritus of Northern Colorado.