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Utah baseball coach failed to promote atmosphere of compliance

Download the May 2018 Univerisity of Utah Public Infractions Decision

The University of Utah baseball coach did not promote an atmosphere of compliance when he instructed his then-director of baseball operations to impermissibly perform coaching duties, according to a Division I Committee on Infractions panel.

This case was resolved through the summary disposition process, a cooperative effort where the involved parties collectively submit the case to the Committee on Infractions in written form. The NCAA enforcement staff, university and participating individuals must agree to the facts and overall level of the case to use this process instead of a formal hearing.

After being asked by the head coach to participate in on-field coaching activities, the former director of operations worked with catchers, threw batting practice and hit baseballs for fielding drills. In doing so, the former director of operations counted as a coach and caused Utah to exceed the allowable number of baseball coaches.

The head coach knew that the former director of operations could not be involved in on-field coaching activities and specifically warned his staff to make sure that the former director was not performing coaching activity if any administrative staff came by practice. He rationalized his decision because he said it helped develop the former director of operations; he believed that other programs also allowed the same type of impermissible activity; and it allowed him to spend more time on other areas during practice.

The panel noted regardless of his intent, his decision to knowingly allow impermissible coaching activity demonstrated rules compliance was not a top priority for his program. It also gave the program the benefit of an extra coach, which gave the team an advantage over other teams that followed the rules.

The panel used the Division I membership-approved infractions penalty guidelines to prescribe the following measures:

  • One year of probation from May 23, 2018, through May 22, 2019.
  • The head coach will be suspended for the first 25 percent of the 2018 baseball season (self-imposed by the university).
  • A reduction in countable athletically related activity from 20 hours to 18 during the 2018 season (self-imposed by the university).
  • 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 panel who reviewed this case are Norman Bay, attorney in private practice; Jody Conradt, retired head women’s basketball coach at Texas and special assistant to the women’s athletics director at Texas; Bobby Cremins, former head men’s basketball coach at Georgia Tech, College of Charleston and Appalachian State; Thomas Hill, senior vice president emeritus at Iowa State; Jason Leonard, executive director of athletics compliance at Oklahoma; Gary L. Miller, chief hearing officer for this panel and chancellor at Green Bay; and Roderick Perry, athletics director at Indiana University-Purdue University Indianapolis.