NCAA Announces Penalties for Men's Basketball Program
STATESBORO, Ga. - The National Collegiate Athletic Association (NCAA) today (January 20) publicly released the penalties for Georgia Southern University in regard to major violations involving the men's basketball program during the 2007-08 academic year and 2008 summer and fall academic terms. The announcement completes a 13-month-long process with the acceptance of the NCAA's penalties, including several which were self-imposed by the University.
Georgia Southern recommended to the NCAA a two-year probationary period, a reduction in the number of basketball scholarships, a reduction in the number of official recruiting visits, and vacation of all wins in which the two ineligible players competed during the 2007-08 and 2008-09 men's basketball seasons. The NCAA adopted the institution's proposal, making an adjustment to the scholarship sanction by increasing the term length of the loss of one scholarship from two years to three, (through 2012), including the current 2009-10 season.
"The unprincipled behavior of former members of the men's basketball staff forces our entire athletics department to face the consequences of their actions," said Director of Athletics Sam Baker. "We want to field successful programs, but it is imperative we accomplish these goals in the correct manner."
In December 2008, the University appointed a four-person panel to lead the institution's investigation into alleged academic fraud by members of the men's basketball team in collaboration with an assistant coach, director of basketball operations and assistant professor. That same month, Georgia Southern initiated contact with the NCAA and the two entities worked jointly to conduct a thorough investigation. In swift response to confirmed improprieties, the assistant coach was suspended in February 2009, and three members of the team were suspended indefinitely. Two were expelled from the University citing violations of the institution's Student Code of Conduct and the third was later reinstated to the team.
Following months of interviews and a response to the letter of inquiry from the NCAA, University officials appeared before the Division I Committee on Infractions in October 2009 to address the allegations of the case. The allegations centered on unethical conduct by the members of the men's basketball staff in the form of academic fraud and the subsequent provision of false and misleading information. The NCAA enforcement staff investigating the case did not charge the University with "failure to monitor." The NCAA enforcement staff, explaining why it did not pursue that course of action cited the "conspiratorial nature" of the individuals involved in their efforts to ensure the University and athletics department remained unaware of their activities. Georgia Southern concurred with the NCAA enforcement staff and prepared a response to the allegation of "failure to monitor" submitted by the Committee on Infractions. However, the Committee still maintained the assertion there was a failure to properly monitor the men's basketball staff and the charge was included in the report.
"My expectation is that Georgia Southern will strive for excellence both on and off the court while meeting or exceeding the high expectations set by the NCAA," said Georgia Southern University President Brooks Keel, Ph.D. "I am confident that we have taken the necessary steps to ensure that an incident of this nature does not occur at Georgia Southern again. We accept the decision of the NCAA and are anxious to move forward."
- Category: Men's Basketball
- Published on Wednesday, 20 January 2010 15:52