Monday, April 23, 2007

Louisiana-Lafayette slapped on the wrist

The NCAA has issued its latest slap on the wrist as a consequence of ‘unintentional’ infractions in the University of Louisiana-Lafayette (ULL) football and men’s basketball programs. The men’s basketball team will retrospectively have its 2003-2004 and 2004-2005 seasons blanked, lose 2 one-year scholarships, and forfeit some NCAA tournament revenue sharing. The football team merely loses 5 hours of practice time/week in one Spring semester. The entire athletics department has been placed on probation:

The Committee on Infractions found that a men's basketball student-athlete relied on correspondence courses taken through another institution to meet his percentage-of-degree and grade-point average requirements in order to maintain satisfactory progress for eligibility during the 2004 spring semester and 2004-05 academic year. NCAA rules stipulate that student-athletes cannot use correspondence courses taken from another institution to meet these requirements. The 15 hours of correspondence work were used to certify the student-athlete as eligible for 2004-05 and he competed throughout the season, which included an NCAA tournament game.

The report also notes that the school's compliance coordinator at the time, as well as the director of academic services and registrar, all "failed to catch the obvious error."

"The committee is dismayed that the institution failed to comply with a simple, unambiguous bylaw and, as a consequence, allowed a star student-athlete to compete for a full season and half of another," the report states.

Not dismayed enough, apparently, to issue more serious sanctions. Hint to ULL - if you violate the ambiguous bylaws you will get away with it.

The violations in the football program occurred during the summers from 2002 through 2005 and involved voluntary conditioning activities becoming mandatory because of actions by members of the football and strength and conditioning staffs.

The strength and conditioning coach at the time provided both written and verbal updates to the coaching staff about student-athletes participating in summer workouts. Also, members of the football coaching staff occasionally observed workouts, provided skill training and tracked student-athlete attendance in the summer conditioning program. . .

The committee also believed that the failure to provide adequate education to the football and strength and conditioning coaches on NCAA legislation related to voluntary and countable athletically related activities during the summer contributed to the violations in the football program.

The report specifically noted that, "Meetings specifically for the purpose of educating the coaches on compliance issues were not held and the institution acknowledged that the education efforts were inadequate and constitute a failure to monitor."

ULL Interim Athletic Director David Walker gracefully accepted the slap:

"It is very important to note that the NCAA committee explicitly stated that there was no finding of the university intentionally violating any NCAA rules," Walker said.

That’s right. The compliance department UNINTENTIONALLY let 15 hours worth of forbidden correspondence classes slip onto a basketball players transcript, thus creating the appearance of eligibility. The football staff UNINTENTIONALLY showed up, on a regular basis, to voluntary summer practices.

In other news, Razorbacks fly.


PhilipVU94 said...

I'm eager to hear your feedback on my latest post, admittedly a very rambling one, because it's related to this very topic of cheating in college sports. The net result is, ULL's fans aren't going to in any form or fashion "give back" any of the joy that resulted from their school's misdeeds. Oh, they'll forfeit any money that resulted if they made any postseason appearances, which I don't recall, but not any honor.

Profane said...

Actually, in these circumstances there is a standard forfeiting of something which might be considered 'honor':

"The institution's records regarding men's basketball as well as the records of the individual(s) who served as head men's basketball coach(es) during these seasons shall be reconfigured to reflect the vacated records in all publications for the affected seasons, including, but not limited to, institutional media guides, recruiting material and institutional and NCAA archives. Finally, any public reference to the tournament performances during the time shall be removed, including, but not limited to, athletics department stationary and banners displayed in public areas such as the arena in which the men's basketball team competes."

In the case of ULL that will include any banners for their 2004 and 2005 Sun Belt championships, and their NCAA appearances in the same year. As things stand, however, one can still visit and see the 2003-2005 records. Hmmm... I wonder how long those can stay up before ULL has violated probation?