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Publish date: Mar 1, 2013

Saint Mary’s (California) failed to monitor its men’s basketball program

Saint Mary’s College of California failed to monitor its men’s basketball program and a former assistant men’s basketball coach acted unethically in his recruitment of international prospects, according to a decision announced today by the Division I Committee on Infractions. The case also includes a failure to monitor and a failure to promote an atmosphere for compliance by the head men’s basketball coach as well as impermissible training and coaching sessions.

Penalties in the case include four years of probation, a reduction in men’s basketball scholarships during the 2014-15 and 2015-16 academic years, a five-game suspension for the head coach during the 2013-14 season, recruiting restrictions and a two-year show cause for the former assistant coach. If the former assistant coach seeks employment at an NCAA member school during that two-year period, he and the school must appear before the Committee on Infractions to determine if the school should be subject to the show-cause procedures.

The former assistant coach knowingly committed violations during the recruitment of three prospects. When warned by the California Interscholastic Federation twice about the activities of the former assistant coach, the college did not proactively investigate the recruiting activities. Additionally, the men’s basketball team received impermissible training and coaching sessions from trainers not employed by the school.

According to the committee, the former assistant coach acted unethically when he knowingly committed recruiting violations for three prospects. The majority of the recruiting activity by the former assistant coach centered on an international prospect and included impermissible travel, local transportation and the arrangement of host family accommodations. He also attempted to assist a second international prospect by providing personal financial information as part of the prospect’s efforts in obtaining a student visa. The impermissible activity occurred both while the former assistant coach was employed by the college and as an athletics representative after he was no longer employed with the college.

During the recruitment of the international prospect, the head coach failed to monitor the activities of the former assistant coach. The head coach was aware of the former assistant coach’s previous employment with a professional sports agency and his termination from a two-year college due to improprieties. The head coach was also aware of the former assistant coach’s recruiting activity with the international prospect for whom the former assistant coach arranged travel to the United States and lodging with a local family. The committee notes that these were “red flags” and should have alerted the head coach to the need for heightened vigilance with regard to the former assistant coach’s recruiting activity. Additionally, the head coach knew that impermissible conditioning and practice sessions were conducted by two individuals not employed by the college, resulting in failure to monitor and promote an atmosphere for compliance.

Saint Mary’s (California) failed to monitor its men’s basketball program when it failed to conduct an adequate investigation of information provided by the state high school athletics governing body as it related to the recruitment of an international prospect. Additionally, the college failed to monitor the conditioning and practice sessions with outside basketball trainers and conditioning coaches.

Penalties in this case include:

The members of the Division I Committee on Infractions who reviewed this case include Britton Banowsky, chair of the Committee on Infractions and commissioner of Conference USA; John S. Black, attorney; Greg Christopher, athletics director at Bowling Green State University; Melissa Conboy, deputy director of athletics at the University of Notre Dame; Christopher L. Griffin, coordinator of appeals and attorney; Roscoe Howard Jr., attorney; Eleanor W. Myers, faculty athletics representative and law professor at Temple University; James O'Fallon, law professor and faculty athletics representative at the University of Oregon; Greg Sankey, executive associate commissioner and chief operating officer for the Southeastern Conference; and Rodney J. Uphoff, coordinator of appeals and law professor at the University of Missouri, Columbia.

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