The University of Cincinnati announced today that the NCAA has placed the school on two years probation Thursday for both “major” and “secondary” rules violations stemming from improper phone contact with recruits in both the football and women’s basketball programs.
The university discovered the improper phone calls and self-reported the violations to the NCAA. The school imposed its own sanctions, which the NCAA accepted, including restrictions on making phone calls to recruits at certain times and on the size of the women’s basketball coaching staff and recruiters. According to the school, these sanctions have been completed.
[UC Statement and NCAA Press Release]
Importantly, the university has did not receive a post-season or television ban of any kind.
The NCAA said a former women’s basketball assistant coach made 176 improper calls to prospective players, their relatives or legal guardians; other staff members made 24 improper calls. Football staffers made 20 improper calls. Cincinnati said the major violation case came in June 2009-November 2010.
The women’s basketball coach responsible for all 176 improper calls was fired within 24 hours of discovery of the violation. Though the university refused to name the assistant in question, sources report that his name is E. Todd Moore.
It’s the first time UC has been on NCAA probation since the men’s basketball program was sanctioned with two years of probation under Bob Huggins in 1998.
“Although you’d rather not be on probation, the university is going to absolutely cut square corners on this,” said interim athletic director Bob Arkeilpane. “There are going to be no compromises. If we become aware of violations as an institution, however minor, they’re going to be reported and we’re going to work cooperatively with the NCAA and we’re going to take those consequences.”
The violations were self-reported by UC after a new, automated telephone monitoring system was implemented late last year at the request of Maggie McKinley, UC’s associate athletic director for compliance.
Cincinnati said it discovered the major violation in late November 2010 during an audit of all sports conducted, and reported improper calls to the NCAA at the beginning of 2011. The NCAA said the case was resolved through a cooperative process called a summary disposition.
Impermissible calls by themselves are not considered major violations but in this case they were elevated to a major violation because of the preponderance of calls made by one coach in one sport.
University president Gregory Williams said in the statement that it is the school’s policy to be ethical and to adhere to NCAA rules.
“In this or any NCAA compliance matter, I expect UC to be up front, honest and accountable,” Williams said.