WVU's Football Program on 2 Years' Probation Following NCAA Investigation

By: The Associated Press, WV Metro News Email
By: The Associated Press, WV Metro News Email

MORGANTOWN, W.Va. (AP) -- The NCAA has placed West Virginia's football program on two years' probation stemming from violations involving out-of-season coaching and the use of non-coaching staff who worked with players.

The NCAA report says WVU committed major violations involving failure to monitor by former coaches Rich Rodriguez and Bill Stewart and by the university.

Under the sanctions released Friday, the Mountaineers will lose a scholarship for the upcoming season and also see a reduction in football staff positions. The probation doesn't include postseason play.

WVU athletic director Oliver Luck says he's pleased the NCAA's infractions committee accepted self-imposed penalties proposed by the university.

He says WVU "will move forward with a complete commitment to compliance in all that we do."

NCAA's Full Report
West Virginia University committed major violations involving failure to monitor by two former head football coaches and by the institution, according to findings by the Division I Committee on Infractions. The failure to monitor findings stemmed from violations within the program involving noncoaching staff members who performed duties that led the program to exceed the allowable number of coaches and coaching staff members who engaged in impermissible out-of-season athletically related activities.

Penalties in this case include two years probation, coaching and recruiting restrictions and scholarship reductions.

This case was resolved through the summary disposition process, a cooperative effort where the involved parties submit the case to the Committee on Infractions in written form. When the NCAA enforcement staff, the university and involved individuals agree to the facts of the case and penalties proposed by the university, they may use this process instead of a formal hearing.

The football program exceeded coaching staff limitations and conducted impermissible athletically related activities when noncoaching staff members, graduate assistant coaches and a student assistant coach participated in on- and off-field coaching activities. For example, five video graduate assistants monitored or conducted skills-development drills and attended position meetings where they worked directly with coaches. Their participation qualified them as countable coaches and the program therefore exceeded its allowable number of coaches.

These violations led to three failure to monitor violations by two former head coaches and the university. Both former head coaches acknowledged they failed to adequately monitor the duties and activities of the coaching staff and noncoaching sport-specific staff members.

The institution also acknowledged it failed to properly monitor the activities of the two former head coaches and their staffs. According to the committee, a breakdown in communication among the football staff, the student services staff and the compliance staff contributed to a lack of consistent NCAA rules education, allowing noncoaching staff to participate in coaching activities and coaching staff members to engage in impermissible out of season athletically related activities.

The penalties in this case are as follows:

*Public reprimand and censure.

*Two years probation from July 8, 2011, through July 7, 2013.

*Reduced the total number of scholarships awarded for football during the 2010-11 academic year by two.

*Elimination of two noncoaching graduate assistant positions, resulting in a reduction from seven to five noncoaching graduate assistant positions. Noncoaching graduate assistants are not permitted to attend or observe any coaching or athletically related activities or meetings.

*The coordinator of recruiting operations (formerly director/ coordinator of high school relations) position was restricted from attending or observing meetings involving coaching activities and all athletically related events, including sideline attendance at all home and away games through the 2010-11 academic year.

*Prior to its elimination, from February 10 through June 30, 2010, the position of director of player development was restricted from attending or observing any meetings involving coaching activities and all athletically related activities.

*The program declined the opportunity to use 10 coaches during its designated "off" week, resulting in just seven coaches recruiting for the week of Sept. 26, 2010, through Oct. 2, 2010.

*Eliminated one off-campus recruiter for the 2011 spring recruiting period, bringing the total from seven to six.

*Reduced the amount of countable athletically related activities for football student-athletes by a total of 46.25 hours or 23 percent.
Reduce the total number of scholarships awarded for football during the 2011-12 academic year by one.

Statement from WVU Director of Intercollegiate Athletics Oliver Luck
WVU is in receipt of the NCAA's final report of an investigation into violations committed from 2005-2009 related to participation and monitoring of noncoaching staff members in drill and meeting activities reserved for countable coaches within our football program.

We appreciate the hard work the Committee and the NCAA staff put into this process, particularly moving cooperatively to the summary disposition process.

I am pleased that the Committee accepted the self-imposed penalties the University proposed, without imposing any additional ones. The University has already taken corrective action and put new systems in place to address all the issues raised.

It is also important to note that probation does not affect our bowl eligibility or ability to compete for conference or national championships. It does, however, require annual reports over a two-year period, which we will complete.

We have taken this case very seriously from the beginning and, as we've said, will move forward with a complete commitment to compliance in all that we do.

We now look forward to an exciting football season and putting this process behind us.

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