Men’s Tennis Program Found Guilty Of Major NCAA Rules Violations

May 13, 2009 · By · Filed Under News, Tennis 

The University of South Alabama Men’s Tennis program was found guilty on Tuesday of major NCAA violations. The announcement at 2pm yesterday by the NCAA said that they have placed the program on probation for three years, including a postseason ban in 2010, the loss of scholarships and the forfeiture of past wins and championships. With the loss of scholarships, USA will only have 2.72 scholarships per year to offer through 2011 rather than the normal 4.5 per year.

The violations as stated by the NCAA include unethical conduct by the former head coach Scott Novak, the University’s failure to monitor, impermissible financial aid and loans, improper student-athlete certification and an impermissible decrease in athletic scholarships.

Also in the letter from the NCAA, the penalties included permanent disassociation of the former head coach Scott Novak and a four year show-cause order for the former head coach. Under the show-cause order, should the former head coach seek athletic related employment with any NCAA institution, he and his hiring institution must appear before the NCAA Committee on Infrations to determine whether his duties should be limited at the new institution for a designated period of time.

USA is considered a repeat violator since it appeared before the committee in 2001 for violations in the Men’s Basketball program. Since the University had a previous major violations case within five years of this violation, it was eligible to receive harsher penalties and as a result USA received the 2010 Men’s Tennis team postseason ban.

The violation stemmed from the former head coach providing more than $12,000 in impermissible financial aid to five international Men’s Tennis student-athletes over six years. Also on various occasions either before or during their enrollment, the former head coach promised four of the men more financial aid that he was able to award.

These four athletes believed they had received a full scholarship based on the representations made to them by this former head coach. In order to make up the difference, the former head coach either provided them with cash or made payments on their student accounts at the University and thus exceeded its financial aid limits for Men’s Tennis from 2000-2001 through the 2004-2005 academic years.

Additionally, this former head coach provided $3,000 cash to one of these students to allow him to obtain an international visa.

The former coach refused to furnish the NCAA enforcement staff with information relevant to the investigation and declined the enforcement staff’s interview requests on eight different occasions over about six months.

The University impermissibly decreased the financial aid of a Men’s Tennis student-athlete. The student was awarded a 71 percent scholarship for the 2004-2005 academic year, 35 percent of which was administered during the 2004 fall semester. Prior to the start of the spring semester, the University terminated the student’s scholarship for the remainder of the academic year and failed to notify the student of the opportunity for a hearing to contest the reduction.

Based on the violations, it was found that the University failed to monitor the conduct and administration of the Men’s Tennis program and further, the University failed to monitor certain aspects of its athletics program with regard to international student-athletes. This included the administration of financial aid award notification and failure to properly certify the amateurism of 27 student-athletes in 10 sports.

This is a tough hit by the NCAA and as Athletic Director Joe Gottfried said, its an embarrassment for the school. Gottfried further stated, “The penalties were pretty much what we expected or self-imposed. We have taken the proper steps to make sure that this will not happen again. It’s obvious that it sets our men’s tennis program back. There were many people that helped build this tennis program and we’ll get through this. We’ve got an outstanding coach now in Nick Brochu and we can get back to the level we were before these infractions took place.”

The whole athletic department had better stand a distance away from the line that is the NCAA rules because another investigation into majors rules violations would definitely not end well for the University.

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One Response to “Men’s Tennis Program Found Guilty Of Major NCAA Rules Violations”

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