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Wednesday, September 10, 2003 Kay Hawes
Associate Director of
Media Relations


INDIANAPOLIS---The NCAA Division I Committee on Infractions placed California State University, Fresno, on probation for four years for violations of bylaws governing academic fraud, recruiting, eligibility, financial aid (including awards and benefits), extra benefits, amateurism, coaching limitations and playing and practice seasons legislation. The committee also found a lack of institutional control.

Although the committee required the institution to vacate the record of its performance in the 2000 NCAA Division I Men's Basketball Championship and return 90 percent of the monies it earned for that appearance, it chose to accept the significant disciplinary actions taken by the university, including a voluntary postseason sanction in 2003, without adding additional substantive penalties.

The majority of the violations in this case centered on the men's basketball program, but there also were limited violations in both the men's soccer and women's basketball programs, as well as secondary violations involving the men's and women's basketball programs.

The committee found that during the 1998-99 academic year, a men's basketball student-athlete was awarded athletically related financial aid even though he was not enrolled in a full-time program of studies. He also was certified as eligible for competition even though he had not maintained satisfactory progress toward a baccalaureate degree. Specifically, the student-athlete was enrolled as a part-time student at Fresno State while completing the requirements for an associate degree at a junior college.

The committee noted that the involvement of a former academic advisor, as well as her position at the university, was unique. Part of her compensation was paid through the men's basketball department, and she reported to the former assistant director of athletics for academic services and to the former head men's basketball coach. In her written response, the former academic advisor indicated to the committee that she played an active role in securing correspondence courses for student-athletes.

The committee noted that there were several persons involved in the certification process for this student-athlete, including the former academic advisor, a former compliance officer, an athletics admissions specialist in the admissions office, an academic evaluator in admissions and the faculty athletics representative. None of those individuals seemed aware of the prohibition against the use of correspondence courses for the purpose of determining progress towards graduation of a junior college transfer student-athlete.

The committee found that during summer 2000, the former academic advisor and a former statistician violated the NCAA principles of ethical conduct when the former academic advisor arranged for the former statistician to prepare 17 pieces of course work for two other student-athletes who were completing their last semesters of eligibility, as well as for a men's basketball prospective student-athlete. The course work performed by the former statistician included researching, composing and typing theme papers, article reviews and final exam papers for correspondence courses in which the student-athletes were enrolled at two other institutions. The former academic advisor notified the former statistician when the student-athletes needed papers written and paid him for seven papers completed for one of these student-athletes and the prospect. The other student-athlete paid the former statistician himself for the 10 papers prepared for him.

The provision of the papers for the two student-athletes violated NCAA extra benefit legislation, which resulted in the two student-athletes competing while ineligible during the 2000 spring semester, including the 2000 NCAA Division I Men's Basketball Tournament. The provision of the papers for the prospect constituted academic fraud, which resulted in the prospect competing while ineligible during the 2000-01 academic year.

The committee also found that:

The committee also found that the university demonstrated a lack of appropriate institutional control. In finding a lack of control, the committee cited the following: failure to correctly apply financial aid legislation, failure to detect the receipt of excessive complimentary admissions by family and friends of men's basketball student-athletes; and failure to report perceived violations of NCAA rules on numerous occasions (detailed in the full public report and mentioned briefly above).

The committee also found that secondary violations occurred involving coaching limitations, off-campus contact, publicity of prospects, and extra benefits.

In determining the appropriate penalties to impose, the committee carefully considered the institution's self-imposed penalties and corrective actions. The committee agreed with and adopted the actions taken by the university, noting that they represented "appropriate corrective actions and meaningful, significant self-imposed penalties."

The committee noted that the university's president "is to be commended for demonstrating the university's commitment to accepting responsibility for these violations." The committee also noted that it did not impose all of the presumptive penalties for major violations specified in Bylaw 19.6.2. "However, given the nature, scope and seriousness of the violations, including the commission of academic fraud, improper academic certification practices and a failure to report evidence of violations, coupled with the significant competitive advantages gained and a lack of institutional control," the committee concluded that additional penalties were warranted.

The following penalties were imposed by the committee or were self-imposed by the university and adopted by the committee. Those penalties that were self-imposed by the university are so noted.

As required by NCAA legislation for any institution involved in a major infractions case, Fresno State is subject to the provisions of NCAA Bylaw, concerning repeat violators, for a five-year period beginning on the effective date of the penalties in this case, September 10, 2003.

The members of the NCAA Division I Committee on Infractions who heard this case are: Thomas Yeager, committee chair and commissioner, Colonial Athletic Association; Paul T. Dee, director of athletics, University of Miami; Alfred J. Lechner Jr., attorney, Princeton, New Jersey; Gene A. Marsh, professor of law, University of Alabama School of Law; Andrea L. Myers, director of athletics, Indiana State University; James Park Jr., attorney, Lexington, Kentucky; Josephine R. Potuto, professor of law, University of Nebraska College of Law; and Eugene D. Smith, director of athletics, Arizona State University.



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