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CU Response To NCAA Sanctions Announced Thursday

Courtesy: CUBuffs.com
Release: June 21, 2007

BOULDER University of Colorado at Boulder officials today announced the campus would comply with NCAA sanctions resulting from a self-reported violation of NCAA bylaws that occurred on the campus between 2001-05, and announced a set of key reforms and practices to prevent similar violations in the future.


The violations were of “training table” privileges dining opportunities extended to non-scholarship (“walk-on”) student athletes. The violations, cited by the NCAA at a media briefing earlier today at the NCAA’s offices in Indianapolis, Ind., occurred over a period spanning the 2000-01 academic year and extending to Sept. 16, 2005. They were discovered by Associate Athletic Director Ceal Barry on that day and were communicated to NCAA officials by the university shortly thereafter.


The violations involved 133 walk-on student-athletes in six athletic programs (two men’s and four women’s) who were inadvertently undercharged for training table meals in two ways. The first violations centered on walk-on student athletes who ate at training table even though their practice schedules did not preclude them from dining in residence halls.


The second involved walk-on student-athletes who lived off campus and who purchased a training table meal plan at residence hall rates directly from the Athletics Department rather than a meal plan directly from CU's Housing and Dining Department.


The NCAA announced the violations on Thursday and indicated that they “were inadvertent,” calling them “limited in nature and narrow in scope.” But, it added, they “demonstrated a failure (of CU) to monitor its training table program.”


The governing body publicly censured CU-Boulder; placed the campus on two years’ probation from June 21, 2007 to June 20, 2009; fined the campus $100,000 (to be donated to a local homeless or food bank-related charity); reduced CU’s initial football scholarships by one each year for the 2007-08, 2008-09 and 2009-10 academic years (limiting the school to 24 initial scholarships under current rules) and ordered the campus to undertake a series of accountability measures and reporting duties to the NCAA while implementing “a comprehensive educational program on NCAA violations” for CU athletic department staff.


 “We fully embrace and accept the NCAA’s sanctions, which are very close to what we recommended as self-imposed sanctions in our report to the NCAA,” said CU Athletic Director Mike Bohn. “I want to say very clearly that this in no way reflects poorly upon our student-athletes; rather, it represents a challenge to our athletic department leadership to more effectively understand and apply NCAA bylaws, and to better communicate these bylaws to our coaches and staff. I can assure the public and the entire university community that we will achieve both of these ends, and have already taken steps to do so.”


Bohn said the University had, since 2005, enacted a series of training table oversight measures, including expanding its Training Table Committee (naming Barry its chair and adding two members, including CU’s faculty athletics representative to the Big 12 Conference David Clough) and increased the frequency of its meetings.

Bohn said he will also find budget authorization for a new athletic department staff member to ensure better communication of, and compliance with, all NCAA guidelines.


Bohn paid tribute to Barry for identifying the violation in 2005 through an unrelated conversation she had with a student-athlete. “Based on that conversation, Ceal deduced that we were not complying with NCAA training table rules,” said Bohn. “That immediately jump-started our self-reporting to the NCAA, our investigatory process and our making vital corrections to our past mistakes.” Barry was CU’s head women’s basketball coach from 1983 to 2005, compiling a 427-242 record. Her 669 games coached are the most games or events presided over by any coach in school history, and upon retiring from coaching she has transitioned into athletic administration with a special interest in academics and student services. She is also the school’s Senior Woman Administrator for athletics.


CU-Boulder Chancellor G.P. “Bud” Peterson, who was in New York when the NCAA made its announcement earlier today, echoed Bohn’s assurances on compliance with NCAA bylaws in a statement read at a media briefing on the CU-Boulder campus by CU-Boulder Provost Phil DiStefano. “I want to assure all our student-athletes, their parents, our faculty and staff, our alumni and our fellow NCAA Division I institutions that the University of Colorado at Boulder will fully comply with all of the NCAA’s rules and regulations.  I believe that this is demonstrated by the fact that when we discovered what we suspected was a rules violation, we immediately self-reported it to the NCAA and worked with it to understand what ultimately was a very complicated and involved set of circumstances. We accept the NCAA ruling and are reassured by the fact that the NCAA Committee on Infractions essentially accepted the self-imposed sanctions we proposed as part of this process.” 


Peterson in the statement also paid tribute to the cooperation of CU athletic officials who worked closely with CU academic administrators and CU’s faculty representative during the NCAA’s investigation, hearing and ruling periods.


 “Recently, we set forth a new reporting structure for the Department of Intercollegiate Athletics here at the University of Colorado at Boulder in which athletics is fully integrated into our university community.  I believe we have made tremendous progress in this regard and as Chancellor, I will continue to work with our Athletic Director, Mike Bohn, his staff and the entire university community to ensure that we are in full compliance in this and all areas.  I believe that we have the proper leadership in place and that we share a common set of values with respect to openness, integrity, and fairness. It is these values that will enable us to set a standard of integrity and achievement for athletics that the people of Colorado can and will be proud of, and a standard that we hope can serve as a national model.”


Click the here to read the official NCAA release (it is also at www.ncaa.org, in the media/events portal under recent releases):





      University of Colorado-Boulder officials, including Chancellor G. P. “Bud” Peterson and Athletic Director Mike Bohn, met with the National Collegiate Athletic Association (NCAA) Infractions Committee in Indianapolis, Ind., on April 13, 2007.    


      The group met to discuss allegations related to 133 non-scholarship, or walk-on, student-athletes in six sports (86 in football; 29 in women’s soccer; 9 in men’s basketball, 6 in women’s volleyball, 2 in women’s tennis and 1 in women’s golf) receiving training-table meals in a manner not in strict accordance with NCAA Bylaws between the 2000-01 academic year and September 20, 2005.


      NCAA officials visited the Boulder campus in October 2006 to conduct interviews. Peterson and CU administrators cooperated fully with the NCAA throughout the investigation of this matter.


      These walk-on student-athletes either did not meet the NCAA's requirement that practice schedules have a conflict with residence hall dining hours or were inadvertently charged for training table meals via a meal plan administered by the Athletics Department instead of a CU Housing and Dining meal.


      The average difference in cost between a dorm cafeteria meal and a training table meal was determined to be about $8.  This cost differential between the dorm meals and training table meals is primarily due to the increased overhead costs related to serving a smaller number of students.  Nonetheless, the NCAA counted this cost differential as an unauthorized subsidy to non-scholarship student athletes in a total dollar amount of $61,700 over the five-year period cited.


      In September of 2005, CU associate athletic director Ceal Barry discovered that CU was letting walk-ons who lived both on and off campus dine at training table at the residence hall rate when there was not a bona fide conflict with their practice schedules.  She immediately suspected an NCAA violation and reported the matter to the Athletics Director of Compliance. The practice was ceased immediately and was reported by the university to the NCAA that same month.


      Oversight efforts then began, to make sure guidelines on training table were strictly followed and the campus has been in full compliance with NCAA training table regulations since that time.


      This is the fifth major NCAA infractions case for the University of Colorado since the inception of its athletics program, but only the second major infraction in the past 25 years. The other infractions are:


2002: Football: impermissible recruiting contacts, provision of clothing items to recruits during official visits, excessive reimbursement for travel expenses for recruits, impermissible contacts of recruits with representatives of athletics interests spanning the 1995-96 through 1998-99 academic years. 


1980: Football:  principles governing ethical conduct, improper expenses, transportation, extra benefits, financial aid, various recruiting allegations, out-of-season practice spanning the 1973-74 through 1979-80 academic years.


1973:  Football: tampering with HS records of PSA, improper transportation of recruits, practice prior to meeting eligibility requirements.


1962:  Football:  improper transportation, impermissible reduction of financial aid, impermissible payments to student-athletes for medical needs, impermissible outside recruiting fund, impermissible inducements during 1959 through 1961.


      The NCAA described the most recent violations as “limited in nature and narrow in scope,” but was forced to classify the violations as “major” due to the length of time over which they occurred, the number of student-athletes involved, and the total amount of extra benefits extended to the student-athletes.


      The University will pay the fine of $100,000 ordered by the NCAA and will determine a suitable charity with no connections to CU athletic officials, per NCAA guidelines.


      The reduction in scholarships imposed by the NCAA and recommended as a self-sanction by CU-Boulder will limit the football program to 24 initial scholarships per year over the next three academic years, beginning this year (2007-08).


      The two-year probation for CU requires it to implement a “comprehensive education program on NCAA legislation” for coaches, faculty athletics representatives, all athletic department personnel and CU staff members with responsibilities for the certification of student-athletes for admission, retention, financial aid or competition; it further requires CU to submit a preliminary report to the NCAA Committee on Infractions by Aug. 15, 2007 setting forth a schedule for these educational programs. Finally, it requires CU to file a progress report with the NCAA by April 15 of each year of the probationary period.


      The university will not appeal the NCAA sanctions.