JONESBORO (12/13/10) – Arkansas State University and the NCAA Enforcement staff have submitted their joint summary disposition report to the NCAA Committee on Infractions. The summary disposition report is a document agreed upon by both ASU and the NCAA Enforcement staff to resolve ASU's pending case with the NCAA.
Arkansas State University initially discovered possible NCAA violations pertaining to whether some of its student-athletes were meeting NCAA progress-toward-degree requirements and immediately notified proper NCAA personnel of the misunderstanding on August 25, 2008.
Working alongside NCAA and Sun Belt Conference entities, Arkansas State began a full and thorough internal investigation that confirmed violations had been committed. During the investigation, ASU gave full disclosure to the NCAA and was committed to fully complying with any requests made by the NCAA to ensure that every possible effort was made to rectify the situation.
The investigation revealed that 31 student-athletes from six sports competed in an NCAA-sanctioned event while ineligible over multiple years.
Arkansas State and the NCAA Enforcement staff agree the violations were unintentional and that no athletic department staff members or student-athletes had any knowledge that a violation had occurred. Further, there was no evidence found that the violations were deliberate or occurred with the intent to gain a competitive advantage.
It was the finding of ASU and the NCAA Enforcement staff that all of these violations were not due to a lack of institutional control and was not a case of systematic failure.
Under NCAA Bylaws, an institution is subject to a secondary violation when a student-athlete competes in an NCAA event while ineligible due to not meeting progress-toward-degree requirements. In ASU's situation, the infractions were elevated to a major violation because a large number of student-athletes competed under these circumstances.
The investigation also brought to light academic fraud regarding one faculty member and one student-athlete who would have been eligible regardless of the grade change.
In addition to self-reporting all the violations, Arkansas State University has submitted self-imposed penalties to the NCAA Infractions Committee.
The proposed self-imposed penalties include:
a) Arkansas State is self-imposing a two-year probationary period beginning with the submission of a summary disposition report on November 18, 2010. During this period of probation, the institution will continue to develop and implement educational programs regarding academic fraud and submit annual reports to the Committee on Infractions outlining the steps it has taken to improve and monitor the certification of eligibility process. The reports will also include documentation of the institution's compliance with the penalties adopted and imposed by the Committee on Infractions.
b) The institution will reduce the amount of athletically related financial aid in the sports of football and men's basketball as follows: football (2011-12) one full grant-in-aid, men's basketball (2011-12) one full grant-in-aid, football (2012-13) one full grant-in-aid and men's basketball (2012-13) one full grant-in-aid.
c) The institution will vacate the victories for participation by ineligible student-athletes as follows: football (2006) six wins, (2005) four wins; men's basketball (2006-07) 15 wins, (2005-06) 12 wins; baseball (2006-07) three wins; women's soccer (2005-06) five wins.
d) In January 2009, the institution paid a fine in the amount of $43,500, which represents the maximum fine for the ineligible competition in secondary violations of the student-athletes identified in the institution's January 29, 2009, self-report.
A probationary period reflects the amount of time in which the university is monitored by the NCAA for compliance. A probationary period in no way affects an institution's postseason play or a student-athlete's career at that institution.
ASU has taken swift and sure action to correct these infractions and has implemented procedures to prevent such occurrences in the future as agreed upon by the NCAA Enforcement staff.
ASU's corrective actions thus far have included consultant review, policy and procedure revisions, personnel changes, departmental restructuring and additional educational and training programs.
ARKANSAS STATE UNIVERSITY COMMENTS:
"As stated in its summary disposition report to the NCAA Committee on Infractions, Arkansas State is committed to meeting its requirements, obligations and duties of membership as an NCAA Division I institution as evidenced by the institution's full cooperation with the enforcement staff during the investigation of the progress-toward-degree and academic fraud violations and its immediate and vigorous corrective actions. Arkansas State's commitment is further evidenced by the institution's self-imposed penalties commensurate with the infractions." – Dr. Dan Howard, ASU Interim Chancellor
"Arkansas State is not in a unique situation as we are going through the normal process that the NCAA requires for any member institution that commits an NCAA violation. The NCAA deals with matters such as the one we're working through on a regular basis, and ASU is treating this process with great respect while the NCAA conducts its standard reviews." – Dr. Dean Lee, ASU Director of Athletics
"We have unfortunately encountered a major violation and fully acknowledge the serious nature of this matter, but also recognize that these violations, when committed on an individual basis, are secondary violations. The fact that these secondary violations were committed in a large number is what has elevated it to a major violation." – Dr. Dean Lee, ASU Director of Athletics
"We have been working through this process with the Sun Belt Conference and NCAA over the past 28 months, and we are hopeful that this matter will be brought to closure in the near future." – Dr. Dean Lee, ASU Director of Athletics