The NCAA Infractions committee today reported its findings in a Wisconsin case involving shoe discounts for athletes.
The NCAA committee reported by teleconference to media gathered at the Kohl Center. UW-Madison administrators later answered questions following the NCAA announcement.
The Athletics Department will post audio, video and transcribed news conference information later today at its web site WWW.UWBADGERS.COM.
What follows is a summary of the NCAA report:
UNIVERSITY OF WISCONSIN, MADISON PLACED ON PROBATION FOR VIOLATIONS INVOLVING EXTRA BENEFITS
INDIANAPOLIS---The University of Wisconsin, Madison., has been placed on probation for five years and reductions have been made in grants-in-aid in football and men's basketball for violations of NCAA legislation governing extra benefits, recruiting inducements and the institution's failure to monitor its athletics program.
The NCAA's Division I Committee on Infractions also required that the university disassociate the representative of the university's athletics interests involved in many of the violations for a period of seven years or show cause why it should not be penalized further.
As a part of its deliberations, the committee discussed requiring the university to vacate records for contests in which ineligible student-athletes participated but determined that such action was not appropriate.
- In addition to self-imposed sanctions established by the university last April, the committee imposed these penalties:
Public reprimand and censure
Five years of probation beginning October 2, 2001
- In addition to the university's self-imposed reductions in football grants-in-aid, the institution is required to reduce the number of initial scholarships in football by five during the 2002-03 and 2003-04 academic years. This limits the university to 20 initial grants. (The university has averaged 21 initial football grants during the past four years.)
- In addition to the university's self-imposed reduction of one in the total number of men's basketball grants-in-aid for 2002-03 (13 to 12), the university will apply the same reduction during the 2003-04 academic year. (Wisconsin has averaged 12.3 grants in men's basketball per year in the last five years.)
- The university will issue a letter of reprimand to be included in the permanent record of the head football coach because of the violation involving impermissible housing arrangements. This is in addition to the letter of admonishment issued by the university.
The university will show cause why it should not be penalized further if it fails to disassociate the representative of the institution's athletics interests from its athletics programs for a period of at least seven years beginning October 2, 2001. The period of disassociation will include: refraining from accepting any assistance from the individual that would aid in the recruitment of prospective student-athletes or the support of enrolled student-athletes; refusing financial assistance or contributions to the institution's athletics program from the individual; ensuring that no athletics benefit or privilege is provided to the individual, either directly or indirectly, that is not available to the public at large; and implementing other actions that the institution determines to be within its authority to eliminate the involvement the individual in the athletics program.
During the probationary period, the university will continue to develop and implement a comprehensive education program on NCAA legislation and submit periodic reports to the NCAA. At the end of the probationary period, the university's president will provide a letter to the committee affirming that the university's current athletics policies and practices conform to all requirements of NCAA regulations.
As required by NCAA legislation for any institution involved in a major infractions case, Wisconsin is subject to the NCAAs repeat-violator provisions for a five-year period beginning on the effective date of the penalties in this case, October 2, 2001.
The entire text of the NCAA report can be found at the NCAA web site at:
NCAA Report News Conference
Kohl Center, October 2, 2001
Remarks by Chancellor John Wiley
I am pleased that the NCAA has accepted and agreed with virtually everything that we brought forward in our own investigation. I believe that agreement acknowledges the thoroughness of our investigation and reflects the deliberate approach we took in reviewing and addressing the allegations.
I am also gratified that the NCAA recognized the seriousness of the self-imposed penalties and the administrative changes we've put into place to make sure our athletic program conforms to the regulations of the NCAA going forward. This will continue to be a priority for me and of the leadership of the Athletic Department. The decisions we announced in April and continue to implement, will strengthen Wisconsin's athletic program for years to come.
Having said that, I am very disappointed by the NCAA's additional reductions in the number of athletic scholarships, especially for our football program. While it is true that these judgments are within the NCAA legislation, they are, in the end, subjective in nature. We obviously believed that the loss of scholarships that we imposed was sufficient punishment. The NCAA clearly disagreed.
Although I do not agree with the additional penalties imposed, we will not appeal the decision of the Infractions Committee. Rather, we will pay our penalties, and we have put systems in place to make sure they won't happen again. I continue to have confidence in the Athletic Department and its leadership team and look forward to putting this case behind us.
Opening Remarks via Teleconference
Div. I NCAA Committee on Infractions Chair, Thomas E. Yeager, Commissioner, Colonial Athletic Association.
"The announcement today stems from the institutional infractions that first came to light through a series of eligibility appeals in the summer/fall of the year 2000. It related to discounts and credit extended to numerous student-athletes at a local retail establishment in Wisconsin. The case breaks down into four areas of violation. The first involving the discounts, was the provision of merchandise. I think that, suffice it to say, considering the case, the committee on infractions agrees with the University's assessment that this was "not a traditional retail business," but the practices that were extended to the student-athletes stretched even the owner's rather loose parameters and business practices. Everyone involved agreed - the University, the NCAA enforcement staff, the committee on infractions - that extra benefit legislation was violated.
The benefits were widespread when it was discovered in July of 2000. There were 157 current student-athletes in 14 different sports that had eligibility consequences that needed to be resolved. The violations really hit on, were found in four particular areas. First were special discounts to student-athletes above and beyond the regular discounts that were given at the store. On occasion, special discounts to the student-athletes' friends and family that may have accompanied the student-athlete. The third area, which the committee took great notice of, was the credit plans that were provided to the student-athletes. When the case was discovered in July of 2000, there were 39 current student-athletes that owed $11,500 in merchandise. More troubling, also there were 49 former student-athletes that owed in excess of $22,000 at the time of discovery.
The committee spent a great deal of time looking at the credit aspect of this case and found that to be a significant violation of legislation. On several instances there were reports that University issued equipment may have been exchanged for credit and or merchandise at the store. Looking at the issue of the shoes, the violations were serious. They provided wide spread benefits to a significant number of student-athletes over a number of years.
A second area of violation related to housing for prospective student-athletes, primarily football players, who were assisted in arranging housing in Madison in a private dormitory, the summer preceding their enrollment. The premise of the housing was they were supposed to work in lieu of paying rent. Some did work, many of them did not and virtually all of them worked a less amount than the value of the lodging that they received. Part of the credit they were given for work was related to being 'on-call' for work - being available to work - but (they) were seldom, if ever called to actually work.
A third area related to failure to monitor the institution's athletic program. There were several warning signs that had been available to the university; there were a number of occasions that these were inadequately investigated to the extent that when they finally came to light, the true nature and extent of the problem only came to light at that point. I think also that the housing arrangement that was provided, the prospects in the private dormitory, was not handled through proper channels through the university's compliance office and therefore went undetected, unmonitored.
The key element of this case is the fact that this is the third major case in eight years for the University of Wisconsin. The committee wants to draw the distinction that, while we were very concerned about the repeat visits before the committee, each of the cases were significantly different and not from sport to sport, but by the types of violation.
This case involved benefits provided to student-athletes. The 1999 case did not involve a single student-athlete, that case related to coaches' salary supplements, booster funds that were not properly administered, reimbursements from booster funds for permissible expenses that were beyond state reimbursement limits, but did not involve student-athletes. The 1994 case, which involved wrestling, related to the improper application of local sports club legislation and university booster clubs.
There is no doubt, that had there been a common thread running through these cases that the outcome would have been significantly different and much more series to the university. So while we are troubled by the fact that this is the third major case in eight years, the committee was able to draw a distinction that it wasn't repetition of a similar stream of penalties.
We would like to reference and highlight some of the penalties that were self-imposed by the university and the extension compliance measures that the university has embarked on prior to the processing of this. The university imposed three years of probation on itself beginning April 20, 2001, issued reprimands to its athletic director and director of compliance, issued letters of admonishment to coaches in 14 sports that were involved in the discounts at the shoe store. The institution paid an institutional fine to the NCAA in the amount of $150,000, the university further reduced four football scholarships, reducing by two the overall limit in football for the 2001-2002 year, an additional scholarship in 2002-03 and one additional scholarship in 2003-2004. They reduced one basketball scholarship for the 2002-03 academic year, next year when they will be limited to 12 names in the sport of men's basketball. They reduced by one the number of football, men's and women's basketball and wrestling coaches that were committed to recruit off campus and they disassociated the representative involved in the violations for a period of five years.
In addition to these penalties, which the committee found to be very meaningful, the committee on infractions also imposed these additional.
The committee has imposed a five-year period of probation beginning today Oct. 2, 2001 which in essence will extend the universities imposed probation for a period of two years and eight months. In concert with the institutions reductions to football scholarships and the overall limit, the committee will reduce initial grants in football by five in both the 2002-2003 and 2003-2004 academic year, indicating that they will be restricted to awarding a maximum of 20 initial grants rather than the 25 that would be permissible.
The committee also extended the reduction in one scholarship in men's basketball for the 2003-2004 season so that men's basketball will loose a scholarship for two years. In addition, we disassociated the involved representative for seven years, which added an additional two years disassociation to the representative that had been disassociated by five years by the university.
The committee would like to acknowledge Chancellor Wiley's strong leadership in charting a significant set of corrective actions and his response and the university's response to these violations when they were discovered in July of 2000.
Remarks by Coaches and Athletic Director Pat Richter
Have you finally reached closure I think you can fairly characterize it as some closure. I think thats important for everybody. I think that like anything else, this has been hanging around for a long time and I think now we know what we can do and as John [Wiley] indicated, we must move forward. I think everybody is pleased to have it behind us, UW Athletics Director Pat Richter said.
Head football coach Barry Alvarez on closure: Im relieved that theres a finality to it and to know what we have to deal with. Any time that you have restrictions or limitations over and above those of your opponents, its going to hurt your program. How much, I dont know. But well accept those and well live by those limitations that we have and deal with it the best we can.
Why not appeal We want this to be over, UW Chancellor John Wiley said. We felt we had imposed enough penalties, theyve exceeded them to some extent, but were ready to close this and move on. Obviously, I thought we had taken all the appropriate corrective actions and self-imposed penalties that were appropriate and sufficiently severe. [The NCAA] disagreed. Thats, as I said in the opening statement, a subjective call. We can disagree. If we disagreed strongly enough I suppose we would appeal. We decided not to do that. We reached a consensus very quickly because I believe everyone wants to turn their attention to other matters now.
Head mens basketball coach Bo Ryans thoughts: I left here 17 years ago, came back here to the Kohl Center, three Rose Bowl teams, a Final Four appearance the job that Pat and Barry have done and to have to sit here and go through this, to me, bothers me quite a bit. To see what those two men have done to get the administration, the programs the way they are, to say that, when something like this comes down, `woe is me, Im not going to say `woe is me. Im going to say that Ive been dealt a little bit tougher hand as a new head coach coming in, but I knew because of things that were told to me ahead of time, its not like I was blind sided, but to look at how this is going to effect us, I dont know, but I do know that from a competitive edge standpoint, it did not effect the success that the athletic teams have had here in the past seven years. How it will affect the success of the athletic teams in the next seven years, I dont have an answer for that either, but I do know for a fact it didnt effect the past seven years. So I dont know how this is going to affect me, it just means you have more walk-ons, you have to hope that you dont have situations that have occurred with us this year.
More Alvarez thoughts: The punishment that we went through last year and the hoops that we had to jump through last year and the time we had to deal with this, the worst is over. Its over. Its final. We will deal with this, just as we dealt with it last year and it was much harder a year ago than it is right now. We know the restrictions now, we have time to deal with it, time to address it and well handle it the best it can possibly be handled. I feel relieved and Im sure all my staff does.
How will these sanctions impact the teams Alvarez: Like I said already, if you have restrictions that your opponents dont, certainly youre at a disadvantage. How much it will impact us, I dont know, that remains to be seen, Alvarez said.
Ryan: Hes right in that if you studied the programs that ended up losing scholarships and things like this, they did down the road find it very difficult to be successful, especially if you lose numbers and you have injuries. So that could put us at a disadvantage, but you know, maybe well just prove them wrong. Maybe well just change history and well set a new precedent here. Our stick will be a little bit smaller, well just have to swing a little harder.