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Publish date: Nov 4, 2011

Infractions Appeals Committee upholds penalties, most findings for Arizona State University

The NCAA Division I Infractions Appeals Committee upheld the penalties and most of the appealed findings for Arizona State University. Two of the appealed major violations were upheld, while the Infractions Appeals Committee reduced a third violation from major to secondary.

The case primarily involved a series of violations that occurred over a period of more than five years in the baseball program and involved coaching staff limits, paying student-athletes for work not performed, use of an impermissible recruiter and a lack of institutional control.

Penalties, including those self-imposed by the university, are a three-year probation, a ban on postseason baseball competition, scholarship reductions, a vacation of wins, recruiting restrictions and limitations on coaching activity during practice.

In the appeal, the university argued that three of the violations were secondary, rather than major, including coaching staff limits and paying student-athletes for work not performed. Under NCAA legislation, secondary violations are violations that are isolated or inadvertent; provide only minimal recruiting or competitive advantage and do not include any significant recruiting inducement or extra impermissible benefit. All other violations are considered major violations.

In addition, the university asserted that the three-year probation and postseason competition ban were excessive such that they constituted an abuse of discretion by the NCAA Division I Committee on Infractions.

The Infractions Appeals Committee found the penalties imposed by the Committee on Infractions were justified based on the facts of the violations and because of the university’s repeat violator status. Additionally, the Infractions Appeals Committee noted that even though it reduced one violation from major to secondary, there was sufficient basis for all of the penalties imposed by the Committee on Infractions.

In considering the university’s appeal, the Infractions Appeals Committee reviewed the notice of appeal; the transcript of the university’s Committee on Infractions hearing; and the submissions by both the university and the Committee on Infractions.

The Infractions Appeals Committee may overturn a finding of a violation if it is contrary to the evidence, does not constitute a violation of NCAA rules, or due to a procedural error.  A penalty by the Committee on Infractions may be set aside on appeal if the penalty is excessive such that it constituted an abuse of discretion by the Committee on Infractions.

The members of the Infractions Appeals Committee who heard this case were: Christopher L. Griffin, Foley & Lardner LLP, chair; Jack Friedenthal, professor of law at George Washington University; Susan Cross Lipnickey, health studies professor and the faculty athletics representative at Miami University (Ohio); and Patti Ohlendorf, vice president for legal affairs at University of Texas at Austin.

Learn more about the Enforcement process here.