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Utah reports 99 NCAA violations since 2010 — most of them minor

Published June 12, 2014 9:58 pm

Utah athletics • List of compliance problems since 2010 shows that most were minor.
This is an archived article that was published on sltrib.com in 2014, and information in the article may be outdated. It is provided only for personal research purposes and may not be reprinted.

Play along at home. Which of the following is an NCAA violation?

1. Staff place an impermissible sticker on an envelope sent to recruits. 2. After several NCAA-kosher calls are dropped, a recruit texts a coach to say he'll call later. The coach texts back an acknowledgement. 3. A student-athlete uses her host's allowance to buy a $9.99 keychain for a recruit.

In the eyes of the U.'s compliance office, all of them.

Utah Athletics self-reported 99 violations between January 2010 and June 2014, according to a spreadsheet obtained via a records request. Almost all are in the vein of those mentioned above.

The U.'s compliance office provides advice, fights for waivers, and polices the improper mailing techniques, tweets and butt-dials that induce eye-rolling whenever this information is made public. For instance: The Oklahoman reported in February that Oklahoma self-reported that three athletes were provided "pasta in excess," at a cost of $3.83 per serving.

In the NCAA, complying is a sport of its own.

Compliance director Kate Charipar says the U. has been especially vigilant since its last major infraction in 2003. Rick Majerus' Runnin' Utes were placed on probation, their scholarships reduced, and the school was found to have had "a lack of institutional control."

"Maybe we had that major infraction in basketball, but it changed the culture in every sport," Charipar said.

The most frequent violators were football (16) and men's basketball (15) — the sports with the most scholarships and the most robust staffs.

The U. redacted the offending sport in three instances, citing privacy concerns for the student-athletes under the Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act.

"You know what, we're going to make mistakes," Charipar said. "The rulebook is huge, and it changes all the time. If we had no mistakes, that would worry me."

For most violations, penalties were mild. Athletes were ruled ineligible and then soon reinstated, and teams were docked practice or recruiting time (at a two-for-one rate). Both athletes and coaches then generally received some pointers on compliance.

Those resulting in the biggest penalties include:

May 2012 • The men's basketball staff exceeded their permissible recruiting days by 13 and saw their 2013 recruiting days cut by 26.

July 2012 • A women's track athlete transferred from a foreign institution and competed without certification. She was declared ineligible and the school was fined $5,000, the maximum allowable penalty. Charipar says there was a misunderstanding between the coaches and compliance that led to her competing without filling out mandatory paperwork. The error wasn't discovered, Charipar recollects, until review of the per diem travel for Pac-12 Championships. But it sounds more dramatic than it was, Charipar said, because "she never once scored points for us during the season."

August 2012 • A transfer volleyball player received aid while ineligible during spring and summer 2012 while ineligible. She was ordered to pay back the full amount, but the U. appealed and the payment was cut by roughly 75 percent. The fault was with a previous institution for providing misinformation, Charipar said.

March 2014 • Two volleyball players competed in a "casual event" with a previous team and will be required to sit out the first game of next season. Charipar said it was "kind of like if you show up at the club and play a pickup game."

Violations steadily rose, from 19 in 2010 to 28 in 2013, but there were just five in the first five months of 2014.

Charipar said she's not sure those four years necessarily indicate a long-term trend, but there are a number of reasons violations might become more frequent: better monitoring mechanisms — including software that has helped sort data in recent years; more staff — both to monitor and to be monitored; and the move to the Pac-12 — which invited more scrutiny.

Also, two things to bear in mind:

1. The number of self-reports may reflect a willingness to self-report as much as it does the frequency of actual transgressions.

2. For better or worse, Utah's numbers aren't outlandish compared to peers. The Lantern reported in February that Ohio State self-reported 24 violations in the second half of 2013 alone, with athletic director Gene Smith telling the paper that the school averages 40 per year.

But Charipar is careful not to say that the U. is doing well. For a compliance official, a certain level of anxiety is healthy.

"I don't have any ego in this business," Charipar said. "Because as soon as you get really high, somebody's going to knock you down. One thing I can say about compliance here is that we do the very best that we can. There is always going to be room for improvement."

Violations self-reported to the NCAA by the U. since Jan. 1, 2010

Sport redacted (3)

August 14, 2012 • Student-athlete promoted a commercial product. Sport and identity were excluded from records, with U. citing right to student privacy under FERPA. Charipar said media was interviewing a student-athlete whose family member owned a business, and the student-athlete mentioned that he uses a product the family member produces. Charipar explained that "Normally, if I hear that a student-athlete is endorsing a product, I'm going to have a panic attack, but we didn't think it was a big deal, and luckily, the NCAA agreed with us."

March 3, 2014 • Dual-sport athlete was cleared to participate in one sport, while only amateurism in other sport was certified. No reinstatement sought because athlete has since transferred.

May 28, 2014 • Student-athlete received a tuition grant from a national governing body in an individual Olympic sport. "This caused him to be an [redacted] for 13-14, making the total [redacted] roster exceed the permissible limit [redacted]. Action to be determined." Charipar was reluctant to share too many details, given that the student-athlete would be easy to identify, but that the U. has asked for no penalty to be applied. "We feel that in this very, very unique case, the violation actually did not violate the intent and rationale of the rule," she said. "But by the letter of the law, it did."

Baseball (7)

Jan. 4, 2010 • Assistant coach made three impermissible calls to prospects in 2008-09 school year.

March 18, 2010 • Assistant coach sent text messages to prospects after May 1, thinking it was OK because they'd been admitted. Rules require a room deposit before texts.

March 24, 2011 • Assistant coach called a high school junior before allowed period.

July 10, 2012 • Phone call to prospect before July 1 after his junior year.

Feb. 8, 2013 • Team practiced 90 minutes over daily limit.

July 12, 2013 • Two assistant coaches sent an email each to two prep student-athletes before Sept. 1 of their junior years.

Feb. 11, 2014 • Two assistant coaches called the same prospect in the same week.

Men's basketball (15)

Aug. 6, 2010 • On three occasions during the July evaluation period, all four coaches recruited in a single day.

Jan 6, 2011 • Head coach inadvertently texted prospective student-athlete.

May 10, 2011 • Assistant coach inadvertently texted three prospective student-athletes.

May 25, 2011 • Assistant coach wrote on a prospective student-athlete's Facebook wall.

May 27, 2011 • Assistant coach inadvertently texted a prospective student-athlete.

Nov. 10, 2011 • Director of operations participated in coaching activities during practice.

Jan. 11, 2012 • Director of personnel participated in coaching activities during practice.

March 14, 2012 • Texting violation.

March 21, 2012 • Texting violation.

March 27, 2012 • Team allowed three student-athletes who were ineligible for competition (due to serving an academic year in residence) to travel with the team for competition.

April 13, 2012 • Staff provided family of prospective student-athletes complimentary admission at away USC and UCLA games. (Athlete was released from NLI and enrolled elsewhere, and thus was never reinstated.)

May 10, 2012 • Staff exceeded permissible recruiting days by 13. Recruiting days were cut by 26 the following year.

June 6, 2013 • Compliance impermissibly approved purchase of plane ticket for student to come to campus for I-20 purposes (certificate of eligibility for a nonimmigrant student).

Sept. 26, 2013 • On Aug. 27, 2013, three assistant coaches engaged in practice activities with the team at the same time.

Oct. 3, 2013 • Assistant coach allowed an incoming student-athlete to stay with him three nights before the student-athlete was able to move into dorms. Athlete was required to pay $100 to charity.

Women's basketball (5)

Jan. 27, 2011 • Assistant coach inadvertently texted a prospective student-athlete.

April 30, 2013 • Unofficial visit during dead period.

Sept. 4, 2013 • Student-athlete participated all season without having completed annual paperwork, due to administrative error.

Nov. 18, 2013 • Director of community relations posted photo to social media sites publicizing skill workouts before Sept. 15.

Oct. 31, 2013 • Team provided recruit with an unofficial visit the day before the start of a camp she was attending.

Football (16, not counting request for reinstatement after violation occurred at Utah State)

March 10, 2010 • A coach made contact with a recruit twice in the same week.

June 3, 2010 • After several dropped calls, a prospect texted a coach to say he'd call later. When the coach texted back to OK that plan, he committed a violation.

Oct. 25, 2010 • A player received a vehicle from somebody to whom he was not legally dependent. Later, an individual to whom the player was not a legal dependent co-signed for a car loan.

Jan. 19, 2011 • Assistant coach inadvertently texted prospective student-athlete.

Jan. 20, 2011 • Director of operations called a JUCO recruit to obtain information to prepare an NLI.

Feb. 10, 2011 • Two assistant coaches inadvertently texted prospective student-athletes.

Jan. 11, 2012 • Assistant coach gave a former teammate two tickets and sideline passes for Utah at USC game. Former teammate then brought a prospective student-athlete to use the other ticket and pass.

Jan. 11, 2012 • Paperwork error after a student-athlete served a drug test penalty and was not reinstated properly after testing negative.

Jan. 13, 2012 • Texting violation.

Jan. 22, 2012 • Director of operations didn't provide required transcript and test documents before a recruit's official visit.

July 13, 2012 • Student-athlete was allowed to practice despite being a nonqualifier, due to a misunderstanding of rules by eligibility coordinator. Player was not reinstated because he quit the team.

Aug. 28, 2012 • Non-recruited walk-on practiced beyond his temporary certification period without receiving final qualifier status from NCAA Eligibility Center.

Undated (decision coming Oct. 11) • Student-athlete participated in two practices without final qualifier status.

July 31, 2013 • Noninstitutional football camp held on campus during spring 2012.

Feb. 19, 2013 • Student-athlete tweeted about recruit.

Undated (2013) • Assistant coach mistakenly tweeted at prospect while trying to send a direct message.

July 1, 2013 (USU)/August 2, 2013 • Utah State submitted a violation for allowing a student-athlete to accept $1,250 in impermissible outside aid. After athlete transferred to Utah in summer of 2013, Utah requested and received reinstatement.

Sept. 10, 2013 • Staff sent envelopes to recruits containing impermissible sticker.

Golf (1)

Nov. 11, 2012 • Phone call violation and contact violation.

Gymnastics (4)

Sept. 12, 2011 • Texting violation.

Dec. 12, 2011 • Two coaches sent impermissible postcards to prospects and a club coach.

Nov. 1, 2012 • Assistant coach had off-campus, face-to-face contact with a prospective student-athlete's father prior to permissible period.

Oct. 29, 2012 • Assistant coach unknowingly called prospect before receiving permission.

Skiing (2)

Sept. 16, 2010 • For four years, coaches paid for a service that allowed student-athletes to log summer practice and training activities.

June 9, 2011 • Head coach inadvertently texted a prospective student-athlete.

Soccer (10)

Sept. 29, 2010 • Head coach sent out an email to high school junior prospective student athletes on Aug. 31, 2010, one day earlier than allowed.

March 7, 2011 • Head coach called a prospective student-athlete more than once in a week.

June 2-3, 2011 • Head coach hosted unofficial visits for recruits after reporting for competition in the locale of the institution.

Aug. 18, 2011 • Four student-athletes received discounts on soccer cleats from three retailers. They had to repay the difference to charity.

Aug. 18, 2011 • A student-athlete received a free meal for her status on the soccer team.

Nov. 14, 2011 • Student-athlete spent $7.29 on prospective student-athlete during official visit.

Nov. 14, 2011 • Assistant coach provided three private lessons to a prospective student-athlete.

Oct. 25, 2012 • Texting violation.

Feb. 8, 2013 • Emailed prospective student-athlete impermissibly.

Feb. 8, 2013 • Student-athlete participated in practice while ineligible.

Softball (4)

March 17, 2010 • Coach allowed student-athletes and their families to purchase apparel from a commercial entity at a wholesale rate as part of a fundraiser which was not appropriately advertised to the general public.

June 2, 2010 • Assistant coach sent a text message to a recruit during official visit, thinking unlimited calls policy applied to texts.

Nov. 7, 2010 • Twice, prospective student-athletes exceeded the 48-hour limit of their official visits by an hour and a half.

Oct. 1, 2013 • Coach sent reply text to 2015 prospective student-athlete before Sept. 1.

Strength and conditioning (1)

Sept. 9, 2010 • Strength coach provided private instruction to a prospective student-athlete in the summer after ninth grade.

Swimming (7)

March 8, 2012 • Parent of student-athlete used the pool during practice without paying fee required of general public.

May 30, 2012 • Impermissible athletics activity during final exam period.

Jan. 10, 2013 • Assistant coach held practice 10 minutes longer than permissible.

April 19, 2013 • Handful of student-athletes not given day off in week before spring break due to confusion about vacation period rules.

June 4, 2013 • Coach contacted prospective student-athlete who had signed with another institution by email and by phone.

Nov. 12, 2013 • Eligibility coordinator did not place potential student-athlete on institutions request list before official visit.

Feb. 11, 2014 • Student-athletes exceeded athletically related activities limitations by 15-20 minutes.

Men's tennis (3)

June 25, 2010 • Assistant coach called a prospect twice in the same week.

July 10, 2012 • Phone call to prospect ahead prior to July 1 after their junior year.

July 17, 2013 • Coach contacted potential transfer before receiving permission.

Women's tennis (7)

March 4, 2010 • Head coach made two impermissible calls on Dec. 27 and Dec. 29 in 2009.

Sept. 30, 2010 • Head coached texted a prospective student-athlete before NLI signing.

Aug. 3, 2011 • Texting violation.

Sept. 12, 2011 • Financial aid tender did not have signature line for financial aid authority.

April 19, 2013 • Coach scouted during away trip.

April 19, 2013 • Team departed more than 48 hours before away match.

August 12, 2013 • Coach impermissibly purchased meal for student-athlete.

Women's track (5)

Oct. 1, 2010 • Associate head coach called high school junior prospective student-athlete eight months before it was permissible.

Jan. 1, 2012 • Student-athlete used host money to purchase a keychain valued at $9.99 for a prospective student-athlete.

July 10, 2012 • A transfer student-athlete from a foreign institution competed without certification. She was declared ineligible and withheld from practice and competition, and the school was fined $5,000 for contests athlete participated in while ineligible.

Oct. 1, 2013 • Volunteer impermissibly paid for admission ($5) to local soccer match for two student-athletes.

Nov. 6, 2013 • Head coach called recruit before it was permissible, apparently confused because the recruit was in Australia and had a different academic calendar.

Volleyball (9)

April 5, 2010 • Assistant coach inadvertently made face-to-face contact with a recruit before July 1 after her junior year of high school.

April 16, 2010 • Assistant coach inadvertently texted a recruit prior to signing NLI.

Sept. 26, 2010 • Coaches didn't give student-athletes required day off during week of Sept. 20-26, 2010.

Oct. 24, 2011 • Assistant coach sent electronic correspondence through a software system two days before permissible opportunity.

March 26, 2012 • Head coach posted an article to Facebook about a prospect whose mother played volleyball at Utah.

Aug. 28, 2012 • Transfer received aid for spring and summer 2012 after being ineligible. NCAA's Danielle Ghiloni required full repayment, and records show the U. intended to appeal.

Undated (2013) • Coach mistakenly called sophomore prep back after she had called coach to say she'd signed with another school.

Nov. 5, 2013 • Staff publicized verbal commitment of recruit through social media before signing of NLI.

March 11, 2014 • Two student-athletes competed in an event with their previous team at a "casual event," thinking they had permission. Compliance never gave final approval. Athletes will have to sit out "first scheduled event in championship segment."


Twitter: @matthew_piper —

Violations, by year

2010 • 19

2011 • 22

2012 • 25

2013 • 28 —

Violations, by sport

Football • 16

Basketball • 15

Soccer • 10

Volleyball • 9

Swimming • 7

Women's tennis • 7

Baseball • 7

Women's basketball • 5

Women's track • 5

Softball • 4

Gymnastics • 4

Men's tennis • 3

Skiing • 2

Golf • 1

Strength and conditioning • 1






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