July 28, 2014

Eastern Michigan University and NCAA agree on final resolution of University's Sept. 2010 self-initiated investigation of women's basketball program

by Walter Kraft, Published November 08, 2012

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YPSILANTI -  Eastern Michigan University and the NCAA have come to a final resolution of the University's self-initiated investigation of its women's basketball program that was announced in Sept. 2010. As part of the agreement, the NCAA accepted the self-imposed sanctions that Eastern Michigan instituted at the time of the initial announcement, and added four additional penalties.

The NCAA's Summary Disposition Report and its news release about the resolution of this matter can be found at www.emich.edu/ncaa_violations. The site also includes other background materials, including links to Eastern's Sept. 2010 internal investigation report and self-imposed penalties.

"Eastern has cooperated fully with the NCAA during this two-year process," said Dr. Derrick Gragg, Eastern Michigan University Director of Intercollegiate Athletics. "When we first learned of the allegations two years ago, we immediately began an internal investigation, the findings of which we self reported to the NCAA along with our self-imposed penalties. Additionally, since that time, we have voluntarily implemented many processes and procedures that have significantly strengthened our compliance and tracking processes across all of our athletic programs. The NCAA has positively recognized these efforts.

"The actions taken ensure a more disciplined compliance process and an overall improved system for monitoring practice time and continuing our focus on the well being and success of our student athletes."

The four additional penalties imposed by the NCAA are:

1)    Public reprimand and censure.

2)    An additional two years of probation effective October 1, 2012. (Eastern initially placed itself on two years of probation at the time of the Sept. 2010 announcement.)

3)    A limitation to seven official recruiting visits for the 2012-13 academic year. (Eastern had limited itself to 10 official visits in the 2010-11 and 2011-12 academic years - maximum allowed is 12. Eastern averaged seven visits annually during the period of 2008-09 through 2011-12.)

4)    Outside of the 2012-2013 playing season, the team will be limited to a maximum of four hours per week of countable athletically related activities. (Maximum allowed is eight hours.) During the playing season, the team shall not exceed three hours per day in countable athletically related activities and is limited to 18 hours per week. (The maximum allowed is four hours per day and 20 hours per week.) The new limits exceed Eastern's self-imposed limits of 14 hours per week during the fall semester of the 2010-2011 academic year and 15 hours per week in the spring semester of the 2010-2011 academic year. Additionally, Eastern had already self-imposed a mandatory two-days off during the conference season. 

Six areas of violations were identified as part of the University's internal investigation and the NCAA's investigation, covering a period from 2007-2010. These include exceeding practice hour limitations; violations regarding participation in weight training and conditioning in addition to basketball activities; violations regarding prospective student athletes participating in organized workouts; exceeding preseason and postseason activity limits; failure of former Coach AnnMarie Gilbert to promote an atmosphere of compliance; and, the athletic department's failure to adequately monitor the women's basketball program to ensure compliance with time limits and athletically related activities.

The NCAA's Summary Disposition Report highlights Eastern's proactive investigative approach and corrective actions, stating on page D-2: "...throughout the course of the investigation, and as a result of the overall infractions case, the institution has taken corrective actions and has self-imposed penalties that it believes are meaningful to help prevent future violations and account for the circumstances and severity of the violations. More importantly, the institution sought to impose penalties that are consistent with the expectations of the Committee in a case of this nature." (The full Summary Disposition Report and additional background materials including Eastern's initial self-report can be found at www.emich.edu/ncaa_violations.)

Details of the corrective actions taken by EMU are reported on pages F-1, F-2 and F-3 of the Summary Disposition Report:

  • Mandatory educational sessions for women's basketball staff and strength and conditioning staff members wherein the director of athletics reinforces the seriousness of the requirement to meet all NCAA legislation concerning countable athletically related activities.
  • Women's basketball required to submit detailed practice schedules to compliance staff each week. Compliance staff continues to spot check practices/voluntary workouts for all teams.
  • Women's basketball required to submit countable athletically related activities (CARA) forms on a weekly basis, with signatures from all student-athletes on the team to verify accuracy.
  • Tutor/academic advisor travels with women's basketball team to ensure at least three hours of mandatory study time per day while the team is on the road.
  • Bi-monthly meetings implemented between the academic support staff and the head women's basketball coach.
  • Athletic trainer for women's basketball requited to sign-off on weekly CARA forms.

In addition, since the initial corrective actions that were made in response to the discovery of the violations, Eastern Michigan has made the following enhancements to its compliance and monitoring systems.

First, specific to women's basketball:

  • A compliance staff member traveled to all away competitions with the women's basketball team during the 2010-11 season.
  • The senior woman administrator traveled with the women's basketball team to more than half of all away competitions during the 2011-12 season.
  • Women's basketball student-athletes and former staff were required to sign and date their "check-in" and "check-out" of all countable athletically-related activities during the 2012 winter term (2012 conference season).

With regard to all sports programs, Eastern Michigan has:

  • Added a full-time assistant compliance coordinator for monitoring to ensure implementation of all Eastern Michigan's compliance policies and procedures.
  • Added a part-time compliance graduate assistant to serve as a direct complement to, and resource for, the assistant compliance coordinator for monitoring.
  • Purchased and implemented the ACS Athletics InControl monitoring software to enhance student athlete information management.
  • Student-athletes now receive a request to digitally sign-off and approve countable athletically related activities without coaches' involvement and with the ability to comment on each week.
  • Student-athletes may also now be reached en masse via email or text with rules education or other important updates.
  • Purchased and implemented ACS Athletics Athletic Advantage compliance education software for online rules education.
  • Provided digital and video education curriculum to all student-athletes on all areas of NCAA compliance with the ability to monitor completion and material understanding.
  • Subscribed to "Conduct Coach" smart phone application for all student athletes and coaches. Conduct Coach simplifies and explains the answers to basic NCAA rules in all areas of Bylaws 10 through 17 of the NCAA manual and also includes basic legal guidance for college age students.
  • Required that all team practice and competition schedules be submitted for publication on the athletics department calendar. Late changes (within 48 hours of practice time) must be approved via form by the given sport administrator.
  • Implemented the "Compliance Playing and Practice Intern Program." The program uses sports management graduate and undergraduate interns to attend Eastern Michigan's practices and competitions and file reports regarding a wide variety of playing and practice issues. The interns undergo extensive compliance training specific to playing and practice seasons, coaching staff limitations, eligibility, the ACS database and the forms to be filed. Interns are then scheduled to attend practices and competitions and file detailed reports from each practice or competition they attend.
  • All "revenue" sports (men's and women's basketball and football) participate in individual monthly rules education (instead of attending only rules education for all sports). The objective is to specially design rules education for those teams with sport-specific rules concerning playing and practice seasons.
  • Expanded the exit interview process to two components to detect student athlete compliance questions and concerns (among other items). All responses will be reviewed by the faculty athletics representative and all members of the athletics department senior staff.
  • All student-athletes are required to attend a session near the conclusion of their competitive season in which they will report to a computer lab and complete a student-athlete experience survey.
  • Exiting senior student-athletes are requested to meet with their sport administrator in "focus groups" to discuss the experience survey and other items of particular interest during their time as a student-athlete at Eastern Michigan.
  • Implemented Daily Compliance Education emails and monthly compliance newsletter (Eagles' Eye) for athletics staff and interested parties.

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Geoff Larcom

glarcom@emich.edu

734.487.4400

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