Florida A&M University lacked institutional control and did not monitor its athletics program, resulting in systemic underlying certification violations, according to an NCAA Division I Committee on Infractions panel.

The committee found the university lacked control in five ways when it failed to adequately monitor and control the athletics certification process; properly apply academic certification legislation; sufficiently involve staff members outside the athletics department in the certification of student-athletes; withhold ineligible student-athletes from travel and competition; and detect and report the violations.

The committee found the university lacked control in five ways when it failed to adequately monitor and control the athletics certification process; properly apply academic certification legislation; sufficiently involve staff members outside the athletics department in the certification of student-athletes; withhold ineligible student-athletes from travel and competition; and detect and report the violations.

According to the committee, the university improperly certified 93 student-athletes on 162 occurrences in 12 sports. The university certified student-athletes as eligible when they failed to fulfill required credit hours, did not complete required percentages of their degree by designated times, did not meet minimum GPA requirements and/or failed to meet transfer requirements or exceptions. It also failed to certify a student-athlete’s amateurism status and allowed another student-athlete to compete after the student-athlete had exhausted all seasons of competition.

This is the university’s third case involving certification issues in the past 19 years. 

The committee used the Division I membership-approved infractions penalty guidelines for a Level I-Aggravated case to prescribe the following measures:

  • Five years of years of probation.
  • A self-imposed 2019-20 postseason ban for football, baseball, men’s basketball, men’s track and field, women’s basketball and volleyball.
  • A vacation of records in which student-athletes competed while ineligible. The university must provide a written report containing the contests impacted to the NCAA media coordination and statistics staff within 45 days of the public decision release.
  • A reduction in scholarships by 10% for each of the following programs during the 2019-20 academic year: baseball, men’s basketball, men’s track and field, women’s basketball and volleyball.
  • A reduction in scholarships by 10% for the football program during the 2019-20 and 2020-21 academic years.
  • Recruiting restrictions for all sport programs during the 2019-20 and 2020-21 academic years. The public report contains specific detail on Page 16.
  • A $5,000 fine plus 3 percent of the total athletics budget.

"The panel recognizes that Florida A&M has faced resource limitations and significant turnover in high-level athletics leadership positions," the COI said in its decision. "Those challenges, however, do not excuse the university's inability to establish and maintain core compliance operations and meet fundamental obligations of NCAA membership."

Paul Steinbach is Senior Editor of Athletic Business.