NCAA Disciplines Kentucky State for Ineligible Football Player

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A former Kentucky State president directed athletics department staff to improperly certify the eligibility of a former football student-athlete so he could compete for an additional season, according to an agreement released by the Division II Committee on Infractions. As a result, that student-athlete competed while ineligible, and the school lacked institutional control over its eligibility certification process.

The NCAA enforcement staff, the university and the former president agreed that the violations occurred after the school determined that a football student-athlete had exhausted his eligibility after 10 full semesters of collegiate enrollment. When the student-athlete was informed that his eligibility had been exhausted, he became agitated and punched the wall, which led athletics department staff to contact university police. Following that incident, the university president emailed the athletics department and instructed them to "correct" the student-athlete's eligibility issues. The school submitted a waiver request, and the former president then called a meeting during which he pressured athletics staff to certify the student-athlete's eligibility. After that meeting, the former athletics director withdrew the waiver request, thinking the university president had assumed responsibility for the eligibility certification. Later, and based on the former president's direction, the school improperly certified the student-athlete and knowingly permitted him to participate in competition. 

As a result, the student-athlete went on to compete in eight games and received actual and necessary expenses while ineligible.

The university and enforcement staff also agreed that the university lacked institutional control and failed to monitor its athletics program when the president instructed the athletics department staff to deviate from its established eligibility certification process and failed to monitor the student-athlete's eligibility.

The enforcement staff concluded that the former athletics director was not included in the violations due to the totality of the circumstances, including the direction from the former president and the compliance officer's safety concerns following the eligibility encounter with the student-athlete.

This case was processed through the negotiated resolution process. The process was used instead of a formal hearing or summary disposition because the university, the former president and the enforcement staff agreed on the violations and the penalties. The Division II Committee on Infractions reviewed the case to determine whether the resolution was in the best interests of the Association and whether the agreed-upon penalties were reasonable. Negotiated resolutions may not be appealed and do not set case precedent for other infractions cases.

The enforcement staff and university agreed on the following penalties and corrective measures:

  • Two years of probation.
  • A $2,000 fine.
  • A vacation of records of contests in which the student-athlete participated while ineligible.
  • A two-year show-cause order for the former president, during which time he will be prohibited from any involvement in eligibility certification for student-athletes.
  • An external audit or review of Kentucky State's compliance program and certification and eligibility processes during the probationary period.

Members of the Committee on Infractions are drawn from NCAA member schools and conferences and members of the public. The committee members who reviewed this case are Jessica Chapin, athletics director at American International; David Hansburg, athletics director at Colorado School of Mines; John David Lackey, Division II Committee on Infractions chair and attorney in private practice; Richard Loosbrock, faculty athletics representative and history professor at Adams State; Melissa Reilly, senior woman administrator and associate commissioner at the East Coast Conference; Leslie Schuemann, senior woman administrator/deputy commissioner at the Great Midwest Athletic Conference; and Jason Sobolik, assistant athletics director for compliance and student services at Minnesota State University Moorhead.

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