NCAA Cites Manhattan College for 26 Student-Athlete Eligibility Violations

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Over four academic years, Manhattan College improperly certified eligibility for 26 student-athletes across six sports, according to an agreement released by the Division I Committee on Infractions. Additional violations occurred in the softball program when a former assistant coach recruited prospects without completing a mandatory recruiting exam and later refused to cooperate with an investigation. Finally, because the head coach learned of the improper recruiting but did not address it, the head coach was found to have failed to set a proper tone of compliance.  

The school and enforcement staff agreed that the school did not adequately maintain its eligibility certification program, resulting in confusion about whether responsibility for the academic certification program rested with athletics academic advisors or athletics compliance officers. The confusion led to improper certification for 26 student-athletes across six sports  â€”baseball, softball, men's golf, men's track and field, men's basketball and men's soccer – and resulted in 32 violations of amateurism certification, progress-toward-degree requirements and transfer rules. Of the improperly certified student-athletes, most impermissibly received actual and necessary expenses while ineligible and some impermissibly received scholarships while ineligible. Seven of the student-athletes were not withheld from competition and went on to compete in 521 contests while ineligible.  The inadequate certification program and the underlying improper certifications also demonstrated Manhattan failed to monitor the certification of its student-athletes. 

While investigating the certification violations, the school also determined that a former softball assistant coach engaged in off-campus recruiting activities with the softball head coach before the assistant had successfully completed a coaches' certification exam. The school, enforcement staff and softball head coach agreed that the head coach became aware that the assistant had not completed the exam but did not remove him from recruiting trips and did not report the violation to compliance. Because she allowed the assistant to continue to recruit and did not report the violations, the parties agreed that the head coach violated head coach responsibility rules. 

The parties agreed that an additional violation occurred when the former softball assistant coach provided a private lesson to a softball prospect prior to her junior year of high school, which violated recruiting contact rules. The head coach learned of this violation and immediately reported it to compliance. 

Finally, the school and the enforcement staff also agreed that because he did not participate in interviews with the school or with enforcement staff, the former assistant coach did not meet his obligation to cooperate with an investigation.

This case was processed through the negotiated resolution process. The process was used instead of a formal hearing or summary disposition because the university, enforcement staff and the softball head coach agreed on the violations and the penalties. The Division I 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 university, enforcement staff and softball head coach used ranges identified by the Division I membership-approved infractions penalty guidelines to agree upon Level II-standard penalties for the university and softball head coach and Level I-aggravated penalties for the former softball assistant coach. The decision contains the full list of penalties as approved by the Committee on Infractions, including:

  • Two years of probation.
  • A $5,000 fine.
  • A suspension for the softball head coach from the first two nonconference home games of the 2024 season.
  • A 16-day prohibition against all softball recruiting activities during the June/July 2023 contact period.
  • A five-year show-cause order for the former assistant coach. During that period, any NCAA member school employing him should restrict him from all athletically related responsibilities.
  • A vacation of all records in which the student-athlete competed while ineligible. The university must provide a written report containing the contests impacted to the NCAA media coordination and statistics staff within 14 days of the public release of the decision. 

In addition to the penalties and as a corrective action, Manhattan identified that it would allocate roughly $120,000 to enhance its compliance program, including creating a new compliance position and funding additional educational opportunities.   

Members of the Committee on Infractions are drawn from the NCAA membership and members of the public. The members of the panel who reviewed this case are Gary Miller, president at Akron and chief hearing officer for the panel; Joe Novak, former football head coach at Northern Illinois; and Dave Roberts, special advisor to Southern California. 

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