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Georgia Tech Women's Basketball Committed Violations

The Georgia Tech women's basketball program committed practice and coaching limit violations, according to a decision released by a Division I Committee on Infractions hearing panel. Additionally, the former women's basketball head coach violated head coach responsibility rules and a former women's basketball assistant coach failed to meet his obligation to participate in an investigation.

The panel concluded that over the course of three academic years, the women's basketball program routinely required student-athletes to participate in countable athletically related activities that exceeded daily and weekly limits. Further, the women's basketball staff did not provide student-athletes with required days off.

Each week, the director of women's basketball operations provided student-athletes with the practice schedule. However, a former women's basketball assistant coach would notify student-athletes on the day before or day of practice that the schedule had changed, frequently requiring the team to report to practice early. Additionally, according to multiple student-athletes, the team was regularly required to practice an hour or more longer than scheduled. Other members of the athletics department staff confirmed that the team exceeded scheduled practice hours. 

The director of women's basketball operations submitted practice logs that tracked countable athletically related activities for each student-athlete to compliance based on the scheduled or anticipated practice time. Because she did not attend practices, those reports did not account for overages when the team arrived early or practiced longer than scheduled. 

The reports to compliance also reflected that each student-athlete practiced an identical amount of time. However, multiple student-athletes reported that additional practice time was required for some players. For example, one player was required to attend additional morning workouts multiple times per week as a punishment for being late, but those workouts were not counted in the reports provided to compliance. Women's basketball student-athletes reported that they approved practice logs before they were sent to compliance, even though they knew the logs were incorrect, because they feared the head coach would retaliate if they did not.

The panel found that in addition to exceeding countable athletically related activities, women's basketball staff required student-athletes to participate in athletically related activities — with coaches present — on scheduled and required days off. On some occasions, a former women's basketball assistant coach and the team's graduate managers facilitated on-court practices on the scheduled days off. 

These workouts violated NCAA rules because coaches were present and because student-athletes believed the workouts were mandatory. This perception was furthered by the team's use of shot-tracking technology during workouts on scheduled days off, which identified who participated in shooting sessions. Those tracking data were printed and provided to the former head coach at her request.

According to the decision, the former head coach also allowed graduate assistants to provide skills instruction to student-athletes during extra workout sessions, regular practices and occasional competitions. This resulted in the program exceeding the maximum number of allowable countable coaches. Though the former head coach denied instructing the graduate managers to engage in coaching activities, she acknowledged she was aware that they provided skills instruction.

The panel concluded that the former women's basketball head coach violated head coach responsibility legislation when she did not promote an atmosphere of compliance because of her personal involvement in the violations and because she did not monitor her staff's involvement.  Among other considerations, the panel observed that there was a tense and strained relationship between the former head coach and the compliance office, with student-athletes reporting that they were told not to trust or communicate with compliance and the senior woman administrator.

The panel also concluded that a former women's basketball assistant coach violated ethical conduct rules when he failed to meet his obligation to participate in the investigation after he resigned, at which point he declined multiple requests from the school and NCAA enforcement staff to participate in interviews. 

Finally, based on the available facts, the infractions panel could not conclude the enforcement staff's allegation that the former women's basketball head coach had provided impermissible benefits in the form of cash payments to two student-athletes, because information provided by those student- athletes was not consistent and sometimes contradictory.

The committee classified the case as Level II-standard for the school and the former women's basketball head coach, and Level I-aggravated for the former women's basketball assistant coach. The committee used the Division I membership-approved infractions penalty guidelines to prescribe the following measures: 

  • Three years of probation to run consecutive to the current probationary period. 
  • A $5,000 fine plus 1% of the budget for the women's basketball program.
  • A one-year show-cause order for the former head coach, including a suspension from 15% of regular-season contests at any school that employs her in the first season following the show-cause order.
  • A five-year show-cause order for the former assistant coach.
  • A comprehensive compliance review of Georgia Tech's athletics department by an outside agency with athletics compliance expertise.

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 Greg Christopher, vice president for administration and director of athletics at Xavier; Steven Madva, attorney in private practice; Joel Maturi, chief hearing officer for the panel and former director of athletics at Minnesota; Kay Norton, president emerita of Northern Colorado; Dave Roberts, special assistant to the athletics director at Southern California; and E. Thomas Sullivan, president emeritus of Vermont.

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