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DePaul Basketball Slammed with Three-Year Probation

Andy Berg

DePaul’s men’s basketball coach Dave Leitao will serve a three-game suspension and the program will be placed on three years of probation for a recruiting violation.

Leitao violated ethical conduct rules when he knowingly directed the former assistant director of basketball operations to provide impermissible recruiting benefits to a recruit, according to a Division I Committee on Infractions panel which reviewed the matter. The committee also said Leitao violated NCAA head coach responsibility rules when he did not stop or prevent violations from occurring in his program.

A statement on the NCAA’s website explains that the student Leitao recruited had graduated from high school but didn’t yet meet NCAA eligibility requirements. To help ensure the necessary coursework was completed, the committee said a former associate head coach arranged for the assistant director of basketball operations to live with the prospect. The assistant director of basketball operations did not complete the prospect’s coursework, but he monitored the recruit’s progress, limited his extracurricular activities and ensured tests were taken.

The situation amounted to an impermissible recruiting benefit. The arrangement also involved impermissible recruiting contact, which caused the men’s basketball program to exceed the number of allowable coaches.  

Leitao was charged with not promoting an atmosphere of compliance, while the the director of basketball operations stated he knew the contact was a violation but did not report it because he did not want to be disloyal, cause tension, get in the way of the associate head coach or otherwise hurt his career. 

According to the statement, the committee used the Division I membership-approved infractions penalty guidelines to prescribe the following measures:

  • Three years of probation.
  • Suspension of the head coach from the first three regular-season games of the 2019-20 season.
  • A three-year show-cause order for the former associate head coach. During that period, any NCAA member school employing him must restrict him from any athletically related duties unless it shows cause why the restrictions should not apply.
  • A vacation of records in which the men’s basketball 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 45 days of the public decision release.
  • Recruiting restrictions, including:
    • A reduction of six men’s basketball recruiting-person days during the 2017-18 academic year (self-imposed by the university).
    • A reduction of six men’s basketball recruiting-person days in April 2019 (self-imposed by the university).
  • A $5,000 fine, plus 1% of the men’s basketball program budget.

The members of the panel who reviewed this case are Norman Bay, attorney in private practice; Jody Conradt, special assistant to athletics and retired head women’s basketball coach at Texas; Jason Leonard, executive director of athletics compliance at Oklahoma; Joel Maturi, former Minnesota athletics director; David Roberts, chief hearing officer for this panel, senior administrator at Southern California and vice chair of the Committee on Infractions; Sarah Wake, associate general counsel and associate vice president for equity at Northwestern.

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