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Richmond Times Dispatch (Virginia)


CHARLOTTESVILLE - The NCAA has fined the University of Virginia athletics department $5,000 and accepted the school's self-imposed penalties for recruiting violations committed last year by the football program, according to a statement released by the school Friday.

On May 10, 2016, U.Va. self-reported 32 incidents of "impermissible contacts" between U.Va. assistant coaches and prospects over a two-week period between the end of April 2016 and the first week of May 2016.

The violations, according to the school, involved assistant football coaches, who, "after a brief greeting, engaging with prospects to take a photograph." Because of the number of violations, it was a Level II infraction, according to the statement.

That action, according to NCAA bylaws, was deemed "contact beyond the standard greeting and a violations of NCAA bylaw Period, bylaw - Time Period for Off-Campus Contacts and bylaw Calendars-Football," according to the statement.

The coaches who committed the violations were not named by Virginia.

"I am disappointed these actions occurred during engagements with prospects and resulted in violations," coach Bronco Mendenhall said in the statement. "It is incumbent upon everyone associated with our program to have a complete understanding of the NCAA bylaws and interpretations, and it's my responsibility to ensure that happens. We have already taken steps with our compliance staff to improve our training and rules education to ensure we meet that standard. It is our goal to operate at the highest level of compliance to support the University and positively represent our students, faculty, staff, alumni, supporters and community."

Virginia, after self-reporting the violations, worked with the NCAA enforcement staff to review the matter.

The NCAA has imposed the following penalties and accepted Virginia's self-imposed sanctions.

Virginia's statement detailed the following self-imposed penalties:

Public reprimand and $5,000 fine (standard NCAA penalties for Level II violations)Reduction from six to four off-campus contacts for those prospects with whom coaches took photographsReduction of spring 2017 evaluations from 168 to 150Additional rules education for the football staff as to what is deemed an impermissible contact

"I believe we have established a positive culture of compliance regarding the NCAA bylaws and Coach Mendenhall's response, cooperation with the NCAA and steps to move forward following these violations confirms that commitment," said Virginia athletics director Craig Littlepage. "This is a reminder to all of our programs of the level of diligence required regarding our dedication to compliance. We are committed to abiding by all NCAA rules, and I expect our entire athletics department to operate with that goal in mind."

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April 8, 2017


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