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Tennis Program on NCAA Probation for Improper Benefits

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Chattanooga Times Free Press (Tennessee)

 

The University of Tennessee at Chattanooga men's tennis program self-imposed a number of violations to the NCAA and has received two years of probation.

The allegations center around extra benefits received by UTC student-athletes from a booster, who provided reduced-cost rent and the use of automobiles to 12 former athletes, as well as treating athletes to meals on 11 occasions and once provided transportation to an amusement park.

The release said the circumstances surrounding those violations also supported a responsibility violation for former coach Carlos Garcia, as well at UTC's failure to monitor -- all Level II violations, which are considered a "significant breach of conduct."

UTC agreed that it failed to monitor the student-athletes' housing arrangements, which enabled the impermissible arrangements to continue over a four-year period.

Garcia resigned after the 2016-17 season (not related to the investigation) and was replaced by Chuck Merzbacher.

"The announcement from the NCAA regarding our men's tennis program is a situation that we have known about for some time," UTC vice chancellor and athletic director Mark Wharton said in a release. "The violations were discovered prior to my arrival at UTC, and as reported by the NCAA, were immediately and properly reported through our compliance office. UTC fully cooperated with the NCAA throughout the investigation.

"No current coaches or student-athletes were involved with this report, and corrective action has been taken to ensure better monitoring of off-campus housing arrangements for our student-athletes to help us continue our compliance with NCAA regulations.

"Everyone involved with UTC athletics is committed to maintaining an atmosphere of compliance with all NCAA rules and regulations. We are using this as a chance to learn and improve our compliance processes."

In addition to the two-year probationary period, UTC was assessed a $5,000 fine and a reduction of scholarships. The female booster who provided the extra benefits has to be disassociated with the program for a period of four years.

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March 28, 2018
 
 
 

 

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