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EMU women’s basketball self-reports NCAA violations

September 27, 2010

According to announcements made by the university this morning, EMU self-reported four violations to the NCAA. The violations occurred during the 2009-2010 season. We’ll have more analysis of this later today, but for now, here are the basics of the story.

According to a memo from Assistant Athletics Director Dr. Melody Werner, on July 27, 2010, a member of the women’s basketball team informed the compliance department of potential violations, which triggered an investigation running from August 23 through September 17.

Violation 1: Excessive practice time.

NCAA rules limit practice time to 4 “countable hours” per day and 20 per week. Head Coach AnnMarie Gilbert’s statement indicates that she thought “countable hours” started when skill instruction began, rather than when players were required to arrive for practice.

Violation 2: Improper coach involvement in voluntary practices.

There are a variety of conditions for athletic activity to be considered voluntary. Among them, the player isn’t required to report back to a coach, and no staff member observing the activity is permitted to report back to a coach. The activity must be initiated and requested solely by the student-athlete. In 2009 and 2010, EMU women’s basketball summer workouts, which were ostensibly voluntary, violated many of the conditions set out by the NCAA. Among other things, coaches watched through windows and when student-athletes left the gym (e.g. to get water) gave instruction. Team members understood that the workouts were required by Gilbert.

Violations 3 & 4: Organized workouts for prospects.

Prospects are allowed to participate in athletic activities during campus visits, but only if the activity is not organized or observed by any member of the coaching staff, and is not designed to test the athletic abilities of the prospect. During both official and unofficial visits, coaches scheduled prospects for open gym time with current team members, escorted prospects to the practice gym, and frequently stayed to watch them practice with current team members.

The university listed several additional “areas of concern”, in which it appears that violations may have occurred.

In the fall of 2009, the university was investigating practice hours. At a team meeting led by assistant coach Darin Thrun (Gilbert was out of town at the time), “[e]vidence suggests, but does not confirm, that student-athletes were directed to give false information about the number of hours they were required to practice and the voluntary nature of practices.” Also, team activities are prohibited after games (except between rounds in a multi-event competition), and some players stated that the team was required to watch film in the evening after a game.

Athletic Director Derrick Gragg announced the following sanctions for the program:

  • Two-years probation
  • A reduction in countable athletically-related activities as follows:
    • Fall 2010: Total of 14 hours a week (-6 hours a week)
    • Winter 2011: Total of 15 hours a week (-5 hours a week)
    • Student-athletes will receive two days off weekly during the 2010-11 Mid-American Conference season
  • A reduction in the number of expense-paid recruiting visits from 12 per year to 10 per year in 2010-11 and 2011-12
  • Recreational/open gym activities for prospects prohibited for the women’s basketball program for two years
  • Additional educational sessions for the women’s basketball staff and strength and conditioning staff members (A.D. will attend to re-enforce the seriousness of the situation)
  • Detailed practice schedules submitted to Compliance Office each week; Compliance will continue to spot check practices/voluntary workouts
  • CARA forms submitted weekly, and the entire team must sign to verify accuracy
  • Tutor/Academic Advisor to travel with the team to ensure that there are at least three hours of mandatory study time per day while on the road
  • Monthly meetings between the academic support staff and the head coach has been implemented and will be increased to twice monthly

In addition, disciplinary action is being taken against the coaching staff:

AnnMarie Gilbert, Head Coach

  • Suspended without pay for one month
  • Salary freeze for 2010-11
  • Mandatory counseling during her 30-day suspension
  • Letter of Reprimand
  • Apology to team members
  • Attend NCAA Regional Rules Seminar – Pay own costs, provide full summary of all rules sessions attended to Compliance Office

Darin Thrun, Assistant Coach

  • Indefinite suspension with pay
  • Salary freeze for 2010-11
  • Letter of Reprimand
  • Attend NCAA Regional Rules Seminar – Pay own costs; provide full summary of all rules sessions attended to Compliance Office

LaTonya Tate, Assistant Coach

  • Letter of Reprimand
  • Salary freeze for 2010-11
  • Attend NCAA Regional Rules Seminar – Pay own costs; provide full summary of all rules sessions attended to Compliance Office

Megan Snow, Assistant Athletic Trainer

  • Letter of Reprimand (Failure to report suspected rules violations regarding time limitations)
  • Sign off on women’s basketball CARA (Countable Athletically Related Activities) logs for 2010-11 academic year

Blair Wagner, Assistant Strength and Conditioning Coach

  • Educational session with supervisor regarding voluntary workouts
8 Comments leave one →
  1. September 28, 2010 3:58 pm

    Isn’t this the same thing that Rich Rod is in trouble for?

    • September 28, 2010 4:06 pm

      Very similar. See this post I wrote, discussing the similarities.

Trackbacks

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  2. Correction: Thrun suspended with pay « Eagle Totem
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