Former Clark Atlanta men’s basketball head coach provided inadmissible benefits

A former Clark Atlanta men’s basketball head coach provided more than $1,000 in impermissible benefits to the fathers of two men’s basketball student-athletes, according to a decision released by the Division II Violations Committee of the NCAA. Due to the head coach‘s direct involvement in the violations, he failed to promote an atmosphere of compliance and broke head coach liability rules.

According to the decision, enforcement staff, the school and the head coach agreed that the head coach provided impermissible benefits when he wrote checks to the fathers of two student-athletes. In both cases, the funds were withdrawn from a non-profit organization founded and run by the former head coach.

The check given to a student-athlete’s father for $591 was a reimbursement for the student-athlete’s textbooks for one semester, although his partial scholarship did not cover the books. The check given to the father of the second student-athlete, in the amount of $475, was a reimbursement of this student-athlete’s registration fees. The head coach mistakenly believed that he could reimburse this registration fee through his foundation as long as he declared the reimbursement as a donation to the school. As a result of the violations, the two student-athletes competed in a total of 24 competitions and continued to receive actual and necessary expenses while ineligible.

Due to the head coach’s personal involvement in the violations, he failed to promote an atmosphere of compliance and thus violated the head coach liability rules.

The case was resolved through a cooperative summary decision, a process where the parties involved collectively submit the case to the committee in written form. All participating parties must agree to the facts of the case for this process to be used instead of a formal hearing. The university and the head coach have accepted the penalties and cannot appeal.

The committee prescribed the following sanctions and corrective measures:

  • One year probation.
  • A fine of $3,500.
  • A one-year vindication order for the former head coach. During this period, any NCAA member school that employs him must justify why he should not have restrictions on sports-related activities.
  • A record-breaking vacancy in which student-athletes competed while ineligible. The university must provide a written report containing the impacted contests to the NCAA’s media and statistics coordination staff within 14 days of the release of the public decision.

Members of the Infraction Committee are drawn from NCAA members and members of the public. The members who have reviewed this case are Jessica Chapin, director of sports at American International; David Hansburg, director of athletics at the Colorado School of Mines; John David Lackey, chairman of the Division II Offenses Committee and attorney in private practice; Richard Loosbrock, athletics faculty representative and history professor at Adams State; Melissa Reilly, senior administrator and associate commissioner at the East Coast Conference; Leslie Schuemann, senior administrator and senior associate commissioner at the Great Midwest Athletic Conference; and Jason Sobolik, assistant athletic director for compliance and student services at Moorhead, Minnesota State University.

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