Cheyney University of Pennsylvania lacked institutional control over its certification processes, according to a decision issued Thursday by the Division II Committee on Infractions.

During the 2007-08 through 2010-11 academic years, the university violated NCAA rules in the certification of initial, transfer and continuing eligibility involving all sports programs. During the four-year period, numerous student-athletes competed while ineligible due to improper certification. In amateurism certification alone, 109 student-athletes practiced, competed and received travel expenses and/or athletically related financial aid before the university received their amateurism certification status from the NCAA Eligibility Center. The committee also concluded that a former compliance director failed to monitor when she did not follow proper procedures in the certification of student-athletes’ eligibility.

PENALTIES, CORRECTIVE MEASURES
• Public reprimand and censure.
• Five years of probation from August 21, 2014 through August 20, 2019.
• Relinquished voting privileges in the NCAA for two years, beginning on August 21, 2014.
• Postseason ban for all sports during the 2013-14 academic year (self-imposed by the university).
• Vacation of all wins in which ineligible student-athletes competed during the 2007-08 through 2010-11 academic years. The public report contains further details on the vacation.
• Five-year show-cause order for the former compliance director. The public report contains further details.
• Attendance at an NCAA Regional Rules Seminar each year during probation beginning in 2015 for the athletics staff members.

Penalties include five years of probation, a postseason ban, a vacation of wins and a five-year show-cause order for the former compliance director. If the former compliance director seeks employment at an NCAA member school during her show-cause period, she and the new employing school must appear before the Committee on Infractions to determine if the school should restrict athletically related duties. Because the institution is considered a “repeat violator” due to an infractions case in 2007, it must relinquished voting privileges in the NCAA for two years.

In an instance of improper certification, six student-athletes in several sports practiced and completed in their initial year without the university completing the academic certification process through the Eligibility Center. The university could not produce any documentation to explain why the student-athletes were allowed to complete without the certification.

A men’s basketball student-athlete was allowed to compete while he was not enrolled in the minimum required credit hours and did not meet the appropriate progress-toward-degree requirements. The university utilized a campus-wide program that could verify full-time enrollment status, but it was not reliable, forcing staff to access student-athlete records by hand. The university did not have systems in place within the registrar’s office to monitor full-time enrollment for student-athletes or to alert the athletics staff if a student-athlete fell below full-time status.

Additional certification violations occurred when the university allowed a second men’s basketball student-athlete to compete during his year in residence after transferring to the university. He was also allowed to compete after his fourth season of competition. Despite not meeting the two-year college transfer rules, two other men’s basketball student-athletes were permitted to compete. Additionally, two football student-athletes competed after being certified as academic nonqualifiers by the Eligibility Center.

The university lacked institutional control when it did not establish adequate compliance processes, monitor and evaluate its athletics programs, and provide rules education and training to staff to ensure the athletics program complied with NCAA rules. Contributing to the lack of institutional control, the university did not maintain student-athlete records and did not establish policies and procedures to allow the university to monitor certification.

A former compliance director failed to monitor when she neglected to follow proper procedures in student-athletes’ eligibility certification. The failure resulted in violations of initial, transfer and continuing eligibility certification; financial aid; and extra benefits involving numerous student-athletes in all of the university sports.

Related:
Cheyney University of Pennsylvania Public Infractions Decision