IU reports 38 violations in two-year period

A wrestler’s efforts to create a YouTube channel and stream his exploits in the video game Fortnite led to one of Indiana’s 38 self-reported NCAA violations from April 2018 to March 2020, according to an open records request fulfilled Tuesday.

The list provided to The Herald-Times mostly illuminates the multitude of ways institutions like IU can end up running afoul of NCAA bylaws, whether it’s the football program inadvertently paying for a fifth family member’s meal during a recruiting visit or the men’s basketball program setting up a photo shoot with a recruit in view of the public.

In the case of the wrestling violation, submitted to the NCAA on Dec. 10, 2018, the student-athlete “created a YouTube account, identifying himself as a student-athlete” and “solicited donations to support himself as a gamer,” according to IU’s breakdown of violations. IU reports he collected less than $14.

IU, in turn, required the wrestler to pay restitution to a charity for the amount he received. His YouTube account was then restructured to comply with NCAA rules. The NCAA imposed no additional sanctions.

IU’s swimming program actually accounted for the most violations in the two-year period with seven. Men’s soccer, baseball, and football each had five. Men’s basketball and women’s basketball had one each in the ’18-19 and ’19-20 timeframes.

On Aug. 2, 2019, The Herald-Times submitted a request for self-reported NCAA violations for the period from June 1, 2018 to May 31, 2019. IU responded Tuesday with two sets of information: a list of 17 violations from April 1, 2018 to March 31, 2019, and another list of 21 violations from April 1, 2019 to March 31, 2020.

For context, IU reported 24 secondary violations from the 2017-18 academic year in a previous open records request.

In the most recent period, the football program was docked for corresponding electronically with a recruit prior to the first permissible date. IU was not allowed to contact that recruit for two weeks once the recruiting window was open.

The men’s basketball program’s inappropriately placed photoshoot was submitted as a violation on Oct. 16, 2019. In response, the institution self-imposed a reduction of recruiting-person days by two, and the NCAA warned that a similar violation could result in more significant penalties the next time.

Baseball had four violations in the ’19-20 timeframe: a student-athlete’s parents were given seating in IU’s baseball suite during a three-game series; a non-family member’s meal was paid for during a recruit’s official visit; the program improperly used an athlete’s name, image, and likeness in a video; and the father of a student-athlete improperly used the name, image, and likeness of the student-athlete in a photo.

In the latter two cases, the video and the photo were removed from social media.

Swimming had four violations during the ’19-20 period. One was for the associate head coach having telephone conversations with “several” student-athletes at another four-year institution. For that, the institution banned the swimming and diving program from recruiting activities for two weeks.

The swimming program was also docked because a local sports club, which it owned and operated, was not being charged a rental fee for IU’s facilities during the club’s activities. IU then required the club to pay the facilities fee. The NCAA levied no additional punishment.

The harshest financial penalty was given to the women’s tennis program for impermissible social media contact with a signee from another institution who had not been released from her national letter of intent. The NCAA fined the program $500.

11 comments

  1. The NCAA is a joke, and so are most of their rules. “Ordered to pay $14 in restitution to a charity.” That’s laugh-out-loud ridiculous.

    UNC commits years and years of complete academic fraud involving dozens of athletes (they obviously were not students) and nothing of consequence happens. Louisville’s Men’s Basketball coaches bring hookers to an on-campus recruiting function and does not receive any significant punishment. I could go on and on, but we all know the NCAA is a feckless and corrupt organization whose grossly overpaid officers work in a palace. It’s time the NCAA be disbanded and replaced by The U.S. Department of Education that include a special branch of the FBI armed with subpoena power and real law enforcement capabilities.

    1. Naw Po,
      We can’t do what you suggest, that would require common sense, a commodity which is in quite short supply these days. Especially when it comes to properly manage college athletics.

  2. The NCAA shows over and over how much of a joke they are when it comes to fairness. It is easy to see why the Power 5 football schools want to go on their own gaining some reasonableness with rules.

    1. The Power 5 schools aren’t looking to do that. The NCAA is the rule making and enforcement vehicle of the universities and their administrations. They could dissolve it if they wanted to, but they don’t. As for schools mentioned, UNC didn’t break NCAA rules and UL was punished. Both examples miss the mark.

  3. UNC didn’t break NCAA rules? Even if that’s technically true, that’s my point. I’m not going to try to argue the facts about things that happened years ago, but when you have many scholarship athletes that for years passed classes that they never attended and got degrees for academic work they never even attempted to complete, all so that they could help their school win basketball and/or football games, that as corrupt as it gets. And of course, it especially cheats and damages the student athletes who were involved. The NCAA is a joke. And Louisville’s punishment was also a joke.

    This kind of behavior is only going to get worse until the NCAA is replaced by a governing body that is able to establish and enforce rules and then punish the rule-breakers severely. “Death penalties,” coaches and administrators banned for life, “agents” and shoe company executives going to jail, etc. Cheating, especially on a massive scale, can not be tolerated. It must be punished. It is corrosive to our society and to the sports we love. It breeds cynicism and punishes those schools, athletes and the fans that follow the rules.

    The NCAA majors in minors and it’s primary interests are first to sustain itself and second, to keep ever greater amounts of money coming in. Like a lot of higher education, the NCAA has become worthless and rotten to the core.

    1. So, in the case of UNC, you think the NCAA should’ve made up the rules in the middle of the game? That’s an interesting take and one where you should be careful what you wish for. Today it’s the poorly managed major at UNC, tomorrow it’s the abolition of individually determined entrance requirements, next year it’s banning certain “jock” majors (General Studies, anyone?). That slope could get slicker than a West Point ramp on commencement day.

      As for UL, they had a one year post season ban for a violation that created an incredibly dubious recruiting advantage. Not trying to dismiss it, but careful what you wish for. If recruiting advantages evolve into underage drinking or other escapades, which are commonplace at many schools, including one you might know something about, there could be hell to pay.

      The NCAA is the rule making and enforcement vehicle of the universities and their administrators. It exists at their direction and by their pleasure. They could disband whenever they wanted to, but they don’t choose to do that, for obvious reasons. They’re fine with it, even when it doesn’t work as well as they’d like it to.

      I agree that banning violators of major rules is the way to go. Lock them out, and fine the schools heavily. But it’s an inherently corrupt system when schools are handsomely paid by apparel companies who then pursue direct access to athletes and their families. But that’s every Power 5 school, with no exceptions. Are you ready to outlaw what adidas, Nike and Under Armor contribute to the athletic departments of each and every school? If you are, I’m good with that, but that cost will need to be addressed somewhere in the budget, as will the revenue shortfall. Three guesses where they go for that . . .

  4. I don’t think UNC’s transgressions are as out-of-reach from the NCAA as you might think, or as it may have been portrayed in the media. The NCAA does have rules involving academics, and I’m pretty sure UNC broke most of them, but obviously they need to be updated and fortified. That was a major cover up.

    If the NCAA wants to stop the cheating, if they want to stop the unethical/criminal behavior, they need to update the rules, focus on the major violators and punish them in a sever manner. But until then, and I won’t hold my breath, they need to stop spending so much time on the ridiculously minor violations. $14 in restitution to a charity; that is FUBAR! It cost the NCAA more than $14 to have one of their employees write and post that letter of notification to that IU Student Athlete.

  5. They were out of reach since it was crystal clear they didn’t break the written rules. If you can show me otherwise, great, but it’s just not there.

  6. From CNN: “The University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill sponsored fake classes for nearly two decades, giving students, many of them athletes, credit for courses never taught by instructors. But the university will escape all punishment by the National Collegiate Athletic Association.
    The ruling the association announced Friday has been publicly panned as going light in response to one of the worst academic scandals in college sports history, adding to what some observers say is mounting evidence of the NCAA’s continuing weakness in controlling and punishing its member institutions.
    After a three-and-half-year investigation, and despite the institution even agreeing that it had engaged in academic fraud, the NCAA said it couldn’t definitively conclude that the “paper courses” in the department of African and Afro-American studies had been designed and offered as an effort to benefit athletes alone. Thus, according to the NCAA’s Committee on Infractions, which adjudicates allegations of wrongdoing, the courses did not violate the group’s rules.
    The university aggressively fought the NCAA’s efforts to assert its authority in this case, spending roughly $18 million on legal and other fees. The NCAA’s enforcement division, which essentially acts as the prosecutor in infractions cases, had charged North Carolina with “lack of institutional control” and “failure to monitor” its athletes’ academic courses, among the most serious charges in the associations’ rule book. But the infractions committee said it could not reach those findings because it did not have evidence to prove the underlying charges of awarding “extra benefits” to athletes.

  7. Po,
    You could have left everything else out but this one sentence and said all that would have been necessary, “The university aggressively fought the NCAA’s efforts to assert its authority in this case, spending roughly $18 million on legal and other fees.” The key for any school caught skirting the ncaa rules is very simply, put up a fight. The feckless ncaa’s track record in court is nothing short of abysmal and they know it. This is how the NC’s, UL’s, and KU’s of the world get by, they immediately lawyer up and dare the ncaa to meet them in court. Might want to call it the “Tarkanian Rule,” for those old enough to remember what this means.

  8. BD, there is a huge difference between breaking the law and being convicted of breaking the law. Likewise, there is a huge difference between violating NCAA rules and being punished for breaking those rules. The excerpts from the CNN article posted above makes my point; the NCAA is a weak and feckless organization that is unable or unwilling to punish the most powerful rule-violating schools. UNC spent $18 million to prevent itself from being punished for their two decades of corruption. Obviously, the NCAA chose not to spend more time and money to “prosecute” UNC. This case screams to the American public that if a university is willing to spend enough money, it can get away with almost anything. It reminds me of the story told in the recent documentary about the pedophile and sex trafficker Jeffrey Epstein. He had so much money and was so politically well-connected, that or years and years he escaped prosecution and punishment for the hundreds of cases of pedophilia and sex trafficking. Some of his worst coconspirators, who are guilty as hell, will never be arrested, prosecuted or punished for their crimes. Just because they escaped formal punishment doesn’t make them innocent.

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