The NCAA Division I Committee on Infractions placed the University of Richmond on two-year probation on Friday resulting from an investigation into recruiting violations that members of the athletic department committed during 2007 and 2008.
The committee's report said the university did not properly monitor its athletic programs and that the men's and women's basketball coaches failed to encourage an atmosphere of compliance within their programs. Specifically, coaches from the men's and women's basketball programs made illegal phone calls and sent illegal text messages to recruits. Text messaging recruits was deemed illegal by the NCAA starting on Aug. 1, 2007.
The university discovered many of the NCAA violations on its own during investigation into phone records during November of 2007 and later self-reported the violations to the NCAA. Richmond also sanctioned itself by instituting recruiting restrictions on its own programs after the discovery of the violations and many of the self-imposed penalties have been enforced during the past two years.
The two assistant basketball coaches primarily responsible for the illegal text messages, men's coach Carlin Hartman and women's coach Chris Carroll, resigned after the university found out about the text messages.
In total, the men's basketball team sent 129 illegal text messages and placed as many as 83 illegal phone calls to recruits. The women's program sent 368 illegal texts. Michael Shafer, the head coach of the women's team, sent about 10 of the illegal text messages and men's head coach Chris Mooney sent none, Richmond athletic director Jim Miller said during an interview last fall.
During the NCAA investigation, officials found that six sports other than men's and women's basketball — football, baseball, women's lacrosse, women's track and field, women's soccer and women's golf — had also sent a combined total of 19 impermissible text messages to recruits.
Miller was not immediately available for comment, but in a Richmond Times-Dispatch article, he said he was glad the process was over.
"We are pleased that this matter is resolved," Miller said. "All of the penalties we recommended and already have imposed on ourselves have been accepted by the NCAA. With sanctions that have been imposed on the people who committed the violations and the corrective actions we have taken to enhance our compliance process, we're very comfortable that we've taken the appropriate steps with this. And the NCAA is comfortable that we've taken the appropriate steps."
Some of those steps included hiring a new assistant director for compliance and investing in software to help monitor the phone calls and text messages of Richmond coaches.
The NCAA concluded during its investigation that the impermissible text messages sent during 2007 constituted a major violation because they were sent with the knowledge that they were not permissible and that the rules were broken repeatedly. It came to its decision through its summary-disposition process, which was used in place of a formal hearing because the school and the NCAA were in agreement about the facts and the penalties suggested by the university.
The two year probationary period, which began on Nov. 5 and will continue until Nov. 4, 2011, will force the athletic department to place an emphasis on compliance with NCAA rules and send reports of recruiting activities to the NCAA.
In total, eight university sports programs received sanctions, but only men's and women's basketball suffered significant penalties. Those penalties, many of which have already been served, included a reduction in the number of official visits allowed, restriction on the recruiting activities of assistant coaches and reducing the number of allowable recruiting days. The other programs involved were prohibited from talking to certain recruits temporarily, but those penalties have also already been served.
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No sports received postseason bans and none of the sanctions directly affect any of the current Richmond athletes.
This story will be updated.
Contact staff writer Reilly Moore at email@example.com
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