Citing unethical conduct in the SMU men’s golf program, a NCAA Division I Committee on Infractions panel penalized the Mustangs in a major way on Tuesday.
According to the NCAA, former head coach Josh Gregory committed several recruiting violations in the form of 64 impermissible contacts over a 10-month period. Gregory also offered university merchandise and golf equipment to prospects at a significantly reduced price in 2013. Adding to the trouble was an SMU booster who was contacting prospects:
“Over a four-month period, a booster contacted nine golf prospects and facilitated contact between the former golf coach and the prospects and their families. He also encouraged the prospects to arrange unofficial visits to the university. During his interview with NCAA enforcement staff, the former golf coach said he was unaware of the booster’s activity with the program. However, the panel determined the former golf coach was aware of the booster’s contact with the prospects because he was copied on emails and was given updates on the prospects by the booster. The former golf coach violated NCAA ethical conduct rules when he denied knowledge of the booster activity.” – NCAA Statement
Gregory resigned abruptly in August 2014 following the alleged violations.
The violations have resulted in steep penalties for the program, including a postseason ban for the 2015-2016 season. Here is a full list of the penalties:
- A three-year probation period from Sept. 29, 2015, through Sept. 28, 2018.
- A $5,000 fine plus one percent of the total budget.
- A 2015-16 postseason ban.
- A permanent disassociation of the booster from the university’s athletics program based on his involvement with the violations.
- A three-year prohibition of apparel and merchandise sales by the coaching staff to men’s golf prospects.
- A three-year reduction of men’s golf scholarships from the average number awarded over the previous four years by 25 percent from 2016-17 through 2018-19.
- A prohibition from hosting unofficial visits for a 13-week period during the summer of 2016.