The football and men’s basketball teams at the University of Central Florida will have to sit out the upcoming postseason, the National Collegiate Athletic Association announced Tuesday, as the Committee on Infractions cited the university for lacking institutional control and failing to monitor its sports program, by allowing impermissible recruiting activities and extra benefits for athletes. The NCAA's decision comes just two years after the association punished Central Florida for recruiting violations by former athletics officials.
At issue was “an ever-increasing problem in intercollegiate athletics today,” the committee said in its public infractions report. Third parties, “who through their activity became athletics representatives of UCF,” had significant unallowable telephone and in-person recruiting contact with men’s basketball and football athletes, the committee said. Further, one representative provided prospects and current athletes with $16,000 in cash payments, travel expenses, tuition and a laptop computer. The committee also found unethical conduct on the part of the former athletics director and assistant football coach, who “knowingly provided false and misleading information” in interviews with NCAA enforcement officials. Athletic department employees not only knew about the recruiting violations, the committee said – “in some cases” they “encouraged” it. The same third parties also received benefits and favors from the program, including event tickets. The failure to monitor charge stems from the men’s basketball coach’s neglect to stop or discourage and report the violations.
The NCAA’s penalties add to a number of self-imposed sanctions, including vacation of men’s basketball wins from 2008-9, and a reduction in recruiting days and official paid visits. Other sanctions include a $50,000 fine, five years’ probation, scholarship reductions in football and men’s basketball, and three-year show-cause orders for the former athletics director and two coaches, meaning that if they move to another institution the penalties will follow them there unless the college can show the NCAA why they shouldn’t apply.