The Cal Tech women’s swim team had a fantastic season academically. But after placing in the top 5 among Division III GPA’s in both the fall and spring semesters, all was not as well as it seemed. After 30 ineligible athletes competed or practiced across 12 sports over the last four seasons, the women’s swim team is one of 13 programs that will take a 2012-2013 postseason ban, among other self-imposed sanctions. That also includes a ban on off-campus recruiting for the next year.
According to the NCAA report, the issue stems not necessarily from any malice intent, rather it is from a lack of institutional control over its own unique academic situation. That’s because Cal Tech allows students to “shop” classes during the first three weeks of each quarter without actually registering for those classes, therefor they were in violation of the NCAA’s “full-time status” rules. A lack of formal communication process about enrollment status and eligibility standards between the athletics department and the registrars office was noted as the major concern by the NCAA Division III Committee on Infractions.
The Beavers had a disappointing season last year, as the women finished 2nd-to-last at the SCIAC Conference Championship meet. They did, however, have the largest team in program history with 60 swimmers in the men’s and women’s programs, combined.