Husson University, a Division III school that competes in the North Atlantic Conference (NAC), has been hit with one year of probation and a $1,250 fine for an ethical violation by a former head coach.
The NCAA’s Committee on Infractions (COI) found that ex-Husson head coach Butch Babin knowingly arranged for a student assistant to receive $1,385 for 103 hours of work not performed. He encouraged the student to apply for the team manager position while he was recovering from shoulder surgery, and would allow him to do physical therapy in the pool on the clock.
However, the COI decided not to penalize Babin for his “serious” violations due to “unique and extraordinary circumstances related to his deteriorating health.” The COI decision was handled by Dean College president Kenneth Elmore, Allegheny Mountain Collegiate Conference commissioner Donna Ledwin, Ohio Northern athletic director Tom Simmons, and Angela Givens Williams, chief of the civil division in the U.S. attorney’s office for the Southern District of Mississippi.
Babin did not participate in the NCAA’s investigation due to “serious health issues and related treatments.” He has reportedly struggled with a broken hip, an open-heart surgery, and an amputated right foot due to a bacterial infection among other health issues over the past few years.
Babin was placed on administrative leave last fall for reasons unrelated to the aforementioned ethical violation. The Eagle women still went on to win their third consecutive NAC title earlier this year, and Lauren Dwyer was hired to replace Babin in June.
“Husson University works to ensure a safe and compliant environment surrounding our athletics program,” said Husson athletic director John Sutyak, who joined the university in September. “This institution has a commitment to excellence in all of our endeavors, including athletics compliance. We are confident that this was an isolated incident and have taken steps to ensure it won’t be repeated. We take any violation of NCAA rules very seriously, as shown by the quick work by the athletics staff in self-reporting, and cooperating, with NCAA officials.”
Husson officials claimed they acted quickly to self-report the violation and arrange a repayment of unearned wages.
“The university regrets that this incident has occurred and we are committed to treating this as a learning experience from which we will improve our practices and continue our tradition of excellence, holding ourselves to the highest standards of compliance and integrity,” Husson president Robert Clark said.