The NCAA has cited Division II Saginaw Valley State University in Michigan for ‘failure to monitor its eligibility certification process.’ The NCAA says that the school ‘improperly certified the eligibility of 130 student-athletes in 15 sports over a five-year period, including allowing 80 student-athletes to compete before their eligibility was reinstated.
While all 137 violations were not named, a few were. These violations include allowing a football student-athlete to compete past his first 10 semesters enrolled at the school; and allowing two transfer student-athletes in football and men’s soccer to compete without meeting degree progress requirements.
While all of the sports involved were not explicitly named (a few were), 15 of the school’s 17 athletics programs were involved. The school sponsors both men’s and women’s swimming & diving programs, with the women beginning competition in the fall of 2014 and the men in the fall of 2015. We have contacted the school to confirm if the swimming & diving programs are among the 15 involved, but have not yet heard back. As part of the sanctions, Saginaw Valley State will be required to release more specific details of the infractions, and the sports involved, in the coming weeks.
The committee reviewing the sanctions, saying that while they are ‘cognizant of the financial challenges faced by many Division II member schools,” they believe that “this casse illustrates the need for all Division II schools to ensure that they devote the necessary funds and staffing to establish an effective and reliable compliance program that, at a minimum, can fulfill basic and fundamental responsibilities of membership, including eligibility certification.”
Among the major penalties are 4 years on probation and vacation of all results in which ineligible student-athletes participated. Among the requirements of the probation are a number of additional administrative tasks and the requirement to inform prospects of the 15 involved sports programs, in writing, of the violations and the penalties.
- Four years of probation.
- A $5,000 fine.
- Vacation of all records in which ineligible student-athletes competed from the time they became ineligible through the time they were reinstated as eligible for competition. The university must provide the NCAA media coordination and statistics office with a written report outlining all impacted competitions no later than 45 days following the release of the decision.
- The university cannot host an NCAA championship competition in any sport during spring 2019.
- The university must undergo an outside audit of the compliance department operations during the 2018-19 academic year (self-imposed by the university). Additionally, the school must undergo a similar audit during the final year of probation and implement all recommendations made by the reviewers.
- Each year of the probation period, all staff involved in the eligibility certification process must attend an NCAA Regional Rules seminar. Further, the associate athletics director of compliance must attend the National Association for Athletics Compliance annual convention at least once during the period of probation.
SVSU is less than 2 weeks from the start of competition at the 2019 GLIAC Championships. Th women’s team placed 42nd at last season’s NCAA Division II Championship meet.