University of Alaska-Fairbanks Athletics Hit With NCAA Probationary Sanctions

The University of Alaska-Fairbanks have reached an agreement with the NCAA enforcement staff that during the school years of 2017-2018 through 2020-2021, the university improperly certified the eligibility of 42 student-athletes in nine sports programs, resulting in 72 violations of certification legislation. 

These violations concern two areas of certification legislation: amateurism certification and initial academic certification. The student athletes implicated in the investigation were deemed to have competed past the 45-day permissible pre-certification period, in which a student athlete is permitted to practice, but not compete for 45 days before their status is certified by the NCAA Eligibility Center. In turn, they received benefits from travel expenses related to contests and/or financial aid while ineligible. 

While the women’s swimming program is not mentioned by name in the NCAA decision, it is one of nine sports programs involved. A University spokesperson noted “minimal” involvement in the case for the women’s swimming and diving team. Two student-athletes were in violation of practicing past the 45-day pre-certification period. There are no competitive or scholarship sanctions nor vacation of record penalties for the team. The specifics of the case can be found here

These allegations came to light through an investigation of a self-reported violation concerning the men’s ice hockey team, where three student athletes on the team were loaned the automobile of an institutional staff member. The men’s hockey team competes at the Division I level, while all other sports at the university compete in Division II.  Among the penalties:

  • 3 years probation from March 18th 2022 through March 17th 2025, during which they must implement educational programs on NCAA legislation for all staff members who are involved with athlete and recruit certification
  • File compliance reports that indicate progress made with the implemented educational programs
  • Publicize, at minimum, a statement on the athletics home page and within the sports’ media guides that comprehensively explain the infractions so that the public (specifically prospective students) can make informed decisions
  • A fine of $2,500 payable to the NCAA
  • Vacation of individual and team records from the time which ineligible student athletes competed through the time at which they were reinstated

The men’s ice hockey team will also be subject to separate sanctions and corrective actions required of them by the Division I Committee on Infractions including a $5,000 fine (total $7,000 fine paid by the university), compliance education, publication of infractions, 2% competition suspension during the regular season for the head coach, and a two-week ban on off-campus recruiting contact.

These violations mirror an earlier report in 2014 where the university was found to be in violation of the same certification legislation that is currently in question, where they “lacked constitutional control over its athletics program”. In the former case, 5 members of the women’s swimming and diving team were deemed ineligible. As a result, the team suffered a postseason ban for the 2014-2015 season, scholarship reductions, and vacation of points scored by the ineligible swimmers. 

The Nanooks compete in the Pacific Collegiate Swimming & Diving Conference where they garnered a 7th-place finish at the 2022 PCSC Championships and ended their regular season competition with a 4-4 record. While these sanctions have no direct implications for the team in practice and competition, it will hinder recruiting efforts as they must provide information on their probationary status to prospective students. 

As per the University’s career page, there is a job listing for the head swim coach position. This will be the 4th head coach for the Nanooks in 4 years, following the tenures of Scott Lemley, Rebecca Weiland, Cameron Keiner, and most recently, Kelsey Leeson, who led the program as “interim” head coach for the entire 2021-2022 season.

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olde coach
1 year ago

When will Kansas have to vacate their latest NCAA Basketball title?
NCAA loves to bully mid majors and Divvy II schools. Recently UMASS had to vacate two women’s Atlantic 10 tennis titles on a self reported violation. They were also very quick to vacate a final 4 basketball appearance under Caleperi. Bluebloods get a slap on the wrist at most

Erik
1 year ago

Institutional*?

Last edited 1 year ago by Erik
SwimCoachSean
1 year ago

What the heck is going on out there?

Last edited 1 year ago by SwimCoachSean
Coach Tom
1 year ago

“These allegations came to light through an investigation of a self-reported violation concerning the men’s ice hockey team, where three student athletes on the team were loaned the automobile of an institutional staff member”

The horror!

NM Coach
Reply to  Coach Tom
1 year ago

Coach Tom…here’s what you don’t understand about the severity of these allegations…when they do these types of shenanigans…they are at an EXTREME advantage over their competitors at the conference meet! Especially when they have to compete against schools in the PAC12!

Coach Tom
Reply to  NM Coach
1 year ago

I agree. These scofflaws are an affront to the noble intentions of the NCAA and I’m glad they have been brought to justice for their heinous misdeeds.