CU-Boulder Leadership Responds To NCAA Sanctions

June 21, 2007

University of Colorado at Boulder officials today announced the campus would comply with NCAA sanctions resulting from a self-reported violation of NCAA bylaws that occurred on the campus between 2001-05, and announced a set of key reforms and practices to prevent similar violations in the future.

The violations were of “training table” privileges – dining opportunities extended to non-scholarship (“walk-on”) student athletes. The violations, cited by the NCAA at a media briefing earlier today at the NCAA’s offices in Indianapolis, Ind., occurred over a period spanning the 2000-01 academic year and extending to Sept. 16, 2005. They were discovered by Associate Athletic Director Ceal Barry on that day and were communicated to NCAA officials by the university shortly thereafter.

The violations involved 133 walk-on student-athletes in six athletic programs (two men’s and four women’s) who were inadvertently undercharged for training table meals in two ways. The first violations centered on walk-on student athletes who ate at training table even though their practice schedules did not preclude them from dining in residence halls. The second involved walk-on student-athletes who lived off campus and who purchased a training table meal plan at residence hall rates directly from the Athletics Department rather than a meal plan directly from CU's Housing and Dining Department.

The NCAA announced the violations on Thursday and indicated that they “were inadvertent,” calling them “limited in nature and narrow in scope.” But, it added, they “demonstrated a failure (of CU) to monitor its training table program.” The governing body publicly censured CU-Boulder; placed the campus on two years’ probation from June 21, 2007 to June 20, 2009; fined the campus $100,000 (to be donated to a local homeless or food bank-related charity); reduced CU’s initial football scholarships by one each year for the 2007-08, 2008-09 and 2009-10 academic years (limiting the school to 24 initial scholarships under current rules) and ordered the campus to undertake a series of accountability measures and reporting duties to the NCAA while implementing “a comprehensive educational program on NCAA violations” for CU athletic department staff.

“We fully embrace and accept the NCAA’s sanctions, which are very close to what we recommended as self-imposed sanctions in our report to the NCAA,” said CU Athletic Director Mike Bohn. “I want to say very clearly that this in no way reflects poorly upon our student-athletes; rather, it represents a challenge to our athletic department leadership to more effectively understand and apply NCAA bylaws, and to better communicate these bylaws to our coaches and staff. I can assure the public and the entire university community that we will achieve both of these ends, and have already taken steps to do so.”

Bohn said the University had, since 2005, enacted a series of training table oversight measures, including expanding its Training Table Committee (naming Barry its chair and adding two members, including CU’s faculty athletics representative to the Big 12 Conference David Clough) and increased the frequency of its meetings. Bohn said he will also find budget authorization for a new athletic department staff member to ensure better communication of, and compliance with, all NCAA guidelines.

Bohn paid tribute to Barry for identifying the violation in 2005 through an unrelated conversation she had with a student-athlete. “Based on that conversation, Ceal deduced that we were not complying with NCAA training table rules,” said Bohn. “That immediately jump-started our self-reporting to the NCAA, our investigatory process and our making vital corrections to our past mistakes.” Barry was CU’s head women’s basketball coach from 1983 to 2005, compiling a 427-242 record. Her 669 games coached are the most games or events presided over by any coach in school history, and upon retiring from coaching she has transitioned into athletic administration with a special interest in academics and student services. She is also the school’s Senior Woman Administrator for athletics.

CU-Boulder Chancellor G.P. “Bud” Peterson, who was in New York when the NCAA made its announcement earlier today, echoed Bohn’s assurances on compliance with NCAA bylaws in a statement read at a media briefing on the CU-Boulder campus by CU-Boulder Provost Phil DiStefano. “I want to assure all our student-athletes, their parents, our faculty and staff, our alumni and our fellow NCAA Division I institutions that the University of Colorado at Boulder will fully comply with all of the NCAA’s rules and regulations. I believe that this is demonstrated by the fact that when we discovered what we suspected was a rules violation, we immediately self-reported it to the NCAA and worked with it to understand what ultimately was a very complicated and involved set of circumstances. We accept the NCAA ruling and are reassured by the fact that the NCAA Committee on Infractions essentially accepted the self-imposed sanctions we proposed as part of this process.”

Peterson in the statement also paid tribute to the cooperation of CU athletic officials who worked closely with CU academic administrators and CU’s faculty representative during the NCAA’s investigation, hearing and ruling periods. “Recently, we set forth a new reporting structure for the Department of Intercollegiate Athletics here at the University of Colorado at Boulder in which athletics is fully integrated into our university community. I believe we have made tremendous progress in this regard and as Chancellor, I will continue to work with our Athletic Director, Mike Bohn, his staff and the entire university community to ensure that we are in full compliance in this and all areas. I believe that we have the proper leadership in place and that we share a common set of values with respect to openness, integrity, and fairness. It is these values that will enable us to set a standard of integrity and achievement for athletics that the people of Colorado can and will be proud of, and a standard that we hope can serve as a national model.”