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USF Athletics and NCAA come to terms over multiple violations

Yuengling Center
Jonah Hinebaugh
/
WUSF Public Media
The NCAA Committee on Infractions announced its approval of a negotiated resolution, bringing to an end an 18-month inquiry into the University of South Florida’s Department of Athletics.

An investigation found non-coaching staff members participated impermissibly during practice and off-field activities.

On Friday, the NCAA Committee on Infractions announced its approval of a negotiated resolution, bringing to an end an 18-month inquiry into the University of South Florida’s Department of Athletics.

According to a statement from USF, the university and the NCAA enforcement staff agreed that Level II violations occurred within the USF football program under former head coach Charlie Strong and the women’s basketball program under head coach Jose Fernandez.

The inquiry began when USF Athletics staff discovered and self-reported multiple violations to the NCAA. An ensuing cooperative and comprehensive inquiry by the university and the NCAA enforcement staff followed.

During the course of the inquiry, the university and enforcement staff also identified a number of minor Level III violations that were previously unreported for which the university accepts responsibility. Those violations involved the women’s golf, women’s soccer and women’s volleyball programs as well as the baseball and men’s soccer programs.

The NCAA did acknowledge the university’s exemplary cooperation with the inquiry along with its prompt acknowledgment of violations, acceptance of responsibility and imposition of meaningful self-imposed corrective measures and penalties.

The negotiated resolution detailing the violations and resolutions can be accessed HERE.

Summation of the Level II violations involving the football program:

  • Non-coaching staff members participated impermissibly during practice and off-field activities.

Summation of the Level II violations involving the women’s basketball program:

  • Non-coaching staff members participated impermissibly during practice and off-field activities.
  • Coaching staff failed to accurately record countable athletically related activities in reports to university compliance staff.

As a result of the violations, the University of South Florida Department of Athletics has been placed on probation for three years, concluding in 2024.

In addition to the university’s self-imposed penalties listed in the negotiated resolution, USF agreed to the following penalties:

  • The institution shall pay a fine of $10,000 plus one-half of one percent of each of the football and women’s basketball budgets.
  • The institution shall reduce the number of initial grants-in-aid awarded in the football program by two for the 2022-23 academic year.
  • The head women’s basketball coach shall be subject to a one-year show-cause order and shall be restricted from participation in 15 hours of team practices during the 2021-22 women’s basketball playing season.
  • A reduction of 12 total practice hours for the women’s basketball team during the 2021-22 playing season.
  • A number of smaller, short-term penalties were also imposed on the women’s basketball, women’s golf, women’s volleyball and football programs.

Here's a statement from USF Vice President of Athletics Michael Kelly:
“USF Athletics places great emphasis on and is committed to the highest level of integrity and NCAA rules compliance. While I am disappointed to have discovered actions that did not uphold these values, I am pleased with the professionalism and speed with which our compliance and administrative staff self-reported and collaborated with the NCAA for a thorough review. I believe we have a strong culture of compliance at USF. As such, we will use this as an opportunity to learn and improve as a department as we continue to pursue best practices and the highest standards of compliance.”

Here's a statement by women's basketball coach Jose Fernandez:

“As the Head Coach of the USF women’s basketball program for the last 22 years, I have taken great pride in leading a program that has continuously displayed a high level of compliance and integrity. While these were isolated incidents, I appreciate the NCAA’s diligence in this inquiry and take full responsibility. I will continue to work closely with our compliance department to ensure our program maintains a level of compliance that aligns with the NCAA’s high ethical standards.”

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