Photo Courtesy: Peter H. Bick
INDIANAPOLIS – The NCAA today released its findings on allegations that Georgia head coach Jack Bauerle provided extra benefits a year ago, and has decided to fine and suspend him for nine competitions in the 2014-15 season.
The fine comes to a grand total of $5,000, while the NCAA elected to put an end date on Georgia’s indefinite suspension of Bauerle. Bauerle, however, will still be suspended from recruiting through the end of the year.
So far this year, Georgia has competed six times with Bauerle potentially being eligible to return to the team during the end of January. It all depends on how the NCAA categorizes each of Georgia’s competitions.
Long story short, Bauerle should be on deck to lead Georgia into both the Southeastern Conference and NCAA Championships at the end of the season.
The NCAA also put in a standard show-cause order retroactive to April 4, 2014 and running through the current season to April 3, 2015. This means that if, for some reason, Georgia and Bauerle parted ways before the end of the suspension. Bauerle would carry that suspension with him to any other school that tried to hire him through April 3, 2015.
However, Georgia Director of Athletics Greg McGarity stated on Georgia’s press conference that the institution is “ready for Jack to be back and leading our program.”
“That was our plan all along,” McGarity said. “Our first conversation when this all happened is that our goal would be to return back to normal as quick as we could. Jack’s body of work and tremendous way he has represented the institution played a huge role in having Jack lead our program. There was a sense of relief and excitement among our student-athletes when they were informed earlier today.”
Georgia is still clarifying exactly when Bauerle will be back on deck for practice and competitions due to the questions regarding what counts as a date of competition. But, the athletics department sent out a press release with the following statements.
“I am pleased the Committee on Infractions accepted the University’s position and credited the Athletic Association for its exemplary handling of this matter,” said UGA President Jere W. Morehead. “I am particularly proud of our swimming and diving student-athletes, who have continued to achieve outstanding results both in the pool and in the classroom.”
“The past year has been very difficult, and I’m glad the NCAA process is over,” Bauerle said. “I accept the Committee’s decision and penalties. I am relieved the penalties are directed at me and not the swimming and diving program or our student-athletes, as they should not be punished for my mistake. I want to thank the University for letting me return to lead the University’s swimming and diving program. I love this University and my student-athletes, past and present, and I look forward to getting back to work with our swimmers and divers as soon as I possibly can.”
Additional punishments levied by Georgia that are detailed within the FULL INFRACTIONS DECISION state that Bauerle is not eligible for any raises through the end of his contract on June 30, 2017. Additionally, any bonuses that are due as part of his contract will be reduced by $5,000 as a fine payable to Georgia as well as an amount equal to the legal fees Georgia incurred as part of the process.
During the NCAA press conference, the panel clarified that the NCAA lessened the initial charge from a Level 1 Severe Breach violation to a Level 2 Significant Breach violation.
Here is the full excerpt summarizing the violations surrounding eligibility concerns for NCAA champion Chase Kalisz, who is unnamed in any of the official documents:
“The student-athlete involved in the allegation enrolled at the institution during the spring 2013 semester and competed on the head coach’s swimming team during the spring 2013 and subsequent seasons. At the onset of the fall 2013 semester, the student-athlete was pursuing pre-management/business studies and enrolled in four three-credit hour courses. The institution determined that the student-athlete needed to pass all four courses in order to maintain progress-toward-degree requirements and academic eligibility as defined in NCAA bylaws.
During the fall semester, the student-athlete, his academic counselor and the head coach became concerned that the student-athlete might not pass a math course. In response, the athletic academic advising staff, particularly the academic counselor for men’s and women’s swimming and diving, developed a plan for the student-athlete. Elements of the plan included increased tutoring, contacting the student-athlete’s parents to have them encourage good study habits and regular progress updates from the academic counselor to the associate head coach. According to the athletic academics staff, the goal was to provide him with necessary support for the math course.
Towards the end of the semester, the head coach remained concerned and reached out to the senior associate athletic director for athletics and eligibility and the student-athlete’s academic counselor to discuss the student-athlete’s options. The head coach proposed adding an extra class. The head coach sought to have the student-athlete add an independent study class to create a “safety net” and ensure eligibility for the upcoming spring 2014 semester. The senior associate athletic director for academics and eligibility instructed that there was “nothing the head coach could do” and that adding an independent study was “not recommended” because classes had ended.
The associate coach also met with the academic counselor to discuss the student-athlete’s academic performance and whether online courses were an option.5 The associate athletic director for academic services stated in an interview that, at the time, he did not believe that having the student-athlete complete an online course was a viable option at the institution. He also stressed the need for the student-athlete to “apply himself” and cautioned against proceeding with a plan that was meant only to address the so-called “urgency” of eligibility concerns. The institution also had an unwritten policy that prohibited coaches from communicating with instructors. The policy was communicated at coaches meetings.
On December 9, 2013, notwithstanding the instruction not to get involved and not to proceed with the independent study, the head coach contacted a professor in the psychology department whom he had known for some time. The head coach proposed that the professor admit the student-athlete to a pass/fail independent study. The professor agreed. The head coach and the professor agreed that the class would be added to the student-athlete’s fall schedule. The student-athlete would complete the work the following spring 2014 semester. Until the work was completed, he would receive an incomplete grade (“I”). The effect of this agreement was for the student-athlete to be able to satisfy eligibility requirements. The independent study happened to be an upper level course and had prerequisites that the psychology professor also agreed to waive.
According to the head coach, he knew the institution permitted late-add classes, and he “did not ask the professor for special treatment.”
On December 10, 2014, the day after the head coach and the psychology professor agreed to the plan to add the upper level independent study, the head coach explained the arrangement to the student-athlete. The student-athlete had taken the final examination in the math course earlier that day. The grade for the math exam was not yet posted. Upon arriving at the pool for practice, the head coach directed him to meet with his friend, the psychology professor. The professor had requested a meeting with the student-athlete to confirm that he was willing to do the necessary work. By the time the student-athlete had arrived, the professor had already completed a late-add form and the form contained additional signatures from the department chair and a dean. The student-athlete later submitted the form to late-add the psychology independent study to the registrar to complete the process.
In the days leading up to and just after the student-athlete’s math exam, the athletic academic advising staff knew that the head coach and the associate head coach were exploring the student-athlete’s academic options. However, on or about December 13, the academic counselor accessed the student-athlete’s records and learned that the class had been added. The academic counselor was concerned when the student-athlete shared his account of the independent study arrangement and when she noticed a final passing grade entered by the psychology professor only seven days later. The chain of events alerted the athletic department to monitor and conduct further inquiry into the situation.”
The University of Georgia head swimming and diving coach did not promote an atmosphere for compliance when he made special arrangements for a student-athlete to enroll in an independent study course to maintain eligibility, according to a decision issued by a Division I Committee on Infractions panel.
Penalties include a $5,000 fine, a nine competition suspension for the head coach and a one-year recruiting restriction for the head coach.
During the fall 2013 semester, the head coach was concerned that a student-athlete might not meet progress-toward-degree requirements and would not be eligible for competition the following semester. The head coach reached out to athletics administrators to discuss options, including adding an independent study class to ensure eligibility. The senior associate athletics director told the coach that adding the course was not recommended because classes for the current semester had ended.
After told not to get involved and not to proceed with the independent study course, the head coach asked a professor in the psychology department to admit the student-athlete into a pass/fail independent study course. The professor agreed and it was determined the student-athlete would complete the work the following semester. The student-athlete did not meet the prerequisites for the course, so the professor agreed to waive those requirements. Because the head coach created the special arrangement, the student-athlete received a benefit not available to the general student body and not allowed by NCAA rules.
The head coach failed to promote an atmosphere for compliance when he set up the special academic arrangement for the student-athlete. The head coach received clear instruction not to contact professors about student-athletes. Despite the instruction, he moved forward with contacting the professor multiple times about the independent study course. The head coach acted contrary to university policy and to the advice and caution provided by the staff responsible for athletic academic services and athletics eligibility certification. The coach also did not consult with the compliance office.
Penalties and corrective measures include:
- Public reprimand and censure.
- A fine of $5,000.
- A one-year show-cause order for the head coach from April 4, 2014 through April 3, 2015. The panel adopted the university’s suspension of the head coach beginning in 2014 and continued the suspension until 2015. The head coach is restricted from all recruiting duties during that period. Additionally, the head coach will be suspended for nine regular season competitions during the 2014-15 season. The public report contains additional details.
Members of the Committee on Infractions are drawn from NCAA membership and members of the public. The members of the panel who reviewed this case are Carol Cartwright, president emeritus at Kent State University; Greg Christopher, chief hearing officer and athletics director at Xavier University; Thomas Hill, senior vice president for student affairs at Iowa State University; Roscoe Howard, Jr., attorney; Joel Maturi, former University of Minnesota athletics director; Sankar Suryanarayan, university counsel, Princeton University; and Rodney Uphoff, law professor at the University of Missouri, Columbia.