The Morgan State University athletics program was rocked Tuesday by NCAA sanctions that will bar the university’s football, softball and women’s tennis programs from postseason play for a year and place the entire athletic department on probation for four years.
The NCAA’s Division I Committee on Infractions charged the school with “a lack of institutional control,” alleging that athletics officials violated NCAA eligibility and financial aid rules.
Specifically, the NCAA panel charged that over a four-year period from the 2012-13 academic year through the 2015-16 academic year, the school improperly awarded financial aid to student-athletes, thus making them ineligible. The school then allowed the athletes to participate in competition and impermissibly receive related expenses.
In addition to the postseason bans and the probation, the NCAA, the governing body for college athletics, also fined the school $5,000 and ordered it to pay one percent of the 2017-18 budgets of the football, women’s tennis and softball programs.
The NCAA also ordered five percent reductions in scholarships in 10 sports as well as restrictions in off-campus recruiting visits by coaches and well as on unofficial campus visits by potential recruits.
In a letter to the campus released just after the NCAA sanctions were announced, Morgan State University President David Wilson noted that he and athletic director Edward Scott met with NCAA officials in November, when they were first notified of the sanctions.
Wilson and Scott were able to convince the NCAA to reduce the probation to four years, from the initial five, as well as limiting the postseason ban and fines to just three sports, rather than 10 which the enforcement staff had requested.
Wilson said the school has until Jan. 3 to decide whether to appeal Tuesday’s decision, as it applies to women’s tennis and softball, meaning the school will not challenge the football sanctions.
“While none this is ideal for the University, or our Athletics program, this is the reality we are facing,” said Wilson in the letter, adding that he is “very pleased” with Scott’s performance.
Scott could not be reached for comment Tuesday night, despite multiple attempts for comment.
The NCAA report found that in 2012-13, 2013-14, 2014-15 and 2015-16 Morgan State violated financial aid legislation when it rewarded aid to excess of full-grant-in-aid to multiple student-athletes in nine sports.
Since the awards exceeded the value of a full grant, and some exceeded the full cost of attending Morgan State, they violated NCAA bylaws. Morgan State agreed the violations were lack of institutional control, according to the NCAA infraction report.
The NCAA report charged that the violations were caused in part “by a lack of rules education on campus, lack of athletics department resources and frequent staff turnover, which contributed to the lack of institutional control and failure to monitor.”
A copy of the NCAA report can be found here.
Editor-in-chief Akira Kyles, managing editor Penelope Blackwell, campus news editor Dominique Hunter, social media editor Korey Matthews, sports editor Blair Young and assistant sports editor Ty’rique Sims contributed to this article.