NCAA puts WVU on probation for 2 years

Morgantown, WV ( – The West Virginia athletic department was
placed on two years’ probation by the NCAA Wednesday for impermissible phone
calls and text messages made over almost three years.

The recruiting violations occurred in 14 of the school’s 17 varsity sports
between June 2010 and February 2013 and were self-reported by the university.

According to a report issued Wednesday, the NCAA Division I Committee on
Infractions found coaches in the 14 sports sent 294 impermissible texts and
placed 66 impermissible phone calls to prospective student-athletes and, in
some instances, parents.

The NCAA said most of the infractions occurred in women’s gymnastics,
football, women’s soccer and women’s basketball, with the bulk of the illegal
texts — 153 — coming from the women’s gymnastics team and from one assistant
coach in particular.

The impermissible communications in the other three sports included:

– 46 texts and 22 phone calls by members of the football staff.

– 43 texts and three phones calls by members of the women’s soccer staff.

– 17 texts and 26 phone calls by the women’s basketball staff.

Ten other programs, including the men’s basketball team, were found to have
sent a combined 35 illegal texts and made 14 impermissible phone calls.

The infractions were discovered after the university updated its compliance
and recruiting software in January 2013.

“While I am disappointed with today’s NCAA report, I do take note that our
department found the infractions, self-reported them and worked with the NCAA
in full cooperation to address and correct the issues,” West Virginia athletic
director Shane Lyons said in a statement.

“I am confident that the department has taken the necessary steps to correct
its compliance and recruiting software program, reeducate the staff on updated
NCAA changes on the rules surrounding text messages and phone calls and
fulfilled our obligations to the NCAA concerning the situation long before I
started as athletic director back on Feb. 2.”

Lyons said he was aware of the matter when he interviewed for the job “and it
did not deter my confidence at all in West Virginia University.”

“We are and always will be committed to the legislation policies of the NCAA.
Moving forward, I expect our department to continue its strong dedication to
NCAA compliance,” he said.

In addition to probation, the committee issued recruiting restrictions on the
athletic department, stripped the football team of one scholarship for the
2013-14 season and issued a one-year show-cause order for the assistant
women’s gymnastics coach who made 42 percent of the total violations in the
case. The NCAA committee said it was “troubled” by the coach’s claim that he
was ignorant of the rules.