South Carolina gets failure to monitor tap on the wrist

By | April 27, 2012

After almost two-years, the NCAA has decided what sanctions the South Carolina Gamecocks will face after allegations that 12 student-athletes received impermissible benefits between May 2009 and October 2010 surfaced.

South Carolina self-imposed itself with a loss of six scholarships over the course of three years, a reduction of official visits to 30 for 2012-2013 and a fine of $18,500 for allowing ineligible players to compete during the 2009-2010 season.

The NCAA found that the Gamecocks failed to monitor its program and “is responsible for impermissible recruiting, extra benefits and preferential treatment” of athletes according to the Committee on Infractions. Additional, boosters Kevin Lahn and Steve Gordon gave out benefits that were not recognized by at least four department employees.

According to the facts of the case, twelve student-athletes lived in local hotel while paying a daily rate of less than $15 per person, an amount that was considerably less than what was available to the general student population.  In addition, nine student-athletes received special loan arrangements by deferring rent payments through an agreement with the hotel. In total, the student-athletes received approximately $51,000* in impermissible extra benefits and preferential treatment.

In addition, two boosters provided more than $8,000 from their foundation for recruiting inducements and extra benefits to football prospects and student-athletes. These boosters also were  involved in recruiting contacts. The committee noted that while some of the motivation and purpose for establishing the foundation were well-intentioned, it was clear that some efforts were aimed at assisting the university in its recruitment efforts. The benefits from the boosters included cash, gift cards, entertainment and funding of multiple unofficial visits.

Here’s a list of what the program faces in terms of sanctions.

  • Public reprimand and censure.
  • Three years of probation from April 27, 2012, through April 26, 2015.
  • Reduction of total football scholarships by three (from 85 maximum) during the 2013-14 and 2014-15 academic years.
  • Reduction of initial football scholarships by three (from the 25 maximum) during the 2013-14 and 2014-15 academic years (self-imposed by the university).
  • $18,500 fine (self-imposed by the university).
  • Indefinite disassociation of both involved boosters and the local hotel (self-imposed by the university).
  • Limit of 30 official visits in football (from the 56 maximum) for the 2012-13 academic year (self-imposed by the university).
  • An assistant football coach was withheld from off campus recruiting during January 2012 (self-imposed by the university).

Basically, according to the NCAA, do whatever you want and as long as you apologize you can get away with it.