Ohio State Dept. of Athletics Release: NCAA Announces Findings on Infractions Case

April 19, 2022

Violations within fencing, women’s golf and women’s basketball occurred between 2015 and 2019

COLUMBUS, Ohio – The NCAA Division I Committee on Infractions today (April 19) released its findings on an infractions case involving three sport programs at Ohio State University: fencing, women’s golf, and women’s basketball. The public report can be found here.

The violations occurred between 2015 and 2019 and result in the Department of Athletics being placed on four years probation and fined $5,000. Additional penalties include vacating team wins and championships and individual records for affected student-athletes, and 10-year show-cause penalties for the former head fencing coach and former associate head women’s basketball coach.

Ohio State initially self-reported violations with the fencing program in August 2018, and during the collaborative investigation with the NCAA that followed, additional violations occurred within the women’s basketball and women’s golf programs that Ohio State reported to the NCAA. 

Ohio State is guided by its commitment to institutional integrity: an expectation that is set by the President and Director of Athletics. As soon as Ohio State learned of the potential rules violations, and in the four years since, it has embodied and executed its institution-wide commitment to integrity through its relentless efforts to discover the truth, provide transparency with the NCAA Enforcement staff, and self-impose meaningful corrective actions, penalties, and accountability where appropriate.

As a result, Ohio State was acknowledged by NCAA Enforcement and the NCAA Division I Committee on Infractions both for its notable compliance monitoring systems and for “exemplary cooperation” during the investigation for its superior self-report and spending substantial time and resources to investigate this matter.

“The panel recognizes that the institution dedicates significant resources to its compliance program that, in many ways, exceed those of other Division I institutions,” the panel said in its decision. “To be clear, resource dedication alone does not fulfill the minimum compliance requirements … but here, the resources combined with the compliance program that Ohio State had in place outweighs the deficiencies identified by the panel.”

“I’m proud of our university, athletics department, and the involved sport programs for our management of this matter,” Senior Vice President and Wolfe Foundation Endowed Athletic Director Gene Smith said. “We are committed to our proactive and pre-existing system of compliance methods and rules education.  A comprehensive compliance program ensures adherence and institutional control over the athletics department and furthers the mission of the university. We are pleased that this matter is now behind us, and our focus remains on our student-athletes.”

The violations, including one Level I and several Level II and Level III NCAA violations, include:

§  Ineligible participation as a result of multiple recruiting and extra benefit violations in women’s basketball and fencing;

§  the fencing program exceeding its maximum allowable countable coaches;

§  a countable athletically related activities (CARA) violation for women’s golf and women’s basketball;

§  head coach responsibility violation and ethical conduct violation for the former head fencing coach; and

§  a head coach responsibility violation for the former director of golf.

Ohio State had proactively self-imposed postseason competition bans for each of the involved sports for the 2020-21 year. Wins and championships for the fencing and women’s basketball programs that will be vacated, and additional penalties, include the following:

§  Women’s basketball Big Ten championships in 2017 and 2018;

§  the 2018 Big Ten tournament championship in women’s basketball;

§  women’s NCAA tournament appearances in 2017 and 2018, including a Sweet 16 appearance in 2017, and a 2019 Women’s NIT appearance;

§  52 women’s basketball wins (10 in 2016-17; 28 in 2017-18; 14 in 2018-19); 

§  Midwest Fencing Conference championships in 2016, 2017 and 2018;

§  NCAA fencing championship runner-up finishes in 2016 and 2017 and an NCAA third-place finish in 2018;

§  a 3-percent budget reduction in 2022-23 for the fencing program and 1-percent reductions for women’s golf and women’s basketball; and

§  scholarship and recruiting restrictions for the fencing program. 

Ohio State remains steadfast in its commitment to achieving excellence in athletics while fostering a culture of integrity and NCAA compliance. Ohio State’s four-year probation will end on April 18, 2026.

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COURTESY OHIO STATE ATHLETIC COMMUNICATIONS

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