Fresno State Receives Additional Probation for Violations

    Sept. 10, 2003

    FRESNO, Calif. - California State University, Fresno, will accept the penalties announced today by the National Collegiate Athletic Association and comply fully, said President John D. Welty.

    Following a joint investigation about possible rule violations dating from 1995-2002 in the athletics program, the NCAA assessed the following penalties on the university:

  • The NCAA has placed the university on probation for four years for violations of NCAA rules. The university had already self-imposed a two-year probation. Probation will end Dec. 4, 2006.

  • The NCAA required Fresno State to vacate the record of its performance in the 2000 NCAA Division I Men's Basketball Tournament and return 90 percent of the monies it earned for that appearance. The university had previously decided to forfeit games that included ineligible players and vacated the 2000 WAC championship.

    Overall, in the report of its findings, the NCAA Committee on Infractions chose to accept the "significant disciplinary actions taken by the university, including a voluntary postseason sanction in 2003, without adding additional substantive penalties."

    The NCAA review committee also singled out President Welty for his positive actions to resolve the rules violations. According to the NCAA, the president "is to be commended for demonstrating the university's commitment to accepting responsibility for these violations."

    Welty said that today's actions by the NCAA added the two additional penalties, and set additional review requirements for the university. Welty said he was pleased that the NCAA chose not to impose further serious sanctions on the university.

    "We appreciate the NCAA's acceptance of the severe actions we took to correct problems and self-assess penalties on our programs," Welty said. "We acknowledge there were clearly areas that needed addressing. Now, with our corrective measures and positive progress in these areas, we can put the problems behind us. We will continue to move forward in building an athletics program that student-athletes, the university and the community can be proud of."

    The NCAA official statement indicated that the university's self-imposed penalties in the last year were appropriate for the rules violations it found. The NCAA agreed with and adopted the actions taken by the university, noting that they represented "appropriate corrective actions and meaningful, significant self-imposed penalties."

    The NCAA committee concluded that, even though the university had taken appropriate corrective actions and self-imposed significant penalties, the seriousness of the rules violations that related to academic fraud, improper certification practices, and a failure to report evidence of violations, coupled with competitive advantages gained and a lack of institutional control, did warrant some additional penalties.

    In addition to a public reprimand for finding the rules violations, the NCAA increased the university's self-imposed probation from two years to four years, retroactive to the university's proposed Dec. 4, 2002. The NCAA required during the probationary period that the university continue to develop and implement a comprehensive education program on NCAA rules and develop compliance programs to deal with the problems identified during the NCAA and university review. The university will regularly report its progress to the NCAA.

    The NCAA accepted the university's self-imposed one-year ineligibility for postseason play last season as well as the self-imposed reduction of grants-in-aid by three during the 2004-05 and 2005-06 academic years. Coach Ray Lopes will decide which year two grants-in-aid will be reduced and which year one will be reduced.

    The NCAA concurred with the university's decision to forfeit all wins by the men's basketball team for any games in which student-athletes participated while ineligible and to forfeit its 2000 WAC men's basketball championship. The university will also vacate its team record and return any team awards from the 2000 NCAA Division I Men's Basketball Tournament. University records regarding men's basketball, as well as the record of the former men's basketball coach, will be changed to reflect the forfeited games.

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