Fresno State Announces Self-Imposed Sanctions For Men's Basketball
Nov. 4, 2005
FRESNO, Calif.- California State University, Fresno President John D. Welty today (Nov. 4) announced self-imposed sanctions for National Collegiate Athletic Association (NCAA) rule violations regarding excessive telephone calls by former members of the men's basketball coaching staff.
"We have dealt with this issue with certainty to demonstrate that clear change is well under way at Fresno State," Welty said.
"This is a very serious set of sanctions for the university to set in place," Welty said. "We're taking this action because the university is on probation and there have been repeat violations in the program," he said. Fresno State's self-imposed sanctions, now authorized by President Welty, are:
- No telephone calls will be allowed to Sophomore prospective student-athletes (Class of 2008) during the '05-'06 recruiting period for this age group (June/July 2006);
- Only one telephone call to each Junior prospective student-athlete (Class of 2007) will be allowed during July of 2006.
- Official recruiting visits in the men's basketball program will be reduced by 50% (from 12 to 6) for 2005-2006 academic year.
The self-imposed sanctions respond to an investigation which confirmed a major violation had occurred as a result of the placement of 400-500 impermissible telephone calls by former head men's basketball coach Ray Lopes and other former members of the basketball coaching staff between April 2002 and November 2004. The university has worked with the NCAA to ensure that this case will not impact current student athletes' eligibility for the upcoming season.
Last March, Lopes resigned his position at the university after the impermissible calls surfaced. The university has worked with the NCAA in a review of recruiting telephone calls initiated by Lopes and his staff.
"President Welty acted decisively when this issue was first discovered last spring and he has been very clear regarding the changes which must occur relative to compliance within our athletics program," said Athletics Director Thomas Boeh. "He has assembled a new leadership team and it is our responsibility to foster a genuine `culture of compliance' here at Fresno State. To that end, we will continue to implement consistent and aggressive policies and procedures to ensure the adequate monitoring and compliance with all WAC and NCAA regulations.
"If the university weren't currently serving a term of NCAA probation, these phone calls might have been dealt with in a less severe way. However given the repeated violations in the past, that option wasn't open to us," Boeh said.
"The measures that we are announcing today are consistent with the President's directive and represent the next step toward facilitating a change in culture and the revitalization of the national reputation of the Fresno State Department of Athletics."
Men's basketball head coach Steve Cleveland said he was disappointed that the university had to impose the sanctions, but added that he fully supports the new direction under way in the athletics program. "That's why we came here...to make positive changes...that's what we will do," Cleveland said. "I'm in this for the long haul to make the Fresno State men's basketball program a point of pride for this university. I've made that commitment to our student-athletes, their families and our new coaching staff."
Final action by the NCAA on this issue is anticipated after a hearing with the NCAA Committee on Infractions, which is anticipated to occur in February of 2006.
Since the violations came to light last spring at the university, all members of the previous coaching staff have been replaced. Boeh has been hired as athletics director and a full compliance review was recently completed by an outside consultant. In addition, Boeh has appointed a new Senior Associate Athletics Director, Betsy Mosher, who has significant expertise regarding NCAA rules compliance.
The university is preparing a formal written response to the NCAA Notice of Allegations which will include information about the sanctions being self-imposed. A complete report will be available upon completion of the NCAA's review and action.