UB Responds To NCAA Infractions Case
BUFFALO, NY To follow is the University at Buffalo’s official statement released on March 21, 2001 in regards to the NCAA Infractions Case against the UB men's basketball program. If you would like to read the NCAA's official press release it can be found online at the following address: http://www.ncaa.org/index_march.html
At the end of May, 1999, during a routine exit interview, a student-athlete alleged to our director of compliance, Mr. William Maher, that NCAA violations had occurred in our men's basketball program during the time that he was being recruited and while he was enrolled at the University at Buffalo. At the student's request, a second meeting was arranged with athletics director, Mr. Robert Arkeilpane, at which time the student elaborated on the allegations and provided specific details.
Accordingly, Mr. Arkeilpane and Mr. Maher promptly notified the appropriate University officials, and the Division of Athletics immediately began to look into the allegations. After several weeks of diligently exploring the allegations, it became apparent that there was, at the very least, probable cause to believe that the coaching staff for men's basketball had engaged in systematic violations of NCAA regulations. In such cases, the Mid-American Conference (MAC) is prepared, at the request of a particular campus, to conduct a comprehensive investigation. That request was made by UB in early August 1999.
In September 1999, MAC Senior Associate Commissioner Mr. Robert Fournier began an investigation on behalf of the Conference which culminated with a report to University President, Professor William R. Greiner, in mid-November 1999, documenting numerous NCAA violations. Upon receipt of the report and in accordance with institutional policy, the University, under the direction of Mr. Dennis Black, Vice President for Student Affairs, conducted its own internal review of the MAC findings before acknowledging its acceptance of the report and working cooperatively with the Conference to develop a series of corrective measures based on prior case precedent. Additionally, the resignation of the men's basketball coach and the restructuring of the director of compliance's relationship to include a reporting line to the University President were also seen to be corrective in nature.
In January, 2000, officials from the University at Buffalo and the former men's basketball coach appeared before the Mid-American Conference Infractions Committee, comprised of one representative from each of the 13 member institutions, to participate in the presentation of the case. At the conclusion of the hearing, the Infractions Committee voted unanimously to accept the findings of Mr. Fournier's report along with the corrective measures. The University was notified and the report was then submitted to the NCAA Enforcement Staff.
In February, 2000, the University at Buffalo received a preliminary letter of inquiry from Mr. David Price, Vice President for Enforcement Services at the NCAA, indicating that they had begun their own investigation. At that time, the University pledged to continue its full cooperation and assistance in the investigation with the goal of bringing the case to closure as expeditiously as possible. The investigation by the NCAA continued through mid-November, 2000, at which time the University received an official letter of inquiry from Mr. Price.
In his official letter, Mr. Price identified and detailed all NCAA regulations alleged to have been violated, requested that the University disclose all relevant information pertaining to the allegations and informed the University that an appearance by representatives of the institution before the NCAA Committee on Infractions would be necessary.
The results of that hearing, which took place on February 9, 2001, in Tampa, Florida, were released earlier today by the NCAA Committee on Infractions. The report accepts the findings of the MAC investigation, the subsequent UB internal review of the MAC findings, and the findings of the NCAA enforcement staff. The NCAA Committee on Infractions accepts the sanctions that were developed by UB in cooperation with the MAC. In addition, the NCAA Committee on Infractions imposed several penalties, including a limitation on the number of official paid visits in men's basketball to eight such visits during the 2001-02 and 2002-03 academic years.
UB accepts the report and its findings in their entirety, although we are considering the possibility of an appeal with respect to a single sanction, the limitation on the number of official paid visits.
At this time, the University at Buffalo would like to publicly express its gratitude to the following organizations and individuals for their thorough handling, fairness and commitment to the truth throughout this entire process.
· Professor Jack Friedenthal (chair), the members of the NCAA Committee on Infractions and staff Director Mr. Shepard Cooper
· Mr. David Price, Mr. Thomas Hosty, Ms. Stephanie Hannah, and Mr. Kevin Pearson (formerly) of the NCAA Enforcement Staff
· Mr. Rick Chryst, Commissioner of the Mid-American Conference
· Mr. Rob Fournier, former Sr. Associate Commissioner of the MAC and now Athletics Director at Wayne State University
· Professor David Jamison (chair) and the members of the Mid-American Conference Infractions Committee.
· Mr. Lewis Rosenthal, Associate Counsel, State University of New York
· Dr. Dennis Malone, Faculty Athletics Representative, University at Buffalo
· Mr. Dennis Black, Vice President for Student Affairs, University at Buffalo
· Mr. Bob Arkeilpane, Director of Athletics, University at Buffalo
· Mr. Bill Maher, Associate Athletics Director, University at Buffalo
Finally, the University recognizes and gratefully acknowledges its appreciation for Mr. Reggie Witherspoon, our current men's basketball coach. Under extraordinary circumstances, Mr. Witherspoon has worked to bring stability to a program that has been, and will continue to be, impacted by corrective measures at a time when the competition level has increased dramatically with our entrance into the MAC.
With the conclusion of the investigation today, this statement will comprise the University at Buffalo's official and final statement on this matter.