October 29, 2008
University of the District of Columbia Responds to NCAA Report
Washington, DC -- The NCAA Division II Committee on Infractions Report, released today, marks the official end of an exhaustive internal review conducted by the University of the District of Columbia (UDC) and the official end of the NCAA’s own investigative inquiry into the policies and practices of the institution’s Intercollegiate Department of Athletics for the 2000-2001 through 2003-2004 academic years.
In response to the report, President Sessoms, who assumed the reigns at UDC just two months ago declares, “UDC understands and accepts today’s ruling by the NCAA Infractions Committee.” Sessoms further states, “The penalties proposed in the Committee’s report are consistent with our own recommendations and what we have already self-imposed. We understand that during the years 2000-2001 through 2003-2004 UDC failed to effectively carry out its responsibilities and obligations as a Division II member institution. UDC regrets that the violations occurred. The University has already taken proactive steps to ensure future compliance with all NCAA regulations.”
Five years ago, UDC officials first became aware of possible NCAA violations within the Men’s Basketball Program. An initial inquiry revealed that, in addition to Men’s Basketball, other areas of the Athletic Department were seriously deficient and out of compliance with NCAA Division II requirements. Subsequent review revealed at that time that the staff was not following the NCAA rules. The initial internal review elevated into a full internal audit and investigation. The vast majority of violations cited in the NCAA’s Official Notice of Allegations (received by the University in January of 2008) and cited by the Committee in its Report today were discovered and self-reported by the University during a lengthy, but thorough investigatory process.
The University’s final submission consisted of five volumes with over 1,500 pages of self-reports and findings and more than 70 exhibits. In addition, the University’s final submission also included a detailed Corrective Action Plan. The Corrective Action Plan outlines a series of steps undertaken as early as the 2004-2005 academic year to address the identified deficiencies in the Athletic Department.
Corrective measures included the following:
• Revamping and retooling the Office of Compliance with additional resources such as a Compliance Committee and an actively engaged Faculty Athletics Representative;
• Establishing policies and procedures to effectively address and monitor the eligibility and certification processes of all student-athletes, including transfer students and international students;
• Codifying a protocol in the Office of Financial Aid for administering athletic scholarships and preventing athletic scholarships from being over-awarded;
• Demonstrating a sincere commitment to NCAA rules education as evidenced by the additional rules review sessions with University staff as presented by the Director of Compliance and the Counsel for Athletics;
• Sending one of the largest contingents of University staff (coaches and administrators) to NCAA Regional Rules Seminars during the past two years;
• Forfeiting nearly 150 competitions over the four year investigatory period and across all affected sports programs;
• Reevaluating and changing, where necessary, athletics staff and their administrative and coaching duties; and
• Developing a specific written procedure whereby the Office of General Counsel works in conjunction with the Athletic Department in order to review and respond in a timely manner to possible university policy and/or NCAA rules violations
“Another important part of our Corrective Action Plan,” acknowledged Terri Jackson, UDC Counsel for Athletics, “is having applied for and been accepted to participate in the NCAA’s Compliance Blueprint Review in Spring 2009. An even greater in-depth review with focused and committed staff will give us the necessary next steps and enable us to build an even better program.”
The NCAA Division II Committee on Infractions report marks the official end of the University’s exhaustive investigation as well as the official end of the NCAA’s own investigative inquiry. In determining penalties, the Committee on Infractions “considered the university’s self-imposed penalties and corrective actions.” The penalties affecting the entire program are as follows: Five years probation, a post season ban (2009-2010) in all sports, the University will be required to reduce scholarships in select sports, reduce recruiting activities and vacate wins.
“The process was long. The process was sometimes painful. Nevertheless, everyone here at UDC would agree that the process was constructive and necessary”, stated Board of Trustees Chair, James Dyke. Dyke further went on to add, “When we look back on our distant past, we realize that includes a time when the University did not meet all of its obligations as a Division II member. Our recent past, however, demonstrates tangible evidence of real change. Our present and our future Athletic Department promises to be one of the finest. The Board’s expectations are that Dr. Sessoms will raise the standards to the highest level, compliance will be the rule and not the exception and student-athletes and their coaches will bring a real spirit of competitive drive to the Firebird program.”
UDC officials are available to discuss the NCAA Division II Committee on Infractions Report and the University’s Intercollegiate Athletic Department’s corrective measures and next steps. The following are available: University President, Dr. Allen L. Sessoms, Board of Trustees Chair, James L. Dyke, University General Counsel, W. David Watts and Counsel for Athletics, Terri Carmichael Jackson.
The University of the District of Columbia is the fully-accredited sole public source for accessible, inclusive, affordable, and comprehensive public higher education in the District of Columbia and provides additional life-long learning opportunities. The University delivers quality instruction and uses student-centered approaches to empower and benefit both individuals and its local communities. The University, an urban land grant institution, is a very diverse community, a gateway to the world, and a significant investment engine for the District of Columbia. The University is located at 4200 Connecticut Ave, NW Washington, and is conveniently located at the Van Ness/UDC stop on the Red Line of Metro. For more information on other University activities, contact Mike Andrews, Senior Director for Communications and University Spokesperson at (202) 274-5685 or visit the University’s web site at www.udc.edu.