MISSOULA — The University of Idaho will serve a two-year probation, has been fined $5,000 and will have other recruiting restrictions for several violations that were found during an NCAA probe into the men’s basketball program.
All the violations happened under former Vandal coach Don Verlin, who was fired in June 2019. The rules violations happened between November 2015 and February 2019.
Verlin was the head coach of the Vandals for 11 years and also served a one-year show cause order.
“Vandal Athletics has cooperated fully with the NCAA through its investigation,” Idaho athletic director Terry Gawlik said in a statement to the Idaho Statesman. “As the recently appointed athletic director at Idaho, I continue to look for improved processes across our department.”
The violations mostly circle around recruiting and how two non-coaching men’s basketball staff members were used.
According to the negotiated resolution between Verlin, the University of Idaho and the NCAA, an undergraduate manager was used for coaching activities.
“In October 2016, the head coach promoted an undergraduate manager (undergraduate manager) to the director of men's basketball operations, even though the undergraduate manager was still a full-time undergraduate student at the institution during the 2016-17 year,” the resolution reads. “The head coach's motivation in promoting the undergraduate manager at that time was to allow him to receive additional compensation.”
During this time, the undergraduate manager, who is not named, was doing many of the same duties following his promotion to director of men’s basketball operations. Compliance was not informed of the change in the manager’s responsibilities. During the period of violations, the manager was also engaged regularly in many on-court activities.
The violation was discovered in October 2018 during a spot check by compliance. Another violation was also discovered several months later, in February 2019, during a road trip in Montana when Verlin “impermissibly utilized” an undergraduate manager as a stand-in during a scout team walk-through when the team had several players injured and did not have sufficient players to have a full scout team.
A play-card holding violation was also found as an undergraduate manager and the director of men’s basketball operations were found to be using decoy play cards. Following the discovery of the violation, which was minor, the play calling card responsibility was handed off to the men’s basketball manager.
The men’s basketball manager, which is a specific position outside of an undergraduate manager, can perform in this function, but only if they are in their final semester. An investigation found that due to an academic oversight, the men’s basketball manager was not eligible to perform this function because he was not technically in his final semester.
Unrecorded scrimmages including potential prospects were also an issue for Idaho, which meant they were in violation of countable athletically related activities (CARA). While the coaches were not actively engaged in the scrimmages that have been highlighted, sitting in the stands constituted an NCAA violation.
Together, the violations are in Level II territory. Some penalties have already been self-imposed by the Vandals.
Outside of the probation, fine and show-cause order, here are the other penalties Idaho will have to serve:
- A restriction of men’s basketball unofficial visits for a three-week period in the fall of 2019.
- A reduction in the maximum number of men’s basketball official visits by four during the 2018-19 and 2019-20 academic years.
- A restriction of all men’s basketball recruiting communications for a two-week period beginning Nov. 22, 2020.
- A reduction in the maximum number of men’s basketball recruiting person days by 16 during the 2019-20 academic year.
- A one-year show-cause order for the former head coach. During that period, if he is employed by an NCAA member school, he must attend an NCAA Regional Rules Seminar in 2020 or 2021.
- If he is employed at an NCAA member school, the former head coach must be suspended from the first two games of the regular season during the 2020-21 season.
- A reduction of men’s basketball countable athletically related activity by 16 hours total in the summer and fall of 2019.
- A reduction of men’s basketball countable athletically related activity by one hour per week throughout the 2019-20 regular season.
- The university eliminated the director of men’s basketball operations position during the 2019-20 academic year.
- The university must require all men’s basketball staff members to participate in a NCAA Regional Rules Seminar in 2020 or 2021.
- Public reprimand and censure.