Sports

NCAA appeals committee upholds decision to vacate North Carolina Central wins

North Carolina Central coach LeVelle Moton encourages his team during the first half of the team’s First Four game against Texas Southern.
North Carolina Central coach LeVelle Moton encourages his team during the first half of the team’s First Four game against Texas Southern. AP file

The NCAA announced on Wednesday that North Carolina Central must vacate wins in football, baseball and men’s basketball. The decision was announced by the NCAA Division I Infractions Appeals Committee, which upheld penalties issued in May.

The NCAA had issued numerous penalties against N.C. Central in the spring, citing “improper eligibility certifications” at the school and “the institution’s failure to monitor its certification process,” which are both Level II violations, according to the NCAA.

The NCAA’s case involved 22 student-athletes in seven sports, including men’s and women’s cross country and track and field teams, and baseball, football and men’s basketball teams from 2012-17.

According to the NCAA’s public infractions decision, “The improper certifications came from a single, but repeated, error of counting foundational courses toward student-athletes’ percentage-of-degree completion. Outdated degree auditing and academic advising systems were another factor that contributed to the violations. Additionally, the academic support and certification groups did not have enough staff to oversee the certification process. Because of the improper certifications, 22 student-athletes competed while ineligible. The university also did not withhold six of the student-athletes from competition before they were reinstated.”

NCCU filed for an appeal, but the vacated wins will stand, the NCAA announced Wednesday.

N.C. Central had no immediate response to a request for comment about the NCAA’s decision.

According to the NCAA, NCCU argued in its appeal that the Committee on Infractions should not have vacated the records based on three reasons: The Committee ignored directives from Division I membership to avoid disproportionate penalties on student-athletes; the Committee ignored Level III case precedent involving the same or similar violations; and the competitive advantage rational should not apply to the university’s situation because the violations were the result of a clerical or technical errors.

NCCU released a statement Wednesday afternoon: “The university said The university is disappointed by the NCAA’s decision not to grant its appeal and has now exhausted all available appeal opportunities regarding this matter. NCCU will update the records for these three sports in which involved student-athletes competed while ineligible.”

In May, the school announced in a statement that an academic performance review in September of 2016 revealed an administrative error regarding the certification process athletes on the men’s and women’s cross country and track and field teams, and baseball, football and men’s basketball teams.

Here are the penalties N.C. Central received:

▪ Two years of probation from May 30, 2018, through May 29, 2020.

▪ Vacation of records, including all regular-season competition and conference tournaments. The men’s basketball team will vacate 16 wins from the 2012-13 season. The football team will vacate 21 wins over the course of four seasons (2012-15) including the 2014 and 2015 conference co-championships. The baseball team will vacate 21 wins over two seasons (2013 and 2014).

▪ The institution will pay a self-imposed $5,000 fine to the NCAA.

▪ Public reprimand and censure. (Self-imposed.)

The penalties imposed did not include any additional competition penalties, scholarship reductions or recruiting restrictions.

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Sports reporter Jonas Pope IV covers college recruiting, high school sports, NC Central and the ACC for the Herald-Sun and The News & Observer.


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