Washington’s Statement Regarding Decision by NCAA Committee on Infractions
SEATTLE – Today, the NCAA Committee on Infractions (COI) released its decision regarding a self-reported, unintentional violation involving the University of Washington baseball program. The Level II-Mitigated violations are related to the receipt of impermissible travel benefits by the parents of prospective student-athletes for official visits. The University of Washington strongly disagrees with the ruling and in support of its student-athletes will appeal this decision to vacate wins.
Full NCAA Report
As the COI acknowledges in its report, the violation was discovered in September 2018 and immediately self-reported by Head Coach Lindsay Meggs. The program and department have an established history of self-reporting Level III or secondary violations. The violations occurred due to a good-faith misunderstanding between former members of the baseball coaching staff and former members of the compliance staff. The former baseball staff members inaccurately thought that the NCAA rule allowing for institutions to pay for parents' travel in the sports of football and basketball applied to other sports as well, including baseball.
Upon self-discovery and self-reporting, UW then worked cooperatively with the NCAA to reinstate the eligibility of the involved prospects, which happened immediately. Also noted by the COI, the UW took affirmative steps with the NCAA enforcement staff through the investigation process to expedite final resolution of the matter, as well as took acceptance of responsibility and imposition of meaningful corrective measures and penalties. Finally, the NCAA also acknowledged the violations were unintentional, limited in scope and represent a deviation from otherwise compliant practices by the UW.
The Committee of Infractions decision today finds that the involved three student-athletes participated while ineligible and UW should have withheld them from competition even though UW was not aware that the violations had occurred at the time the student-athletes participated in competition. The inadvertent violations provided no recruiting advantage as all three student-athletes had verbally committed to the UW prior to taking their official visit.
Today's ruling does not include a post-season ban and will not have a direct impact on current or future members of the program.
"We take pride in approaching competition with integrity, and I deeply appreciate our athletics program's commitment to compliance, which resulted in our identifying and reporting the issue ourselves," said UW President, Ana Mari Cauce. "I am confident the issue has been resolved and our leaders and coaches will continue to uphold our values and dedication to fairness and transparency."
"We are extremely disappointed with the ruling by the NCAA Committee on Infractions on this self-reported violation," said Director of Athletics, Jennifer Cohen. "The University of Washington holds itself to the highest standard of compliance integrity and did everything possible in this situation to correct the mistake. Coach Meggs and our baseball program have built a culture of compliance and this violation was uncovered and reported by him. We have full confidence in Coach Meggs and his leadership of our baseball program moving forward. Our commitment is to our students and protecting the tremendous achievements they have accomplished, and we will continue to take the necessary steps to do this through the appeal process."
"I'm disappointed for our baseball program and for every Husky player past and present who is dealing with today's news," said Meggs, head baseball coach. "Since taking over this program, my coaches and I have made it a priority to build and foster a culture of integrity and compliance, and today's news will not change that. I'm grateful for the support that President Cauce, Jen Cohen and our entire athletic administration have provided us since day one. It only reinforces what a privilege it is to be involved in athletics at the University of Washington."
The University of Washington implemented several corrective actions to strengthen overall compliance measures specific to monitoring travel and self-imposed penalties including: reduction in official visits for a two-year period and $5000 fine. The NCAA COI also imposed the following penalties: vacation of wins from the contests the ineligible student-athletes participated in during the 2018 season, reduction in official visits for the 2020-21 academic year and the standard one-year probation.