Statement From Baylor President Robert B. Sloan Jr. Regarding Men's Basketball InvestigationFeb. 26, 2004
Baylor University President Robert B. Sloan Jr. announced the findings from the university's basketball investigation committee during a news conference Thursday, Feb. 26, on campus. Other participants in the news conference were investigative committee member Bill Underwood and outside counsel Kirk Watson. The news conference is available in the archives of BaylorTV.com.
Statement from Baylor President Robert B. Sloan Jr. Regarding Men's Basketball Investigation February 26, 2004
During the course of Baylor University's investigation of allegations related to the men's basketball program, I have reaffirmed that near to Baylor's heart is a commitment to integrity. I emphasize again that Baylor's commitment goes beyond meeting the requirements of NCAA rules. It is a commitment to ourselves and our Lord as a Christian institution. Faith, integrity and honesty matter.
Consistent with that commitment, I announced findings of wrongful conduct on August 8, 2003, after only a few days of work by the committee charged with responsibility for investigating allegations. I also announced significant preliminary sanctions and, promised to report to the public when there was significant activity to report.
The investigative committee has lived up to its mandate of conducting a thorough and aggressive investigation of the basketball program. By doing so, the committee has assisted the University in seeking to achieve its core convictions of honesty, integrity, openness and accountability. Today, we continue putting these core values into practice, as evidenced by the new leadership of our men's basketball program.
I am announcing today that the investigative committee has completed this phase of its work. Baylor University will report the committee's findings along with self-imposed sanctions and corrective measures to the NCAA early next week.
However, consistent with Baylor's commitment and my commitment to be open and frank about this investigation, I want to provide a summary of findings for you.
The investigative committee and I have determined that there have been additional serious or major infractions as defined by NCAA Bylaws beyond those announced in August of last year. Of course, all of the infractions found by the committee will be self-reported by the University to the NCAA.
* The University has found that the former head men's basketball coach made improper educational payments on behalf of two student-athletes. This has been reported previously. However, the University also has determined that the former coach engaged in unethical conduct by making the payments and engaging in an effort to conceal his activity and providing false information to the University's investigators.
* The University has determined that members of the men's basketball coaching staff made and arranged for meals on behalf of more than one student-athlete or prospective student athlete, made improper transportation payments on behalf of more than one student-athlete or prospect on more than one occasion, provided improper lodging for more than one student athlete or prospective student athlete on more than one occasion and provided apparel to more than one person on more than one occasion.
* Members of the basketball coaching staff improperly paid tuition and fees to another institution on behalf of a prospective player prior to the player's enrollment at Baylor.
* The former men's head basketball coach violated NCAA rules by soliciting representatives of the University's athletics interests to make charitable contributions to an organization that sponsored AAU basketball teams that included prospective student athletes. Contributions amounted to at least $87,000 and involved at least 17 people, including two members of the Baylor University Board of Regents, Jim Turner and Wes Bailey. The investigation showed that none of the money was used to induce prospective student-athletes to attend Baylor.
The University has previously self-disclosed this to the NCAA. After a thorough investigation of this matter, the University has found no personal responsibility on the part of the people who were induced to make contributions. In fact, without these people's voluntary cooperation, the University may never have learned of these contributions.
* The Athletics Department failed to report positive drug test results to University Disciplinary official in violation of internal University procedures.
* The head men's basketball coach and the University failed to exercise appropriate institutional control over the men's basketball program.
The former head men's basketball coach obviously failed to adequately supervise his staff and then actively participated in numerous major infractions. The University is embarrassed that its various administrative systems allowed these violations to go undiscovered. There were red flags that should have been noticed.
* The University will also report a number of "secondary infractions" as that term is defined by the NCAA. These infractions include providing the parent of a prospective student-athlete excess tickets for games; the presence of coaches while prospective student-athletes played basketball during official visits and improperly observing recreational activities during a visit; on at least two occasions, more than one student-athlete being present at meals with prospective student-athletes during official visits; providing a student-athlete with a short term loan of $100; and providing improper meals, apparel and transportation.
CORRECTIVE ACTIONS TAKEN BY THE UNIVERSITY
Membership in the National Collegiate Athletic Association requires an institution to accept the responsibility of self-regulation. Beyond NCAA requirements, Baylor seeks to accept responsibility for maintaining the highest standards. The University has imposed widespread corrective measures designed to ensure that the deplorable conduct which occurred within the men's basketball program is never repeated.
This is because it is important to Baylor University to safeguard against future infractions within the athletic program. Our commitment to integrity requires us to critically evaluate ourselves and then be willing to institute programs to protect against or prevent future wrongful conduct. I take this obligation to learn from our mistakes and act upon the lessons seriously. So, I'm announcing a number of institutional corrective measures.
* As previously announced, Baylor has instituted new drug testing protocols that assure proper testing and remove athletic personnel from any involvement in the process. Any positive drug test will be automatically reported by medical personnel to appropriate disciplinary authorities of the University.
* Because the University has failed to adequately monitor the men's basketball program, we have invited the Big XII Conference to conduct independent compliance audits of the athletics department beginning in April of 2004 with follow-up audits in 2005 and 2006. The Conference has agreed to conduct these audits.
* I have determined that the University's failure to adequately monitor the men's basketball program was partially due to an inadequate allocation of resources to the compliance staff, so therefore that staff has been expanded from two to three full time employees.
* We will also expand the compliance education program. The compliance staff will develop and implement a comprehensive educational program on NCAA legislation to instruct coaches, all athletics department personnel and all university staff with responsibility for certification of student-athletes for admission, retention, financial aid or competition. We will also schedule seminars in Waco, Dallas and Houston and provide other means of education and information to educate boosters regarding NCAA legislation that affects them. We will retain nationally recognized outside advisors to help establish and implement this program.
* The compliance staff will file with the director of the committee on infractions annual compliance reports by August 8, 2005 and 2006.
* Now, two significant scandals have rocked Baylor University over the past 10 years. These scandals occurred under different administrations. They were under different athletics directors. They involved different coaches.
But there were nonetheless significant similarities in circumstances that led to both scandals. Both involved the recruitment and enrollment of student-athletes whose backgrounds suggested they were probably not going to be able to meet the academic standards of Baylor University and should not have been recruited to Baylor University. In both instances, there was significant recruitment of junior college players with questionable academic credentials. In both instances, fear that the students would not be eligible at Baylor led to scandalous conduct. In the 1994 instance, the students did not qualify, resulting in coaches committing academic fraud to put them in a position to play. In this most recent situation, the coach recruited "back up" players in case scholarship players were not academically eligible. If a scholarship player was determined to be ineligible, a back up player would fill the slot and receive a scholarship. But, the students ended up qualifying. This created an unavailability of scholarships for student-athletes that had been recruited. And, so, the coach attempted to keep the players and cover up the situation by paying the educational expenses of those players and evade NCAA restrictions on scholarships.
Let me be clear, the students and prospective students were not responsible for the very serious violations of NCAA regulations by members of the men's coaching staff. The responsibility for those violations rests with the coaches and the University. I also want to say that Baylor University has some outstanding young men and women playing in its sports programs-the kind of student athletes in which we can have great pride and hold up as examples. But unless we take some action to address known problems, the University community will continue being periodically embarrassed by athletic scandals that more than offset any benefits associated with participation in intercollegiate athletics.
I am appointing a task force to consider standards for the recruitment of student-athletes to ensure they have the academic backgrounds and personal attributes required to succeed at Baylor University. This task force will be chaired by Grant Teaff, current executive director of the American Football Coaches Association, who was also recently named to a similar post for the NCAA. I will ask the task force to report back to me in 90 days and to look into mechanisms for assuring that the University, in the hiring of its coaches, builds a culture of character in the athletics department, making Baylor an attractive place for young men and women who will represent us well. I am very proud of our current staff of coaches and look forward to any input they may have as well.
* Additionally, the Office of Financial Aid will immediately report to the Faculty Athletics Representative the identity of each student-athlete who is not the recipient of a full grant in aid and who is more than 10 days delinquent in settling their financial accounts.
* The final corrective measure that I will mention is that there will be no further exhibition games against AAU Teams.
I note that the Big 10 Conference has called for an end to these exhibition games. We will voluntarily impose such a restriction.
PENALTIES IMPOSED BY THE UNIVERSITY
Within 19 days of this investigation beginning and on the very day that major infractions were uncovered on August 8, 2003, I imposed sanctions of near unprecedented severity. These sanctions included:
1. A two-year probationary period (including a periodic in-person monitoring system and written institutional reports).
2. No post-season play for 2003-04, including no participation in the Big 12 tournament.
3. Perhaps most significantly, I announced the unprecedented sanction of offering an immediate release to each and every student-athlete in the men's basketball program and to assist them in obtaining waivers of NCAA and Big XII Conference transfer restrictions.
The committee and I expected, and the sanction has had, an immediate and extraordinary numerical and competitive impact on the men's basketball program. The three leading scorers from the previous season obtained their releases. With the assistance of the University, they obtained waivers of NCAA and Big XII conference transfer restrictions. These waivers allowed them to transfer to other member institutions and immediately become eligible for competition. The University also secured on their behalf a waiver of the Big XII Conference rule that costs players transferring within the conference one year of eligibility. Lawrence Roberts transferred to Mississippi State University, where he is among the leading scorers and rebounders in the Southeastern Conference and is a finalist for the Naismith Award as the National College Player of the Year. John Lucas, III, transferred to Oklahoma State University, where he is the second-leading scorer on a team which has been ranked in the top 10 nationally and is a leading candidate for recognition as Big XII Player of the Year. Kenny Taylor transferred to the University of Texas, where he is among the team's leading scorers. The University's top incoming recruit, Tyrone Nelson, also accepted the University's offer of a release and matriculated at Prairie View A&M rather than attending Baylor.
A key fact that is sometimes lost in analyzing this sanction is that it not only has an impact on this year, but it has an impact on subsequent years because those receiving the releases and who left were underclassmen. Under the 8-5 Rule, the loss of four underclassman this year will have ramifications and serve as a penalty for years.
We knew at the time I imposed these sanctions that they were significant and could be devastating. They were the right thing to do.
I said at the time I imposed these sanctions, however, they were only preliminary and, after the investigation was complete, I may impose additional sanctions. Having completed the internal investigation, I am now imposing these additional sanctions.
1. The probationary period shall be extended by one year through August 8, 2006.
2. Financial aid awards in men's basketball shall be reduced from 13 to nine in 2004-05 and from 13 to 12 in 2005-06. Coupled with the four financial aid awards forfeited by granting releases to Lawrence Roberts, John Lucas, III, Kenny Taylor, and Tyrone Nelson in 2003-04, this results in nine financial aid awards forfeited.
3. Expense-paid recruiting visits in men's basketball will be reduced from 12 to eight for 2004-05 and from 12 to 9 for 2005-2006.
4. The number of coaches permitted to recruit off campus will be reduced from three to two during summer evaluation periods for the next two years.
5. The number of evaluation days shall be reduced by five during specified contact periods through April of 2006. The number of contact days shall be decreased by five for the off-campus recruiting periods September 2004 through April of 2006 (September 2004, April 2005, September 2005, April 2006). In addition, Baylor's evaluation days shall be reduced by 10 for the winter recruiting periods that commence during November of 2004 and 2005.
6. The University will re-certify that the current athletics policies and practices conform to all requirements of NCAA legislation.
7. Only one exhibition game will be played in 2004-05. One fewer game is appropriate because an exhibition game was played with an AAU club after an improper financial arrangement commenced.
The additional sanctions, like those imposed before, are significant. The collective weight of these sanctions may well be unprecedented in the NCAA. But, Baylor's integrity and honor must be protected. To under-deliver would be an error. It is my sincere belief that we have achieved success in the investigation of wrongdoing. We have been thorough, complete and willing to seek out any information that would help us reach the truth regardless of its consequences. I also believe that the corrective measures and sanctions, as harsh as they may be, are necessary. But, we move forward with a renewed commitment to our high standards and core convictions with optimism regarding our future while striving to abide by what is right.