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Occidental College Receives Failure to Monitor Charge

Occidental College, a Division III school near Los Angeles, received a charge of failure to monitor among other major violations. The violations arose out of impermissible benefits and recruiting by the women’s volleyball program and impermissible recruiting by the head football coach.

The head volleyball coach arranged for three of his athletes to work with him as assistant coaches for the youth team he coached at a tournament in Las Vegas. The father of a fourth student-athlete flew them to Las Vegas on a private jet, paid for their lodging, some food, and some entertainment while in Las Vegas. In addition to the extra benefits, one of the athletes scouted players for future recruitment. Student-athletes are not permissible off-campus recruiters, creating another violation.

The one Vegas trip was not an isolated incident. The coach allowed one of the athletes to use a rented Porsche for her birthday. On two other occasions, the coach brought athletes to Vegas for tournaments with the youth team, provided them with expenses, and had them evaluate prospects, all additional extra benefit and recruiting violations. Other inducement and practice violations also contributed to the findings of a failure to promote an atmosphere of compliance for the coach and failure to monitor for the institution.

As for the football violations, in Spring 2012, the head football coach composed a mass email to over 1600 athletes from previous recruiting cycles. He deleted names of athletes he knew were on a team, and directed those already on a team to ignore it. Everyone else was invited to transfer to Occidental. Eventually it was determined that 467 of the recipients were on teams, and had been contacted without permission.

As a result, the NCAA imposed severe penalties, including:

  • A two-year prohibition on off-campus recruiting in all sports that ends December 31, 2013.
  • A postseason ban for the volleyball program in 2013.
  • A two-year show-cause order for the former head volleyball coach, during which time he may not recruit off-campus; and
  • A show-cause order for the former head football coach (now at another school) prohibiting him from off-campus recruiting until December 31, 2013.

Occidental also vacated records and self-imposed the loss of off-season practice opportunities and one date of competition last season.

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