Return to Bylaw Blog

Northeastern State Self-Imposed Partial Death Penalty

Northeastern State University in Oklahoma was sanctioned by the Division II Committee on Infractions for major NCAA violations in their women’s tennis program. The violations were not that remarkable. The head coach regularly recruited internationally, and gave extra benefits to his athletes in the form of cash when they arrived, paying for textbooks and international fees, and buying them presents and meals on their birthdays.

The penalties imposed by the Committee on Infractions were nothing special either. The school was put on for one year, fined the maximum $5,000 for ineligible participation, and vacated wins from four seasons. The former head coach was given a two-year show-cause order during which he must only attend a Regional Rules Seminar, attend ethics training, and file monthly reports with the compliance office if he is employed at an NCAA member school.

What is noteworthy is the penalty that Northeastern State self-imposed in 2012: cancellation of the fall 2012 tennis season. That makes this one of the very few times that either a full- or partial season death penalty has been used in a major infractions case. It is similar to Baylor’s ban on nonconference games in the 2005–2006 season.

A half-season cancellation sounds like a severe penalty to self-impose in the face of violations that while major, do not appear to warrant such a penalty. In any case, it did not effect Northeastern State’s tennis team much. This year they bounced back from a 10–10 season in 2011–12 to go 23–4 in just the spring and advance to the Division II women’s tennis Sweet 16.

Are you ready for the NEXT STEP!