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University sends NCAA final report on
student-athlete certification issue
Feb. 3, 2009 --
certification issues discovered last August at Arkansas State
University, an external investigation concluded there was “no unethical
conduct or purposeful intent to certify student-athletes as eligible for
competition contrary to National Intercollegiate Athletic Association
“This matter has been very distressing to all those involved in
intercollegiate athletics at Arkansas State University,” said ASU
Chancellor Robert L. Potts. “However, I am pleased that the concerns,
once discovered, were immediately reported to the proper entities for a
full investigative review. Following the review, Arkansas State
University began implementing the investigative group’s recommendations
to correct this matter as well as to ensure full compliance with NCAA
certification rules in the future.”
In light of the inadvertent mistakes made in the certification of 21
student-athletes, the school is self-imposing a penalty for the
certification errors made by the university. In addition, ASU officials
have taken steps to correct campus certification procedures.
In a letter dated Jan. 29, 2009, Chancellor Potts notified the NCAA
enforcement office in Indianapolis, Ind., of the results of the
investigation and steps taken to address its findings.
The institutional monetary penalty of $43,500 was calculated from a
formula outlined in NCAA Bylaw 19.5.1, which is a $500 fine per
student-athlete multiplied by the number of athletic contests played
while ineligible. The maximum fine per student-athlete is $5,000.
Questions surrounding inappropriate academic certification of the
student-athletes surfaced in August 2008. The discrepancies lay in
inconsistent evaluations of transfer credit hours to ASU and the
calculation of hours toward degree completion. None of the
student-athletes were accused of any wrongdoing.
Once ASU officials learned of the infractions, Chancellor Potts informed
the NCAA and the Sun Belt Conference of the situation, and ASU requested
waivers for the 21 student-athletes. The NCAA granted the requests for
waivers for all except one who was withheld from athletic competition
for 15 games.
An internal examination by ASU, along with an external review by the Sun
Belt office and The Compliance Group, an outside consulting firm
specializing in certification procedures, followed. This external
review, conducted in November 2008, was led by Dr. Kathy Keene,
associate commissioner for compliance at the Sun Belt Conference, and
Rick Allen, consultant with The Compliance Group.
The report provided a list of recommendations to prevent similar
inadvertent violations in the future. Chancellor Potts has requested
that Dr. Dean Lee, director of athletics, and Dr. Dan Howard, vice
chancellor for Academic Affairs and Research, oversee the implementation
of all recommendations contained in the report.
In the final report to the NCAA, Chancellor Potts noted that the campus
personnel involved with the miscalculations of the academic
certification formula for the student-athletes in question are no longer
involved with athletic certification responsibilities.
“We apologize to the NCAA and its members for our inadvertent errors in
this matter,” concluded Chancellor Potts. “We trust that the definitive
steps we have taken will ensure full compliance in the future and
adequately penalize the university for mistakes of the past.”
As of Tuesday, the NCAA had not given its response to the university’s
Support documentation, including the ASU Student-Athlete Certification
Review, may be obtained through the following link: