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NCAA hands Kean Athletics probation, postseason ban

By Ryan Gaydos
On April 20, 2012


The NCAA handed all of Kean University's athletic programs a four-year probation that will last until April 18, 2018 and has banned the women's basketball team from postseason play during the 2012-2013 season.

All athletic programs will have to submit annual reports to the NCAA and send representatives for regional seminars unless each program will face harsher penalties.

Kean is also being told to vacate all records for former head coach Michele Sharp's women's basketball team during the 2010-2011 season. This team reached the NCAA Tournament and posted a 24-5 record.

Sharp was dismissed as women's basketball coach earlier in the season due to the findings that student-athletes received special benefits within the women's basketball program.

According to the 26-page NCAA public infractions report, the organization released that "in the spring and summer of 2010, without input from the athletics administration, the former head coach was involved in establishing a three credit-hour course to be offered in conjunction with her team's summer trip to Spain. Because of the way the course was established, it could only be taken by the members of the team and was not available to any other students. As such, it constituted an extra benefit under NCAA legislation. A further extra benefit was provided when arrangements were made for the student-athletes on the trip to receive institutional aid to cover a portion of their financial contribution toward the cost of the trip."

The report also mentioned, "On a December 2011 trip to a basketball tournament in Florida, the former head coach provided extra benefits of cash to two members of the women's basketball team. Though the former head coach knowingly committed the violations, claiming there were extenuating circumstances, she did not report the violations to any member of the athletics administration or other institutional authority during or subsequent to the trip. The former head coach also arranged for a student-athlete to use the plane ticket of a former student-athlete to travel to the Florida tournament without requiring the student- athlete to pay for the ticket."

The report also said that the Kean athletics department never consulted the NCAA to see if there were any infractions that were being committed.

Kean was also cited for extra benefits violations.

"On January 4, 2011, the institution provided an extra benefit by changing student- athlete 1's grade in her 2010 Introduction to Women's Studies summer course from an "F" to an "incomplete." The grade change was made before student- athlete 1 had exhausted the remedies afforded her under the institution's grade grievance policy. Prior to the grade change, student-athlete 1 had a grade-point average below 2.0, making her ineligible for competition under the institution's definition of academic good standing. The grade change caused student-athlete 1's grade-point average to rise above a 2.0, allowing her to participate in a January 5, 2011, competition."

Among everything else within the report, lastly, it says Sharp "failed in her duty to promote an atmosphere for compliance in her program."

Kean University Athletic Director said in a statement, "I am confident the university has addressed concerns identified by the NCAA Committee on Infractions; indeed, the university already self-imposed the majority of the penalties accepted and announced by the Committee, as noted in the NCAA report. We will comply with all of the NCAA's directives in a spirit of cooperation and true sportsmanship."

"While I am disappointed for women's basketball student-athletes that the NCAA decided to impose a post season ban for 2012-2013, I think it is important to state that the majority of the committee's report affirms what the university itself had determined took place. The University accepted responsibility for the infractions and had already imposed significant corrective actions and sanctions prior to appearing before the Committee."

Morgan also said the University has no plan to appeal any of the NCAA's actions.

While the rest of the programs will have to cope with the probation, it is sad to see the women's basketball program get such a harsh punishment. The team has by far been one of the most successful teams within Kean University and now it will have to take 10 steps back to recoup from these punishments.



Click here to read the full report.

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