Brown U. Acknowledges Athletic Recruiting Wrongdoins
Internal report implicates several varsity teams
It is now up to the NCAA to decide whether Brown University should be punished further for the athletic recruiting violations it acknowledged last week.
With the release of a report of its own two-month investigation, the university implicated several coaches, an outside sports foundation and a handful of students in a series of infractions throughout 1999.
"This report represents nearly two months of intensive inquiry in close cooperation with officials from the Ivy League," said Janina Montero, the Brown vice president who headed the investigation. "I am confident that our review has discovered the full extent of the violations and that the remedies we propose will ensure that any problems or issues of concern will be fully addressed."
The report proposed solutions for the violations, but NCAA will decide whether or not to impose penalties of its own.
Jeffrey H. Orleans, the executive director of the Ivy League, said his organization has approved of Brown's remedies--but the final endorsement is contingent on the NCAA's
acceptance of the proposed fixes.
"Before we will endorse a report to the NCAA, we want to see a remedy as acceptable," Orleans said.
The remedies are as specific as the charges.
The report, released last Thursday, details what it terms the "improper" actions of several coaches, two students and eight recruits.
On several occasions and in violation of Ivy League policy, head football coach Phil Estes, men's basketball coach Glen Miller, men's soccer coach Michael Noonan and women's volleyball coach Diane Short tried to lure potential recruits by promising them financial aid deals underwritten by the Brown Sports Foundation, a non-profit organization which had no ties to the university.
Under league rules, Ivy schools cannot give athletic scholarships, and all financial aid is awarded strictly on a need-only basis. The report notes Brown's own financial aid rules had changed in 1999 to allow aid packages to be composed of both university and private funding sources.
Other violations included a Brown overseer having "inadvertently" talked to the family of a recruit.
In a self-determined response to the violations, Brown officials proposed solutions to pre-empt any NCAA action.
The most immediate effects will be the loss of several recruiting privileges. The football team will be allowed 10 percent fewer "official visits" by coaches this year. The football team will also be permitted five fewer enrollees over the next two years. The women's volleyball, men's soccer and men's basketball teams will have one fewer official visit next year.
Three coaches will have an official reprimand letter placed in their personnel files. Two coaches will be required to run any source of financial aid by the Brown financial aid office. Four administrators will be reminded of how careful they need to be in overseeing the awarding of outside financial aid.
The entire football coaching staff will be required to attend an NCAA compliance seminar and to take a closed-book exam on the NCAA's rules. The executive director of the Brown Sports Foundation will also be required to undergo similar seminars and the test.
Finally, the Brown Sports Foundation has been incorporated into Brown's development office, making it an official fundraising arm of the university and subject to university oversight.
Brown had declared the two students at the center of the matter ineligible for athletic play as a precautionary measure, but, following an NCAA decision, they were reinstated.
The eight recruits, meanwhile, will not face punishment. Some will enroll at Brown, and others have chosen to attend other colleges.
"The football matters all had to do with people who would be playing this coming year," Orleans said.
Although no school seems to be immune from the smallest of violations--an official visit past the allowed 48 hours because of weather conditions at the airport, for example--Orleans said infractions of Ivy League policy on the level of Brown's offenses are infrequent.
Ivy League student-athletes, Orleans said, should not feel pressured to play a sport in order to maintain access to a quality education.
"[Athletics] is a piece of the whole educational experience," Orleans said. "It's by no means the predominant piece."