Almost a year after undergoing intense NCAA scrutiny, Iowa State has been major-violation clean.
According to documents The Des Moines Register obtained through the state’s Open Records Act, Iowa State reported 27 infractions to the NCAA between April 1, 2013 and March 31, 2014 – all that the school and NCAA classified as minor.
At this time a year ago, the Cyclones were in the NCAA cross-hairs after 1,484 impermissible phone calls between 2008 and 2011 equaled 79 rules violations that the NCAA red-flagged for possible punishment. The university’s exhaustive self-examination included 750,000 total calls made by coaches during that time period.
Iowa State self-imposed two years of probation as part of the findings. Other school-imposed sanctions included a reduction in the number of coaches on the road recruiting, a reduction in the number of times coaches could call prospective athletes during a four-month period, and a program-wide five-week ban on initiating contact with recruits from between February and March 2012.
The NCAA agreed with the school’s action. No further punishment was ordered. All sanctions were served before the NCAA’s final ruling.
“The 2008-to-2011 (infractions) were mostly about improper documentation,” said Dustin Gray, Iowa State’s assistant athletic director in charge of compliance. “What’s changed is that everyone is completely aware of what they’re supposed to do, how documentation is supposed to occur, and how it’s supposed to be monitored.”
On the Eastern side of the state, the University of Iowa reported 24 minor violations during the 12-month period ending in March, while Northern Iowa reported 10, according to documents received by the Register.
Drake was asked to submit the same NCAA documentation of athletic department violations, but declined. Private schools such as Drake are shielded from Open Records requests.
The 61 reported violations by the state’s three largest universities during the 12 months examined ranged from typical to unusual — from inadvertent pocket-dialing potential recruits to a coach giving a female track athlete the religious book “Crazy Love.”
“The rules are so vast and at times so complicated, that people are going to make mistakes,” Gray said. “If you’re at zero, then you’re probably not monitoring like you should be.”
Self-imposed penalties by the three schools included rules education, admonishment letters, temporary recruiting restrictions and donations to charity.
Iowa State’s reported infractions total within the past 12 months is better than with big-time universities outside Iowa’s borders.
Ohio State recently self-reported 24 minor violations during just the last six months of 2013, most involving illegal communication with potential athletes.
Oklahoma reported 20 minor violations to the NCAA between August 2012 and February 2013, according to a study conducted by The Oklahoman newspaper.
“You don’t look at a specific number and say that’s a good number,” Gray said. “What you look at is how you’re monitoring and how you’re educating, and (whether) you feel good about those areas.
“I feel really good in that area.”
BE CAREFUL IN STORMY WEATHER
Rain forced an Iowa women’s tennis player to move lessons she regularly gives at a high school to the Hawkeye Tennis and Recreation Complex.
Using a university-owned facility to provide paid instruction is illegal, under NCAA rules.
The lesson ended. The head coach reported the infraction. The school’s self-imposed penalty included financial restitution and brushing up on the NCAA rule pertaining to athletes giving paid lessons.
NO PUBLICITY ALLOWED, PART II
Two unnamed Iowa football players were busted for modeling a line of clothes on a website.
It was a business they started on their own – a way for a couple college kids to make some cash, and who knows how lucrative their endeavor might be if it takes off sometime in the future.
The NCAA made the ingenious pair modify their website, though, citing a rule that states:
“A student-athlete may establish his or her own business, provided the student-athlete’s name, photograph, appearance or athletics reputation are not used to promote the business.”