Tide’s player personnel director & the NCAA

Report: Alabama’s director of player personnel committed major NCAA violations at Central Florida
Don Kausler of the Birmingham News reported tonight something that might concern Alabama fans—an athletic department employee committed major recruiting violations while at the University of Central Florida.

According to the Birmingham News, “Ed Marynowitz, who joined coach Nick Saban’s staff in December 2008, served as UCF’s recruiting administrator in 2007. He is not named in the Public Infractions Report released Thursday by the NCAA, and neither is the other former UCF staff member.” Also, “According to the Sentinel, the former director of player personnel is Steve Rubio, who now is at Tennessee. He was involved in a recruiting issue last fall that was examined by the Southeastern Conference, according to The New York Times.”

Considering Rubio’s recidivism at Tennessee what does this mean for Alabama? Was Rubio’s transgression at Tennessee just something that happens while under the influence of HOstesses and Lane Kiffin? Or was it a fundamental inability to follow the rules? Marynowitz isn’t Rubio, but it is fair to wonder. The NCAA infractions report provided some details on the situation regarding Marynowitz (though the report doesn’t use his name.)

According to the NCAA report (major portions reproduced below), “Since his hiring, the former recruiting administrator has maintained “an exemplary track record” of both commitment to rules compliance and communication with the institution’s IACO. As the director of football’s recruiting efforts and due to the complexity of Bylaw 13, the former recruiting administrator is in more frequent contact with the IACO than any other institutional employee. These contacts focus around interpretations of Bylaw 13, the permissibility of recruiting actions and being present for all additional or regularly scheduled rules education provided to members of the football staff. … Regarding the former recruiting administrator’s cooperation with the UCF investigation, the NCAA director of enforcement informed the institution that the former recruiting administrator, both prior to and while employed at his current institution, remained completely forthcoming and cooperative. The current employing institution questioned the enforcement staff specifically about the former recruiting administrator’s actions during the investigation and was informed that he cooperated fully and consistent with the spirit of the cooperative principle.”

The NCAA report also sheds light on how Alabama intends to monitor compliance. According to the report, “While the institution was satisfied by the former recruiting administrator’s statements and actions as an employee, it nonetheless took additional steps to ensure the problems that happened at UCF would not reoccur at his current institution. The compliance resources at the institution will serve as an initial barrier to violations. The institution has six full-time compliance members and two 20-hour-per-week employees, including one director whose entire job is to focus on Bylaw 13 monitoring, and another who serves as a full-time compliance-education specialist. Software is employed at the institution to monitor 100 percent of calls and text messages made from the land and cellular lines of all institutional employees. The system monitors all prospect numbers, as well as their families.”

From the NCAA Public Infractions Report:

The enforcement staff, institution and the former recruiting administrator is in agreement on this finding and that violations of NCAA legislation occurred. The committee finds that the violations occurred.

The former recruiting administrator began his employment with the institution in August 2006 as a football graduate assistant for administration. In June 2007, he assumed duties as a football recruiting administrator. His primary responsibilities involved assisting with on-campus recruiting activities, which included preparation for and coordination of official and unofficial visits by prospects. However, in accordance with NCAA legislation, as a non-coaching football staff member, he could not make telephone calls to, receive telephone calls from or send text messages to prospects or their parents.

During the spring term of the 2007-08 academic year, as a routine function of the institution’s monitoring of its intercollegiate athletics programs, the university’s office of athletics compliance (OAC) conducted its quarterly audit of telephone calls and records. During the course of the review, the OAC discovered irregularities in the former recruiting administrator’s telephone records. On March 4, 2008, the institution began conducting interviews regarding possible violations involving the former recruiting administrator placing and/or receiving impermissible telephone calls and text messages. The university’s inquiry revealed that, beginning June 6, 2007, and continuing through February 6, 2008, the former recruiting administrator placed and received telephone calls from approximately 17 prospects or their parents prior to their signing National Letters of Intent.

In reference to the text messages, the former recruiting administrator sent 70 text messages to prospects or their parents, 28 text messages were sent prior to the NCAA ban on text messaging and 42 text messages were sent after the ban. The former recruiting administrator acknowledged that he received rules education from the institution’s OAC and was aware of the text messaging ban beginning August 1, 2007. He expressed remorse and stated that he executed poor judgment in sending the text messages.

In reference to the impermissible telephone calls, from June 6, 2007, through February 6, 2008, the former recruiting administrator placed 80 impermissible outgoing telephone calls to prospects or their parents (which are included in the 141 telephone calls referenced in Finding B-1-a). Twelve of these calls were placed during weeks in which members of the football coaching staff also made an otherwise permissible telephone call. The former recruiting administrator’s impermissible telephone calls resulted in the institution exceeding the applicable limit (e.g., not more than one phone call per week) in 12 instances involving seven different prospects. Additionally, the former recruiting administrator placed three telephone calls to prospects or their parents prior to September 1 of the prospects’ senior year of high school.

The former recruiting administrator maintained that his initial purpose for placing the phone calls was for “administrative reasons” (e.g., logistical information on official visits such as arrival times, means of transportation etc.). Because of this responsibility, he had the contact information of various prospects stored in his cellular telephone. He was aware, however, that he could not actively recruit. Despite this, he acknowledged that during the course of the phone calls, the content of the conversations often transitioned to general topics which are generally considered to be recruiting subject matters, such as asking prospects about their school work, their success in their football season, personal goals as well as providing support and encouragement to many of the prospects. As a result of this activity, several currently enrolled student-athletes identified the former recruiting administrator as their “recruiting coach” during the time they were being recruited by Central Florida.

From the Penalties section:
In accordance with Bylaw 19.5.2.2-(l), the committee required that the former recruiting administrator’s current employing institution to suspend him from his duties for a two-week period of time commencing on January 21 and concluding on February 4, 2010. Further, the former recruiting administrator shall attend, at his own expense, an NCAA Regional Rules Seminar in 2010. No later than February 26, 2010, the university shall submit to the office of the Committees on Infractions a letter documenting compliance with the suspension of the former recruiting administrator. Further, within one month of attending the seminar, the former recruiting administrator must provide to the office of the Committees on Infractions a list of those sessions attended at the seminar, together with his certification of attendance.

From APPENDIX 2:
Former Recruiting Administrator’s Current Employing Institution.
Overview
On May 14, 2009, the former recruiting administrator current employing institution received a letter from the NCAA enforcement staff requesting it to submit a response in connection with the summary disposition of a major infractions case involving the University of Central Florida (UCF) and the former recruiting administrator. The former recruiting administrator is employed by that institution as an administrative staff member. In response to, the letter, the employing institution conducted an evaluation of the former recruiting administrator’s role in potential violations at UCF and his job performance since becoming employed in his new position and the likelihood of him committing future NCAA rules violations. Based on its evaluation, the university concluded that the former recruiting administrator should be retained and that, during his tenure at that institution, it is unlikely he will be involved in additional NCAA violations.

On December 1, 2008, the institution’s head football coach, acting within the scope of his duties, hired the former recruiting administrator as “director of player personnel” for the sport of football, with the primary job duties including coordinating the recruiting activities of the football program, but other ancillary duties included serving as a liaison between football and athletic student services, acting as liaison between the football camps and the institution, and oversight of a portion of the football support staff.

Prior to the former recruiting administrator’s hire by the current employing institution, UCF began examining recruiting phone calls and text messages made by the former recruiting administer while he was employed at UCF in the football program that were contrary to NCAA legislation. At the time of his hiring by the current institution and continuing through May 2009, the UCF investigation was ongoing. Consequently, it was unknown whether that investigation would result in major infractions, secondary infractions or no violations against UCF and whether the former recruiting administrator would be at risk for a show-cause order. During UCF’s investigation, the institution remained in contact with the NCAA’s director of enforcement for the UCF case regarding the matter. In May 2009, the NCAA’s director informed the institution that UCF’s case was going to be major and that the former recruiting administrator would be deemed at risk for a show-cause order.

Analysis of the Former Recruiting Administrator’s Performance
When the current employing institution learned that the case at UCF involved a major infraction in football, the institution’s director of athletics temporarily placed the former recruiting administrator under the direct supervision of the Intercollegiate Athletics Compliance Office (IACO) while a review was conducted. Under the supervision of IACO, the former recruiting administrator was allowed to continue scheduling recruiting travel for the football coaching staff, logging recruiting days and evaluations used, and ensuring football coaches did not duplicate recruiting calls to or evaluations of prospects.

Additionally, the IACO used this time to gauge the former recruiting administrator’s knowledge of NCAA legislation and provide him with enhanced education in all areas of compliance. As a result, the former recruiting administrator was exposed to the breadth of compliance at a major Division I institution and the manner in which all aspects of the athletics program are scrutinized internally in detail. It should be noted that the former recruiting administrator’s duties during this review did not involve scheduling on-campus recruiting logistics for prospective student-athletes.

During the time the former recruiting administrator was suspended from working independently with the football program, the institution conducted a careful review of his performance. The directive of this review, set forth by the institution’s president, was very clear: if the former recruiting administrator was not making concerted efforts to ensure compliance in all areas in which he works and oversees, his employment would be terminated. Additionally, if the former recruiting administrator was found not to have cooperated fully with the investigation at UCF or was found to have intentionally violated NCAA legislation, his employment would likewise be terminated.

Since his hiring, the former recruiting administrator has maintained “an exemplary track record” of both commitment to rules compliance and communication with the institution’s IACO. As the director of football’s recruiting efforts and due to the complexity of Bylaw 13, the former recruiting administrator is in more frequent contact with the IACO than any other institutional employee. These contacts focus around interpretations of Bylaw 13, the permissibility of recruiting actions and being present for all additional or regularly scheduled rules education provided to members of the football staff.

Additionally, the former recruiting administrator reviews all outgoing mail campaigns with the IACO. In these activities, the former recruiting administrator has been attentive, diligent and engaging with the IACO. He has made a concerted effort to ensure all aspects of the football recruiting program are compliant with NCAA and Conference legislation. Through this evaluation period, the former recruiting administrator, as well as others on the football administrative team, received additional rules education and administrative oversight by the IACO. Records were spot checked, as were recruiting communications. All have been compliant. The former recruiting administrator’s supervisor in football, which is the associate director of athletics for football, stated that the former recruiting administrator is doing an excellent job and highlighted his organizational skills and ability to learn quickly. The IACO notes that the former recruiting administrator has maintained a transparency in his work and been accommodating of all requests made to ensure rules compliance.

Regarding the former recruiting administrator’s cooperation with the UCF investigation, the NCAA director of enforcement informed the institution that the former recruiting administrator, both prior to and while employed at his current institution, remained completely forthcoming and cooperative. The current employing institution questioned the enforcement staff specifically about the former recruiting administrator’s actions during the investigation and was informed that he cooperated fully and consistent with the spirit of the cooperative principle.

Risk of Future Violations.
The current employing institution did not know that the former recruiting administrator’s former institution (UCF) would be facing major violations at the time it hired him. Once that fact became clear, the institution took immediate action and conducted a thorough review of the former recruiting administrator’s actions at UCF, his actions at his current institution, and the risk his employment posed to his current institution’s ongoing commitment to compliance with all NCAA legislation. When detailing his actions at UCF, the former recruiting administrator was forthcoming with institutional staff members and remorseful that his actions placed his former employer at risk. The former recruiting administrator stated that in hindsight, he should have done more to seek out correct interpretations of NCAA legislation and that he is now committed to doing so. While the institution was satisfied by the former recruiting administrator’s statements and actions as an employee, it nonetheless took additional steps to ensure the problems that happened at UCF would not reoccur at his current institution. The compliance resources at the institution will serve as an initial barrier to violations. The institution has six full-time compliance members and two 20-hour-per-week employees, including one director whose entire job is to focus on Bylaw 13 monitoring, and another who serves as a full-time compliance-education specialist. Software is employed at the institution to monitor 100 percent of calls and text messages made from the land and cellular lines of all institutional employees. The system monitors all prospect numbers, as well as their families.

Thus far, the former recruiting administrator has recorded no call or text violations. The IACO conducts monthly compliance educational meetings at which the former recruiting administrator is required to be present. Additionally, the former recruiting administrator is sent educational newsletters, regular bulletins and rules reminders on updated interpretations and legislative changes.

Remedial Actions
Regarding actions taken specifically for the former recruiting administrator because of his involvement in an NCAA infraction at UCF, the institution required the former recruiting administrator to attend an NCAA Regional Rules Seminar in 2009 and will require him to continue doing so for the duration of his employment. The former recruiting administrator will be required to attend all recruiting sessions, as well as new legislation and other sessions that may benefit the former recruiting administrator or those working with him. The IACO meets with the former recruiting administrator individually on a weekly basis to discuss developments in football recruiting. The IACO will continue to monitor 100 percent of the former recruiting administrator’s telephone calls. The former recruiting administrator will be required to attend both coach’s compliance meetings and administrative compliance meetings. The former recruiting administrator will continue to take the recruiting examination each year to allow the IACO to assess his rules knowledge. Remediation will be provided in any deficient areas.

Conclusion
The former recruiting administrator’s current employing institution is fully committed to NCAA rules compliance. While deeply disappointed in the former recruiting administrator’s involvement in an NCAA infraction at his prior institution, the institution does not believe the former recruiting administrator is a risk to commit violations in his current position. The former recruiting administrator’s acknowledgement of prior violations and remorse for his actions, his commitment to operating in a transparent manner, his communication with the IACO and the significant barriers to committing rules violations placed around him all contribute to the institution’s willingness to retain the former recruiting administrator. It has been made clear to the former recruiting administrator that should he deviate from the path set before him or should his commitment to rules compliance waiver one time, his employment will be immediately terminated. But, if he continues to strengthen the recruiting office’s compliance efforts and grow as an employee at an NCAA member institution, pending the decision by the Committee on Infractions, institution sees no reason why he should not be allowed to continue his employment at an NCAA member institution.