NCAA upholds vacation of records penalty

Here is the official release from the NCAA.

NCAA Division I Infractions Appeals Committee Upholds Records Penalty for University of Alabama, Tuscaloosa
INDIANAPOLIS – The NCAA Division I Infractions Appeals Committee has upheld the vacation of records penalty for University of Alabama, Tuscaloosa.

In June 2009, the NCAA Division I Committee on Infractions penalized Alabama for major violations involving 16 sports in its athletics program. The violations included a failure to monitor by the university and impermissible benefits obtained by 201 student-athletes through misuse of the university’s textbook distribution program.

Penalties in the case included three years’ probation, vacation of records and a $43,900 fine.

The university appealed only the vacation of records penalty, which affected its football, men’s tennis and men’s and women’s track and field programs. The university argued on appeal that the vacation of wins penalty was excessive such that it was an abuse of discretion as it did not consider the university’s cooperation. The university also argued that the penalty: (a) was not consistent with past cases which included a vacation of records; and (b) did not follow previous textbook case precedent.

In its affirmation of the penalty, the Infractions Appeals Committee disagreed. It noted that the Committee on Infractions mentioned several times in the public report that it had considered the university’s cooperation. Further, when discussing the role of case precedent in penalty decisions, the Infractions Appeals Committee noted that two cases are seldom exactly alike and that the Committee on Infractions must have latitude to tailor the penalties to the specific facts of each case.

In considering the university’s appeal, the Infractions Appeals Committee reviewed the notice of appeal; the transcript of the university’s Committee on Infractions’ hearing; and the submissions by the university and the Committee on Infractions.

The members of the Infractions Appeals Committee who heard this case were Christopher L. Griffin, Foley & Lardner LLP, chair; Susan Cross Lipnickey, Miami University (Ohio); Jack Friedenthal, George Washington University; William Hoye, Institute for the International Education of Students; and Allan A. Ryan Jr., Harvard University.