Feb. 25, 2011
BERKELEY - The following is a statement from Cal Athletics on the NCAA Committee on Infractions ruling on the Cal men's basketball program:
The NCAA Division I Committee on Infractions issued its ruling in a case concerning impermissible telephone calls by members of the University of California men's basketball staff Friday.
The Athletic Department uncovered the violations through its normal review and monitoring procedures. The calls in question were placed during a sixth-month period beginning in April 2008, just after a new coaching staff came on board. Cal initiated its investigation in September 2008 and promptly reported its findings to the Pac-10 Conference and NCAA. In addition, the department took internal corrective actions and independently imposed sanctions, including limitations on telephone calls to prospects, within the men's basketball office.
The case was considered narrow in scope and centered on 365 phone calls, of which the committee said 305 appeared to be "documentation violations," meaning that they could have been allowable had they been logged correctly or in a timely manner. The other 60 calls primarily broke NCAA rules on the number of calls to prospects that can be placed within a specific time period. As the NCAA report notes, misunderstandings on the part of some of the coaches led to "misapplications and erroneous assumptions regarding current NCAA recruiting legislation."
"I believe deeply in following NCAA rules and have always promoted an atmosphere of compliance within our program," said men's basketball coach Mike Montgomery, a former chair of the NABC Ethics Committee. "It is gratifying to know that during our NCAA hearing in Indianapolis that there was agreement among all parties that these violations were unintentional. However, that does not excuse them, and we need to remain diligent in our efforts to remain compliant. We strive to maintain a very high standard and take this situation very seriously."
During the media teleconference discussing the case Friday, Dennis Thomas, the commissioner of the Mid-Eastern Athletic Conference and chair of the Committee on Infractions, stated: "The violations in this case were a result of the men's basketball staff's neglect, rather than an intentional effort to circumvent the rules."
In its final report, the committee noted that Cal's compliance office "acted quickly" in educating the newly hired coaching staff and "had measures in place for monitoring recruiting telephone calls." Cal cooperated with the NCAA throughout the investigation and did not contest any of the infractions found by the committee.
"We strongly believe that the discovery of these violations is an indication that our compliance monitoring process is working as intended," Director of Athletics Sandy Barbour said. "When Mike Montgomery joined our program in April 2008, we knew we were hiring a coach know for his integrity who cares deeply about this student-athletes' college experience. He expects the same ethical behavior from every member of his staff. The manner in which Coach Montgomery and his assistant coaches have responded to and engaged in this process has only confirmed our initial beliefs."