Distributed April 27, 2000
For Immediate Release
News Service Contact: Mark Nickel

Athletic recruiting violations

Brown concludes inquiry, files report with Ivy League, NCAA

Brown University has concluded its inquiry into alleged violations in athletic recruiting and has filed its final report with the Ivy League and the NCAA. The report lists several violations and outlines a wide range of penalties and remedies which the University will undertake pending NCAA approval.

PROVIDENCE, R.I. — Brown University has concluded its inquiry into alleged violations of recruiting rules in athletics and has filed its final report with the Ivy League and the National Collegiate Athletic Association. The report outlines several violations and recommends a range of penalties and remedies for persons and teams involved.

Brown’s report, accepted by the Ivy League and now awaiting review by the NCAA, identified several instances of improper offers of financial assistance from non-University sources to student athletes and incoming recruits. It also identified improper recruiting activities on the part of several coaches and improper contact with recruits by Brown Sports Foundation (BSF) staff and a small number of alumni.

The allegations involved two student athletes and eight prospects. Early in the inquiry, the NCAA reviewed the eligibility of both student athletes who received improper support from foundations; those athletes, who are currently enrolled at Brown, were promptly reinstated. The prospects who received promises of support from a foundation in question will be able to compete on Brown teams; their eligibility has been reviewed and cleared by the NCAA. No teams will be disqualified or required to forfeit games, pending approval of the report and its proposed remedies by the NCAA.

“This report represents nearly two months of intensive inquiry in close cooperation with officials from the Ivy League,” said Janina Montero, vice president of campus life and student services, to whom the athletic department has reported since January 1, 2000. “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.” Montero led the review and oversaw preparation of the final report, having been charged to do so by the president early last February.

“We have received the report and have accepted its findings and remedies with regard to Ivy League issues,” said Jeffrey Orleans, the league’s executive director. “We have forwarded it to the NCAA with our endorsement as to the NCAA issues it addresses.”

A change made to the University’s financial aid policy in February 1999 was a factor in the violations. All Brown students who qualify for financial aid receive a combination of University grants, which do not have to be repaid, and self-help requirements, including loans and campus employment. Until the change in policy, the University would reduce the size of its grant whenever students received supplemental scholarships (as, for example, from a civic or religious organization). Beginning with the Class of 2003, the University allowed students to use 100 percent of supplemental grants to reduce the self-help portion of their financial aid packages. That continues to be the University’s policy.

Athletes, however, face additional rules and regulations with regard to financial aid. If they receive supplemental grants from sources that are not available to non-athletes or if they receive special assistance not available to other students, then those supplemental grants can be considered the equivalent of athletic scholarships. The Ivy League prohibits athletic scholarships, and the NCAA strictly regulates the source of any aid for athletes and the circumstances under which it may be provided.

Violations outlined in the report

Financial aid from outside sources: Aid from one particular foundation was determined to be impermissible because “in practice, only athletes at Brown have applied, been offered, or received aid from this foundation.” The NCAA prohibits aid which limits the recipient’s choice of institution.

Extra benefits and inducements: The volleyball coach impermissibly contacted a foundation to endorse the scholarship candidacy of an athletic recruit. The head football coach provided prospects with information about a foundation which was later declared to be an impermissible source of financial aid. Another football coach improperly suggested that the foundations would furnish financial aid regardless of demonstrated financial need. Men’s basketball and soccer head coaches provided prospects with information about a foundation which was later declared to be an impermissible source of financial aid for athletes. The executive director of the BSF suggested to prospective student athletes and their families that foundations would furnish financial aid regardless of demonstrated financial need. An alumnus who qualifies as a representative of Brown’s athletics interests offered improper financial aid inducements to prospects.

Contact violations: An alumnus who qualifies as a representative of athletic interests at Brown had improper contacts with prospects and/or their families. A member of the University’s governing body inadvertently talked with a prospect’s family at a football banquet during an official visit to campus. The inquiry found that the Brown Football Association’s annual banquet was inadequately monitored to prevent impermissible contact between representatives of the University’s athletic interests and recruits or their families.

Ivy League Violations: With the knowledge of coaches and staff, prospects in football, men’s basketball and men’s soccer were offered aid based in part on their athletic ability by an outside foundation with ties to Brown. The executive director of the BSF and an assistant football coach improperly suggested to prospects and their families that foundations would furnish financial aid beyond demonstrated financial need. The families understood that this aid would be offered because the students were recruited athletes.

Remedies proposed in the report

Reprimands and admonishments: Three coaches will receive an official letter of reprimand. Two coaches will receive letters of admonishment requiring them to clear any source of financial aid through the athletic administration and the University’s Office of Financial Aid. Four administrators in the Department of Athletics and the Office of Financial Aid will receive letters of advisement about their necessary oversight with regard to outside scholarships. One alumnus will receive a letter about his role in supplemental financial aid. Another alumnus has resigned from his committee assignments at the University.

Additional personnel actions will be taken with regard to two individuals.

Education and oversight: All football coaches will be required to participate in extra NCAA and Ivy League rules education in addition to attending all scheduled Athletic Department rules meetings, to attend a spring 2000 NCAA compliance seminar, and to take this year’s required NCAA exam closed book. The executive director of the BSF will be required to attend individual NCAA rules meetings, to take periodic examinations on NCAA rules, and to submit monthly reports of all job-related activities to senior administrators. By this fall, Brown will establish a formal NCAA rules education program for all current and future BSF officers and staff, as well as members of “friends groups” for individual teams. A University financial aid officer and the athletics staff member responsible for financial aid matters will attend the annual NCAA compliance seminar.

By this fall, Brown will establish a review method of outside scholarships by both the Athletic Department and the University’s Office of Financial Aid to ensure that all such awards comply fully with NCAA and Ivy League rules. The University will also provide clear instructions to all coaches and Athletic Department staff regarding financial aid, particularly outside scholarships.

Brown will develop a plan for improved oversight at all banquets and other sports events to ensure compliance with NCAA and Ivy League rules. Prospects will be prohibited from attending team banquets during the 2000-01 academic year until the plan is in place and approved by the Ivy League.

Recruitment changes: The football team will be permitted approximately 10 percent fewer official visits for one year, the exact number to be determined by Brown and the Ivy League. The football team will be permitted five fewer matriculants next year, although this reduction might be spread over two years. No more than six football coaches may participate in off-campus recruiting during any one week throughout the 2000-01 academic year. The volleyball, men’s soccer and men’s basketball teams will each have their limit of official visits reduced by one for next year.

The Brown Sports Foundation: The BSF, created as an independently incorporated nonprofit foundation for the benefit of Brown athletics, is now part of the University’s Development Office. It supports and coordinates all sports fund raising at the University. A committee of senior Brown administrators will conduct a thorough review of the BSF’s continued relationship with the Department of Athletics, the Development Office and the University as a whole. The review will determine correct staffing, reporting and oversight needs to ensure that the BSF’s role in Brown athletics will be limited to and consistent with its fundraising mission. Pending completion of that review and at least through the 2000-01 academic year, the BSF staff is prohibited from any official or unofficial contact with prospective student athletes and from any involvement in visits or other activities involving prospects while they are on campus. The BSF staff is also prohibited from providing otherwise permissible assistance to current student athletes, including assistance with finding summer or part-time jobs.