Saint Mary's Men's Basketball Cited for Rules Violations From NCAA Committee on Infractions
Saint Mary’s College of California has been notified by the National Collegiate Athletic Association’s (NCAA) Committee on Infractions that the institution has violated NCAA rules and has been penalized for failing to monitor its men’s basketball program; for recruiting violations by a former assistant men’s basketball coach; for impermissible training and skill sessions; and for compliance and oversight failures by Head Coach Randy Bennett. The College cooperated fully throughout the investigation with the NCAA Enforcement Staff.
College leadership has decided to accept the findings of the report, but will consider seeking an appeal on the penalties.
The penalties include a five-game suspension for Coach Bennett during the 2013-14 academic year in addition to a prohibition on off-campus recruiting for a one-year period. In addition, the Committee has instituted a four-year probation period and two scholarship reductions – from 13 to 11 – in the 2014-15 and 2015-16 academic years. Additionally, a former assistant coach, who was associated with the College from May 2008 to August 2009, received a two-year show cause penalty. If the former assistant coach seeks employment at an NCAA member school during that two-year period, he and the school must appear before the Committee on Infractions to determine why he and the school should not be subject to NCAA penalties.
“Saint Mary’s was founded on principles of integrity, service and Catholic values and we expect all in our community to act according to those values,” said Saint Mary’s President Brother Ronald Gallagher. “We are proud of our achievements in athletics and of the commitment of our staff and students to the College’s principles. We have taken—and will take—further steps to monitor our compliance and to ensure that our coaches, staff and students abide by all rules and regulations.”
“We do many things right but we can always do better,” said Director of Athletics Mark Orr. “As the Committee on Infractions report reveals, we can all do a better job of ensuring that our staff and student-athletes positively reflect the College in everything that we do. Coach Bennett understands Saint Mary’s strong commitment to NCAA rules compliance and we will continue to work with him to ensure that compliance remains paramount. We have already undertaken many corrective actions in response to the NCAA investigation and I am confident that we are a stronger institution because of them.”
“I am disappointed,” Head Coach Randy Bennett said. “I cooperated fully with the investigation and accepted responsibility where I came up short. The penalties are clearly excessive and although I’m still reviewing the report and trying to understand it, I know already that the report fails to include important mitigating information and tells only part of the story. I’ll continue to review the report and consider my options.”
In advance of the NCAA report, the College voluntarily implemented corrective actions including:
- Improving oversight and compliance procedures, including the hiring of a full-time compliance officer
- Issuing formal permanent disassociation with former assistant coach
- Reduced from 13 to 12 maximum men’s basketball scholarships during 2014-15 year
- Reduced from 12 to 9 official visits during 2012-13 and 2013-14
- Reduced number of recruiting days (from 130 to 85) during 2012, 2013-14 academic years
- Prohibited Randy Bennett from off-campus recruiting during July 2012 and April 2013 periods
- Reduced the number of coaches (from 3 to 2) recruiting off-campus at one time during 2012-13.
Saint Mary’s has a proud athletic tradition that reflects successes on the field of competition, championship achievements and, most importantly, sportsmanship and class. It will continue to strive for success in athletics, but within the confines of integrity and with full compliance with College and NCAA rules and regulations.
For more information about the NCAA Committee on Infractions report visit ncaa.org.