Q: What does this case mean for the future of FAMU Athletics?
In summary, seven of our programs will have post-season bans for the 2019-2020 academic year. They will face various scholarship reductions for the 2019-2020 academic years and recruiting restrictions for 2019-2020 and 2020-2021. The Department of Athletics will be on probation for five years through November 2024. In addition, any affected teams that had ineligible student-athletes compete for them will have a vacation of records between 2010-2017.
Q. Which teams will be affected by the post-season ban for 2019-2020?
Football, men’s and women’s basketball, baseball, volleyball and men’s indoor and outdoor track and field.
Q. Which teams will be affected by the vacation of records?
Twelve of the department’s 16 teams will be affected by the vacation of records.
Q. Are these penalties related to APR scores?
No, these penalties are the result of infractions that occurred when 93 student-athletes over an eight-year period were ineligible to compete in 12 sports from 2010-2017. Currently, none of our teams is serving any APR penalties based upon the 2017-18 data.
Q: What enhancements have been made to ensure that FAMU will not face these challenges again?
FAMU’s president, senior leadership, trustees and other stakeholders have worked closely with Athletics to address these issues. Campus personnel has been educated about the shared responsibility for NCAA compliance and have codified and strengthened policies and procedures. Upon his arrival in 2017, Athletic Director John Eason, Ph.D., worked to restructure the areas of compliance and student academic support to ensure that these individuals have extensive experience and are familiar with best practices for the athletics eligibility certification process for student-athletes. In addition, the Office of Compliance and Ethics, FAMU’s NCAA Athletic Representative and the Office of the Registrar are all heavily involved in this process. This follows NCAA best practices.
Q. What additional staff and measures have been added to ensure that FAMU follows NCAA guidelines and provides accurate reports and student support?
FAMU Athletics has enhanced its compliance staff to include an associate athletics director for compliance, assistant athletics director for compliance and a compliance coordinator. They have been provided with the resources necessary to effectively educate and monitor for NCAA compliance.
- Additional staffing upgrades include four certified academic advisors, a learning specialist and two designated employees in the Registrar’s Office who are extensively involved in the Athletics certification process.
- For the first time in the Athletic Department’s history, the new deputy athletics director has unique extensive academic credentials and management experience. She also serves as associate provost for Faculty Affairs and Academic Initiatives.
- All coaches participated in the NCAA professional development rules and regulations training in Atlanta in 2018.
- FAMU Athletics has taken measures to make significant facility upgrades, which include the addition of the Academic Learning Center.
- The University introduced a monitoring and audit function within FAMU’s Division of Audit and Office of Compliance and Ethics to allow for targeted oversight of athletics.
- FAMU Athletics also has another level of oversight from the State University System’s Board of Governors, via regularly scheduled meetings between the Board of Governors’ representative and president, Board of Trustees Chair, Chief Financial Officer, Athletic Director and budget representatives.
Q. How did the NCAA arrive at its conclusion?
Approximately every 10 years, the NCAA requires that each Division I institution participates in an NCAA data review, which focuses on student-athlete academic certification. After FAMU requested a delay in 2015, FAMU’s data review began in 2017. The review covered all sports during the 2012-2013 through 2016-2017 seasons.
After the NCAA completed our data review in late fall 2017, its enforcement staff informed the University that further review was warranted and the scope had to be widened to include the certification periods of 2010-2011 through 2016-2017. The University worked closely with their enforcement team in a spirit of cooperation to complete the review, which revealed NCAA academic eligibility infractions.