University of Southern Indiana Athletics and other Great Lakes Valley Conference members will not see University of Wisconsin-Parkside in the post-season during the 2017-18 season among all sports.
According to a release by UW-Parkside, all athletic teams are banned from the GLVC post-season and NCAA Tournament play for committing nine NCAA secondary violations. The secondary violations are defined by the NCAA as “isolated or limited in nature.”
According to a release by GLVC Assistant Commissioner Jeff Smith, the conference will retroactively vacate UW-Parkside’s 2017 Wrestling Championship, 2016 Men’s Indoor Track and Field 5,000-meter Championship, and any win captured by student-athletes who have been ruled ineligible at the time of competition. Smith also stated in the GLVC release that the sanctions against UW-Parkside concluded that as many as 19 possible violations across 11 of the UW-Parkside’s 13 sports had occurred during the 2016-17 academic season. In addition, some of the possible violations still have not been self-reported by the institution.
UW-Parkside Chancellor Debbie Ford stated in a separate release that none of the violations involved academic fraud or criminal activity. Rather, the violations are for process and procedure mistakes involving amateurism and academic certifications.
“The sanctions imposed by the Great Lakes Valley Conference are unprecedented in relation to the violations,” said UW-Parkside Chancellor Debbie Ford. “This is not about the academic performance of our student-athletes. None of the secondary violations involved academic fraud or criminal activity. All nine were process and procedure mistakes involving amateurism certification, academic certification, and seasons of competition.”
Smith told 44Sports the investigation was led in part by USI president Dr. Linda Bennett, who is the chair of the GLVC Council of Presidents/Chancellors. Below is a portion of Bennett’s statement from the GLVC’s release:
“The sanctions imposed today are aimed just not to look after fellow member institutions, but also to assist the University of Wisconsin-Parkside with its corrective measures already in place to rebuild a culture of compliance on campus. The Council’s intent moving forward is that these interventions will create the needed practices to ensure positive external review of the athletics program at the end of the 2017-18 academic season, which would successfully terminate Wisconsin-Parkside’s probationary status with the GLVC.”
After self-reporting a potential ineligible student-athlete in February, the GLVC and UW-Parkside hired the Compliance Group to perform an eligibility audit of all current UW-Parkside student-athletes going back to the time when each athlete first competed at UW-Parkside. The GLVC and UW-Parkside also hired Athletics Services Consulting to conduct an operational review of the Athletics Department.
An audit revealed 14 possible instances that occurred over the past four years where proper compliance procedures were not followed, which prompted the NCAA to conduct its own investigation. The results of that investigation identified nine of the 14 possible instances as secondary violations. The other five were determined not to be violations.
The GLVC issued sanctions in late May and the university requested an appeal. New information was provided from the operational review and the NCAA findings during the appeal on Aug. 10. The GLVC, however, made no changes to the sanctions.
“Our student-athletes did nothing wrong,” Ford said. “The nine violations during the past four years were administrative mistakes.”
UW-Parkside announced the sanctions to its student-athletes Tuesday.