College Golf Team In Hot Water Over Free Rounds

It’s not just college football and basketball that can run afoul of the NCAA. 

Earlier this month, the NCAA cited the University of San Francisco men’s golf team for recruiting violations by two former coaches of its men’s golf team.    

The NCAA committee on infractions cited the university for “failure to monitor” the program allowing coaches to engage in recruiting violations. The two coaches were charged with failure to promote compliance.  

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So what was the big violation by the school? Free golf.

According to the NCAA report, a former coach scheduled free rounds of golf for five prospects on a campus visit. It is against NCAA regulations for recruits to play for free during recruiting visits, and the head coach did not alert the compliance department of the engagement.

Another former coach also arranged free golf for prospects, driving range privileges and lodging for prospects. The coach also allowed impermissible contact between recruits and a booster. The coach purchased recruits meals, which is also a violation. The school was hit with the following penalties: 

  • Public reprimand and censure for the university.
  • One year of probation from April 6, 2018, through April 5, 2019.
  • A vacation of records in which men’s golf student-athletes competed while ineligible. The university will provide a written report containing the matches impacted to the NCAA media coordination and statistics staff within 45 days of the public decision release.
  • The men’s golf program will not be allowed to engage in any recruiting activity during the month of December 2018.
  • A three-month prohibition of recruiting activities with international prospects (self-imposed by the university).
  • A $5,000 fine (self-imposed by the university).

The school’s athletic department released a statement on the matter

USF became aware of the violations in late 2016 and immediately conducted an internal investigation. Following the internal investigation, the university turned over its findings to the NCAA in February of 2017 and enforced several self-imposed penalties on the program. Those penalties included: a suggested one-year probation, a fine of $5,000, vacating all team and individual records from the golf events in which the student athletes who received impermissible recruiting benefits as prospects participated, and a three-month recruiting ban with international prospects.

The school escaped the more serious “lack of institutional control” charge. The school declared student-athletes who received the benefits ineligible. The players in question all were reinstated for the 2017-18 season.  


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