WSU President John Bardo said the university will appeal only that part of the panel’s recommendations.
As the NCAA findings report, Coach Todd Butler uncovered this problem when he took over the program in November 2013. He immediately alerted the leadership of the Athletics Department. The NCAA was then informed, and WSU took steps to accept responsibility and correct past errors.
The violations principally involved an administrative assistant in the Athletics Department and players who didn’t realize they were acting improperly. They received a benefit – discounted merchandise – that wasn’t available to others.
We believe that the penalties of the one-year probation to be served, the $5,000 fine, and the player suspensions that are already completed are appropriate for these infractions. The student-athletes involved acted without guilty knowledge. It seems unfair to permanently tarnish the records they achieved as a team.
The university elected not to self-impose any specific penalties on the baseball program for the following reasons: (1) Because this was a Level II case with significant mitigation, NCAA penalty guidelines provide the option of having no institutional, competitive or recruiting penalties; (2) The primary violation in this case did not relate to financial aid or recruiting, thus a scholarship reduction or a recruiting limitation penalty would not fit this case; and (3) The violations in this case did not result in a competitive advantage.
The Athletics Department has revised its athletics apparel and equipment policies to ensure that no intercollegiate sport is able to interact with an athletics equipment and apparel manufacturer without the oversight of the equipment manager and sport supervisor.