The athletic department at Cheyney University is in trouble with the NCAA again. “Cheyney University has self-imposed two years of probation on its athletic department after self-reporting NCAA violations that occurred when multiple student-athletes were not registered with the NCAA’s eligibility center,” University President Michelle Howard-Vital announced in a news release Friday afternoon.
“As such, Cheyney athletes will voluntarily not participate in the PSAC/NCAA 2012-13 tournaments and will vacate victories of the affected programs.” In the release, Howard-Vital did not mention how many athletes and what sports were involved or when the violations took place. Calls to Howard-Vital’s office went unanswered. However, one source said that the university became aware of the infractions in January and immediately began an investigation. “All student-athletes that participated while ineligible that are still members of the institutions teams have gone through the reinstatement process,” Howard-Vital said in the release.
“All student-athletes were certified for competition during the 2011-12 academic year. “In addition to incorporating safeguards regarding certification of student athletes, the institution will increase compliance staff and increase NCAA rules education for students, staff and university personnel.” Interim athletic director Ruffin Bell said the infractions involve all sports but would not say how many athletes were involved. The university has nine varsity sports at the Division II level. Bell also said the investigation is ongoing. “I cannot comment any further,” Bell said. “Once the NCAA finishes its investigation we will have more information.” The NCAA could accept Cheyney’s self-imposed sanctions or decide that the punishment is not severe enough and impose even harsher penalties. This is the second time in five years that Cheyney has reportedly used ineligible players.
The university was put on three year’s probation in 2007 for a series of major violations in the football program. The violations included the use of ineligible players by the football program, unethical conduct by former coach Lee Brown as well as a failure to monitor and lack of institutional control. The most serious infractions occurred in 2004 when Brown knowingly used six ineligible players including five partial qualifiers, according to the NCAA. The players received extra benefits in the form travel expenses to away games. Four of those six players competed in at least one road game and a fifth took part in practice. The NCAA found that the violations were committed at Brown’s direction, even though he had been told two years earlier that ineligible players were not permitted to travel or participate in practice. The team had to vacate all team an individual records from 2004-06 and forfeit a total of four wins from that period, one in 2004, two in 2005 and one in 2006. In addition, Brown was put on a one-year, show-cause penalty, which would require any school that hired him to restrict his duties in the athletic department and demonstrate why it should not be penalized for hiring him. Brown was fired in 2004 after three lackluster seasons. The university had to complete a Compliance Blueprint Review Program by the end of the 2007-08 academic year and abide by all the recommendations by the reviewer. All individuals with athletic responsibility in admissions, housing, academic services, financial aid, compliance and registrar including the faculty athletics representative and athletics director had to attend a mandatory NCAA compliance seminar before the probation period ends. The probation was lifted in 2010. Referenced from Daily News