Saint Mary’s hit for recruiting violations
by George Schroeder, USA TODAY Sports
The NCAA slapped Saint Mary’s College with four years probation and suspended coach Randy Bennett for five games next season for failing to promote an atmosphere of compliance after uncovering major rules violations by a former assistant coach involved in international recruiting
In a report released Friday morning, the NCAA’s Committee on Infractions prohibited Bennett from off-campus recruiting during the current academic year after he was found to have “failed to promote an atmosphere for compliance and failed to monitor” the former assistant’s recruiting activities, both during and after the assistant’s time on staff, as well as a series of impermissible offseason workouts.
“These were all red flags,” said Conference USA commissioner Britton Banowsky, who is chairman of the NCAA’s Committee on Infractions, during a teleconference.
Although Saint Mary’s did not receive a postseason ban, the penalties were significant, including public reprimand, the loss of two scholarships in each of the next two seasons. The Gaels are barred from foreign tours for three years and from in-season tournaments for the next two seasons. The school won’t be allowed to conduct offseason “skill instruction” workouts with players for the next two seasons.
In a statement released by Saint Mary’s, Bennett said the report “fails to include important mitigating information and tells only part of the story. I’ll continue to review the report and consider my options.” He also called the penalties “clearly excessive.”
The former assistant coach was not named, but the biographical information contained in the infractions report matches that of former Saint Mary’s assistant Keith Moss. The former assistant was charged with unethical conduct and given a two-year “show-cause” order, effectively banning him from coaching at NCAA schools during that time span.
According to the Committee on Infractions report, the former assistant, who was an assistant during the 2008-09 season and then briefly moved to director of basketball operations before resigning the position in August 2009, “knowingly committed violations” while recruiting three players, including travel and lodging. The report also found the former assistant committed violations after he was no longer employed by Saint Mary’s. Those violations involved the placement of a transfer student from … [For more on Saint Mary's hit hard by NCAA for recruiting violations, click here.]