The UTEP softball and football programs committed violations, according to an agreement released by the Division I Committee on Infractions.
The university, former softball head coach and NCAA enforcement staff agreed the former softball head coach provided additional practice time or individual workouts to student-athletes, exceeding daily and weekly hour limitations for such activities. The former softball head coach also failed to provide a mandatory weekly day off for student-athletes.
Additionally, the parties agreed that the former softball coach allowed graduate assistants to provide skills instruction to student-athletes during extra workout sessions, regular practices and occasional competitions. This resulted in the program exceeding the maximum allowable countable coaches in at least four separate academic years, from the 2016-17 academic year through November 2019.
According to the agreement, the former softball head coach violated head coach responsibility legislation when she did not promote an atmosphere of compliance because of her personal involvement in the violations and because she did not monitor her staff’s involvement.
The university, football head coach and NCAA enforcement staff also agreed that noncoaching football staff members engaged in coaching activities. Specifically, defensive and offensive quality control specialists provided skills instruction during practices. As a result, the program exceeded the maximum allowable countable coaches in two academic years, from the 2018-19 academic year through spring 2020.
The parties also agreed that the football head coach is responsible for the violations in his program because he did not monitor his staff and detect the impermissible skills instruction. The football head coach acknowledged he was ultimately responsible.
This case was processed through the negotiated resolution process. The process was used instead of a formal hearing or summary disposition because the university, the former softball head coach, the football head coach and the enforcement staff agreed on the violations and the penalties. The Division I Committee on Infractions reviewed the case to determine whether the resolution was in the best interests of the Association and whether the agreed-upon penalties were reasonable. Negotiated resolutions may not be appealed and do not set case precedent for other infractions cases.
The university and the enforcement staff used ranges identified by the Division I membership-approved infractions penalty guidelines to agree upon Level II-mitigated penalties for the university and Level II-standard penalties for the former softball head coach and the football head coach. Those penalties, approved by the Committee on Infractions, are detailed below:
- One year of probation.
- A $5,000 fine.
- A one-year show-cause order for the former softball head coach, including a four-week suspension from all coaching activities and a suspension from 15% of regular- season contests at any school that employs her.
- A one-year show-cause order for the football head coach, including a four-day suspension from all coaching activities and a 10-day suspension from off-campus recruiting during the 2020-21 football contact period.
- A reduction in permissible countable athletically related activities hours in softball from 20 to 18 during the regular season and from eight to seven during the off-season during the 2021-22 academic year.
- A reduction in the number of softball countable coaches by one for six days of practice during the 2021-22 academic year.
- A reduction in the number of football countable coaches by one for six days of practice during the 2021-22 academic year.