Earlier today, the National Collegiate Athletic Association (NCAA) Division III Committee on Infractions released its report finding that from 2006 to 2012 the former head Men’s Swimming coach engaged in unethical and impermissible conduct and that CSI lacked institutional control over the Athletics Program.

The committee specifically noted that CSI “self-detected and self-reported the majority of the violations, acted quickly in investigating the violations it discovered, cooperated with NCAA investigators and assisted with the investigation.” The NCAA News Release and Public Infractions Report is available on NCAA.org. Until today, the NCAA has mandated that the investigation by the Infractions Committee remain confidential.

In July 2011, the College became aware of improprieties in its Men’s Swimming program and self-reported the violations to the NCAA. A joint investigation by the NCAA Enforcement Division ensued, and on March 14, 2013, the NCAA issued a formal Notice of Allegations (NOA). The College submitted a formal response to the NOA in June 2013.

I participated in an NCAA Division III Committee on Infractions hearing that was held in Indianapolis, IN on August 10, 2013 with staff from The City University of New York and the College of Staten Island. The report issued by the NCAA today follows from these proceedings.

The NCAA reported that CSI’s former head Men’s Swimming coach did not follow NCAA ethical conduct rules, facilitated the visa process for five international prospects, arranged for reduced-cost lifeguard certification classes for three student-athletes, signed leases for four student-athletes, and provided cost-free housing for one student-athlete. Additionally, the former coach provided false or misleading information to the NCAA, and also advised student-athletes to provide false or misleading information.

While the College was cited for failing to exercise appropriate control over the former head Men’s Swimming coach and the Athletics Program, it is critical to note that there was no allegation that the academic integrity of the College’s students or faculty was ever compromised.

Penalties imposed against the College include four years of probation, a two-year postseason ban for the Men’s Swimming program, and vacating the individual performances of six student athletes.

In addition, the NCAA imposed upon the former coach a show-cause order, the most severe penalty the NCAA can levy against a coach. This affects future employment for the next four years at an NCAA member institution.

While these penalties are severe, the College was faced with the possibility of even greater sanctions, including the suspension of our Men’s Swimming program. This would have affected the entire Athletics Program. I believe that due to our proactive measures, including self-reporting our violations to the NCAA, cooperating fully with the investigation, and enacting significant, self-imposed remedial measures, the College was able to preserve the continuation of our Swimming Program and the integrity of our Athletics Program.

Immediately upon my appointment as Interim President, and even before the formal NOA by the NCAA was issued, we made major changes in our Athletics Program highlighted by the following:

  • Creating a new College Intercollegiate Athletics Compliance Team to oversee compliance in the Athletic Program in September 2012;
  • Placing Athletics under the direct supervision of the President’s Office in April 2013;
  • Appointing a new Interim Athletic Director in April 2013 (a new aquatics director/Swimming coach was appointed in January 2012);
  • Mandating increased professional development and rules education concerning NCAA compliance for athletic administration, coaches, and staff;
  • Conducting an internal review of facility usage and rentals and disassociation from the privately owned swim club referenced in the report.

These are just some of the steps we are taking to create a heightened culture of compliance within our Athletics Program.

As President, I take seriously the responsibility of ensuring that, consistent with the NCAA Division III Philosophy Statement, the College of Staten Island places the highest priority on the successful completion of all students’ academic programs, and on establishing and maintaining an environment in which athletic activities are conducted as an integral part of the students’ overall educational experience. To underscore my commitment, I have accepted an appointment as the CUNY Athletic Conference representative to the NCAA Division III Presidents Advisory Group.

I am extremely proud of our student-athletes, who continually display excellence on the field and in the classroom, and I am committed to having an Athletics Program of which our students, faculty, staff, and Staten Island community can be equally proud.