TAMPA – The University of South Florida’s track and field program in accordance with the NCAA announced Friday that its soccer and women’s basketball programs had committed Level II violations.
The NCAA ended an 18-month investigation with a full report on the former football head coach Charlie Strong and women’s basketball coach Jose Fernandez. Violations were initially reported by the university itself.
“USF Athletics values and is committed to the highest levels of integrity and compliance with NCAA rules,” said Michael Kelly, USF vice president of athletics, in a statement. “While I am disappointed to discover actions that did not live up to these values, I am pleased with the professionalism and speed with which our compliance and administrative staff came up with themselves and worked with the NCAA for a thorough review.”
Bulls247 contacted the Jacksonville Jaguars – Strong’s current employer – but initial requests for comments on the matter were not answered immediately.
According to the public negotiation resolution published by the university on Friday in August 2017 and March 2018, USF has filed level III violations with potentially improper activities by non-coaching employees. Strong met with then President Dr. Judy Genshaft and then Sports Director Mark Harlan on the matter.
Through the end of the 2018 season, the report indicated that there continued to be improper activity by “Soccer Non-Coach Employee 1 giving technical and tactical instructions to soccer student athletes who played tight end during drills and off-field film ratings “.
In 2019, the report said that “numerous” football staff participated in off-field activities on the field, including one that trained special teams on the field and provided film assessments and off-field instruction. Strong also allowed three non-coaching defensive members to act as positional players during scout team activities on the field.
Although the members of the compliance team visited the practice regularly, they did not see these improper activities because the employees of the devices were warned about these people.
“When an equipment worker watched a member of the compliance officer from the athletics department’s offices approach the training field, he alerted the other equipment workers scattered across the training field via wireless headphones,” the report said. “The equipment staff would then inform the non-coaching staff directly that compliance is on its way and give them the option to withdraw or cease their activities.”
These violations were classified as Level II violations. Strong, currently an employee of Urban Meyer in Jacksonville, would be forced to serve a game suspension if he returned to an NCAA institution.
In addition to the self-imposed penalties listed in the negotiated resolution, USF agreed to penalties, including a fine of $ 10,000 plus one-half percent (0.5%) of its budget, while reducing the number of grants initially granted into the Football program will be reduced by two for the academic year 2022/23.
On the women’s basketball side, USF was found guilty of walking through two non-coaching staff, including Fernandez, in the presence of the coaching staff. The same two employees were found guilty of improperly participating in exercises about five times, according to the report.
In addition, other violations involved exceeding countable sporting activity (CARA).
“The women’s basketball coaching team also required that all student-athletes complete fifty free throws a day and that certain student-athletes complete up to an hour of additional cardio per week. These activities were not recorded, ”says the report’s summary.
Overruns occurred while adding to these logged times.
“As the head coach of the USF women’s basketball program for the past 22 years, I am very proud to lead a program that has consistently demonstrated high levels of compliance and integrity,” Fernandez said in a statement. “Although these were isolated cases, I appreciate the NCAA’s diligence in this investigation and I take full responsibility. I will continue to work closely with our compliance department to ensure that our program maintains a level of compliance that meets the high ethical standards of the NCAA. “
Penalties for the women’s basketball program include a fine of $ 10,000 plus one-half percent (0.5%) of the budget, and Fernandez will be on a one-year showcase ordinance and a 15-hour ban from the team serving training in the 2021 season / 22. The team will also have a reduction of a total of 12 hours of practice in 2021-22.
According to the university, smaller, shorter-term sentences were also imposed on the women’s basketball, women’s golf, women’s volleyball and soccer teams.
The full NCAA and USF report is linked here.
This is a developing story. Check back soon for updates.