By Tyler Alley
Baylor could face NCAA sanctions after a three-year investigation revealed the men’s and women’s basketball programs made 738 impermissible text messages and 528 impermissible phone calls to recruits.
The investigation was made public in an ESPN.com story Monday, citing an NCAA report the website had obtained.
“Regarding today’s premature public reports of the matter, the institution remains committed to protecting the integrity of the totality of the case in accordance with its obligations under NCAA legislation and therefore the University, and its officials, will make no comment,” said Nick Joos, Baylor’s executive associate athletic director for external affairs, in an official statement.
Baylor self-imposed penalties following the 2008 investigation but the NCAA can now decide to add harsher penalties as it sees fit.
Men’s basketball head coach Scott Drew, women’s head coach Kim Mulkey and their assistant coaches were said to be involved in the calls and texts, according to the summary disposition obtained by ESPN.com.
The calls are deemed “impermissible” due to restrictions in the NCAA Division I Manual. For men’s basketball, an institution is allowed to make one phone call per month to an individual or his parents/guardians between his sophomore and junior year and two calls per week during his senior year.
In women’s basketball, an institution is allowed “one telephone call during the month of April of the individual’s junior year in high school on or after the Thursday after the conclusion of the NCAA Division I Women’s Final Four,” as well as one the following May, two phone calls in June and three in July, according to the Division I Manual. From there, the school is allowed unlimited phone calls.
Once a school has reached its limit of calls to a prospective student-athlete, an institution may not initiate another phone call. This could be how many of Baylor’s phone calls were deemed impermissible.
Text messages to recruits are prohibited.
NCAA president Mark Emmert said the NCAA would not comment on the case because it’s still under review, according to the Associated Press.
“However, each member agrees to abide by the rules established by the association and our membership expects those who do not follow the rules will be held accountable,” he said in a statement.
The investigation began in 2008 during the recruitment of a current Baylor women’s basketball player, junior Brittney Griner. Members of the coaching staff spoke with Griner and her father about the basketball program, academic requirements and the school in general both before and after Baylor’s 2007 women’s basketball elite camp, according to the article on ESPN.com. This contact is a violation of NCAA rules.
Jason King, writer of the ESPN.com article and Baylor alumni, said in an interview with ESPN Central Texas Radio Monday that he thought Baylor had done a good job self-imposing the penalties.
“Taking Kim Mulkey off the road for the entire month of July this coming summer for recruiting,” King said. “That’s big. Docking two scholarships last year was certainly significant even though it didn’t hurt them too bad since they won 40 games.”
The men’s team lost one scholarship for both this season and next season, and the number of official visits has been reduced from 12 to seven.
King said the NCAA can now decide whether Baylor’s penalties are fine and close the case or can add harsher penalties, such as further scholarship reduction or the suspension of Drew and Mulkey for a few conference games.
The NCAA report found 405 additional impermissible phone calls and texts in nine other Baylor sports, ranging from football to equestrian.