Dayton volleyball program receives one year of probation from NCAA for recruiting violations

Dayton Flyers volleyball: A history lesson

Neil Sullivan: ‘The agreed-upon infractions do not allege any unethical conduct by any staff member’

The Dayton Flyers volleyball program received one year of probation from the NCAA, a $5,000 fine and other penalties for contacting prospects too early and holding impermissible tryouts.

The Division I Committee on Infractions announced the penalties Thursday.

“The University of Dayton takes NCAA compliance obligations seriously, and the integrity of our programs is of the highest importance,” said Dayton Athletic Director Neil Sullivan said in a statement. “As athletic director, I accept organizational accountability for the matter and offer full support to Head Coach Tim Horsmon and the volleyball staff. We agree with the NCAA enforcement staff’s decision not to allege head coach responsibility.

“We generally agree with the relevant facts underlying this case, but throughout the case have had differing views on the nature, extent, severity, interpretation, and disproportionate consequences of the infractions. The University concluded it was in its best interest to resolve this matter through the NCAA negotiated resolution process.

“The agreed-upon infractions do not allege any unethical conduct by any staff member. The findings in the case did not influence the fairness of any contest nor affect the eligibility of any competing student-athletes. The results have no implications related to postseason competition, team records or scholarships.

“The University believes the issues presented — which mostly stem from template emails sent to club coaches and the placement of a clinic link on its website — are primarily the result of cumbersome, ambiguous, and onerous regulations in effect during the 2018-19 academic year.  We now consider the matter resolved.”

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According to a NCAA press release, UD and the NCAA enforcement staff agreed Dayton coaches sent approximately 1,118 personalized emails to club coaches of 279 prospects before Sept. 1 of the prospects’ junior years.

“The emails violated NCAA recruiting contact rules because they included requests that club coaches forward information to those prospects before the time it was permissible to do so,” the NCAA announced. “The volleyball staff also sent questionnaires with impermissible recruiting information to 49 prospects before Sept. 1 of the prospects’ junior year.”

The impermissible tryouts came at five one-day camps in February and March of 2019.

According to the NCAA press release, “registration for the camps was placed at the bottom of the biography page for the coaching staff on the camp website, making it difficult for interested prospects to locate and register. A total of 19 ninth and 10th grade prospects attended the five camps. All of those prospects received emails with links to register for the camps. Because the camps were not properly advertised and the involved prospects were not otherwise able to participate in unofficial visits, the participation of the 19 prospects in the camps became impermissible tryouts.”

In addition to the probation and fine, the NCAA also penalized the program by reducing the number of official visits by recruits to no more than five during the 2021-22 academic year, banning unofficial visits for two weeks during that same time, banning recruiting communications for three total weeks (two weeks during the 2020-21 academic year and one week during the 2021-22 academic year), reducing evaluation days from 80 to 56 during the 2021-22 academic year, reducing the number of contacts and evaluations by one for all prospects during the 2021-22 academic year and reducing permissible electronic correspondence for the 49 prospects who received impermissible questionnaires.

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