Tag:Akiem Hicks
Posted on: July 19, 2011 3:58 pm
Edited on: July 20, 2011 10:17 pm

NCAA gives LSU probation, scholarship reductions

Posted by Adam Jacobi

Oh, what a difference proactivity makes. The NCAA announced today that it accepted LSU's one-year probation and scholarship and recruiting reductions in the wake of self-reported recruiting violations. The NCAA praised LSU's compliance department for its role in bringing the NCAA's attention to the matter, and with that, nothing more severe than that year of probation will be levied on the Tigers.

The violation still qualifies as major, however, and as Cecil Hurt points out, that makes every single member of the SEC short of Vanderbilt to be hit with a major violation since 1990.

The NCAA notes that the prospect in question (not named in the report, but known to be former LSU defensive lineman Akiem Hicks) was provided illegal transportation and lodging benefits from a former LSU assistant coach -- again, not named in the report, but known to be D.J. McCarthy, who resigned abruptly in late 2009 after the NCAA's investigation into LSU began. McCarthy also admitted to using a second cell phone, which he never revealed to the LSU compliance department, to make impermissible recruiting calls to Nicks (who has also since left the team).

As for the scholarship and recruiting reductions, they're relatively minor; LSU's recruiting visits will be reduced by 10% over the next two academic years, and the Tigers will be down two scholarships for this year and next. Both reductions were self-imposed by LSU ahead of time, as was the probation.

Here's what the NCAA had to say in favor of the LSU compliance office:

The committee lauds the institution's compliance office for its efforts to investigate and uncover the violations. The compliance office, and particularly the senior associate director of athletics, continued to ask questions regarding prospect 1's living arrangements throughout the summer of 2009 and into the fall. It refused to certify prospect 1's eligibility and allow him to depart for an away contest on September 3, 2009, because those questions had not yet been answered. Had prospect 1 been allowed to travel and compete before the investigation into his pre-enrollment activities was complete, the institution would likely have committed further serious violations. Because the compliance office was proactive, fully investigated and cooperated with the enforcement staff to uncover the full range of the violations, the institution is entitled to relief as set forth in Penalty C-2 below. Further, the committee imposed no additional penalties on the institution.

The NCAA reserved its harshest penalties for McCarthy, who was given a one-year show-cause penalty effective today, which if he is hired by any other NCAA institution during the time, bars him from doing any recruiting via telephone and requires various administrative duties for himself and the hiring institution. It's functionally a year-long ban, as schools almost never put themselves through such rigorous oversight for the sake of a new assistant coach.

Here's the entire 22-page report from the NCAA on the matter. It's made abundantly clear that McCarthy knowingly and repeatedly violated NCAA rules, even involving two student workers in the process, and that he intentionally misled LSU's compliance efforts on several occasions. For his rather singular involvement, and for LSU's proactive approach to the problem, the Tigers avoided the true wrath of the NCAA, and that is no insignificant achievement.

Posted on: July 19, 2011 11:33 am
Edited on: July 19, 2011 11:50 am

NCAA to discuss COI decision on LSU today

Posted by Tom Fornelli

Yesterday LSU head coach Les Miles talked about how important it is to cooperate with the NCAA in any investigation, saying that it was "fundamental" and "necessary." Miles said that when asked about LSU's recent discussion with the NCAA regarding its relationship with Will Lyles. While that's a situation that likely won't be resolved for some time, LSU may find out shortly how cooperating with the NCAA can be beneficial to a program when it comes to possible penalties.

In 2010 LSU self-reported recruiting violations that took place in 2009 to the NCAA and had a hearing in front of the Committee on Infractions this past April. Now, according to a tweet from Yahoo's Charles Robinson, the NCAA has a conference call this afternoon to discuss the committee's decision in regards to LSU's case.

The violations LSU reported stem from the recruitment of former defensive tackle signee Akiem Hicks and former assistant coach D.J. McCarthy.  LSU found that McCarthy's recruitment of Hicks included improper phone contact, transportation and housing. Hicks never attended LSU and McCarthy was relieved of his duties after the violations were found. LSU also self-imposed recruiting sanctions on the program by docking two scholarships in its 2011 recruiting class along with its 2012 class.

Whether the NCAA will impose any further sanctions against LSU, well, we'll find out soon enough it seems. Though since LSU self-reported the issue, imposed its own sanctions and cooperated with the NCAA, I wouldn't expect any possible further punishment to be too severe.
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