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Former NC State and California State University, Northridge men's basketball coach Mark Gottfried was hit by the NCAA with a three-year show-cause penalty Friday for committing recruiting violations and failing to monitor his staff during a three-season stint at CSUN. The Matadors were also punished with three years of probation and a fine, after a lengthy investigation uncovered numerous violations from 2021-22 when Gottfried was the coach.

"The California State University, Northridge, men's basketball program violated recruiting rules when [Gottfeied] and two former assistant coaches had impermissible on- and off-campus contacts with prospects during the COVID-19 recruiting dead period and provided those prospects with impermissible recruiting inducements, according to a decision released by a Division I Committee on Infractions panel," the NCAA said in a statement announcing the sanctions. "As a result of his personal involvement in the violations and his failure to monitor his staff, the former head coach violated head coach responsibility rules."

The violations by Gottfried and his staff occurred in April 2021 during which the NCAA's Division I Council had implemented a temporary recruiting dead period in the early days of the pandemic as a means of protection health and safety of prospects, student-athletes and staffers. CSUN's coaching staff arranged impermissible visits during that time which led to the provision of inducements to two prospects, the committee found. 

"This case involved intentional violations by coaches with decades of experience," the panel ruled. "The violations also occurred during the COVID-19 recruiting dead period, meaning that the coaches' actions endangered the health and safety of a number of individuals while, simultaneously, gaining a recruiting advantage over compliant (schools)."

CSUN's hiring of Gottfried was scrutinized initially in 2018 because it came shortly after federal investigators revealed a pay-for-play scheme that implicated Adidas, some of its consultants and coaches at several schools including NC State while Gottfried was the coach of the Wolfpack. Gottfried was alleged by the NCAA to have committed rules violations but that did not stop his hiring at CSUN after he was fired at NC State. NC State was able to escape major sanctions, but Gottfried, for his role in alleged rules violations, was issued a one-year show-cause penalty in that case.   

The infractions panel classified the violations as Level II-Standard for the university and Level II-Aggravated for Gottfried and the two assistant coaches. As such it issued the following sanctions:

  • Three years of probation.
  • A $5,000 fine, plus 1% of the men's basketball program budget.
  • A prohibition against unofficial visits in men's basketball for one week during the 2022-23 academic year (self-imposed).
  • A prohibition against recruiting communication in men's basketball for one week during the 2022-23 academic year (self-imposed).
  • A three-year show-cause order for the former head coach, plus a suspension from 40% of the first season after the conclusion of his show-cause order should he be hired by another NCAA school.
  • Two-year show-cause orders for two assistant coaches.

Gottfried and his staff were put on leave in 2021 amid allegations that rules violations during his tenure had taken place. He and his staff did not return.