NCAA penalizes Oregon for hoops, track and field violations

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The NCAA has imposed two years of probation on Oregon after finding the school violated rules related to the men’s and women’s basketball teams and the track and field program.

The decision issued Wednesday said women’s basketball coach Kelly Graves failed to “monitor and promote an atmosphere of compliance in his program.” He must serve a two-game suspension this season. The team is 7-0 and ranked No. 3 in the country.

That infraction stemmed from an assistant strength coach’s participation in on-court activities during and after practices, which caused the team to exceed the number of allowable coaches.

The NCAA found men’s coach Dana Altman failed to properly monitor his director of basketball operations, who took part in or observed at least 64 individual voluntary workouts in violation of NCAA rules.

Also, the NCAA said an adjunct instructor changed a grade for a track and field athlete, allowing the competitor to remain eligible.

The decision said the football program improperly used an electronic reader board in the team’s facilities for recruiting purposes. The team immediately stopped after being told it may be out of compliance.

In a statement, the school said it disagreed with some of the findings.

“The University of Oregon’s athletic program is committed to integrity, the highest ethical standards and compliance with NCAA bylaws,” athletic director Rob Mullens said. “In all of these cases, our compliance monitoring program identified the issues and they were self-reported to the NCAA. As we noted several months ago, we have addressed the matters with the responsible employees and enhanced compliance training within the department. These cases do not merit the level of charges or sanctions issued by the NCAA.”

Oregon received notice of the allegations last December. At that time, the university said it self-reported the infractions and acknowledged that they occurred, but disagreed with the level that the NCAA assigned to some of them, including the charges involving the head coaches. Oregon said it had already taken steps to address the issues.

“I regret that some members of my staff made errors of judgment, and I have taken actions to ensure that it doesn’t happen again,” Graves said in a statement when the university received notice. “I am steadfastly committed to building a winning program at the UO that operates in full compliance with NCAA bylaws and is committed to the highest levels of integrity.”

The director of basketball operations, Josh Jameison, was suspended by Altman for one month. He must also attend NCAA rules seminars for the next two years.

The school said the faculty member changed the grade of the track athlete from failing to passing contingent on the athlete completing the work. The university removed the athlete from competition and reported the violation to the NCAA, which determined it was an impermissible academic benefit.

The name of the athlete was not made public by the NCAA. All records in which the athlete participated in while ineligible must be vacated.

The university said it believes there was no misconduct within in the track and field program in regard to that violation and that the NCAA’s ruling was inconsistent with conclusion reached in similar situations. The school has 15 days to appeal.

While Oregon acknowledged the rule violations surrounding the basketball teams, it said it doesn’t think the coaches failed to promote an “atmosphere of compliance” and is also weighing an appeal in that matter.

In addition to the probation and Graves’ suspension, the NCAA said the men’s team must reduce the number of coaches at a regular practice by five hours this season, which the women’s team much do the same for 10 hours this season. The school was also fined $5,000 plus 1 percent of the men’s and women’s basketball budgets.