How NCAA sanctions affect men’s golf, champion Bryson DeChambeau

With all the attention focused on the men’s basketball team last week, the significance of the NCAA sanctions on SMU’s men’s golf team have been overlooked. It too faces scholarship reductions, recruiting restrictions, and a 2015-16 postseason ban.

The Committee on Infractions reported the following when it announced the results of its investigation:

“The former head men’s golf coach committed Level I violations when he provided false or misleading information to the enforcement staff. The former head men’s golf coach also committed collective Level II violations that arose to Level I when he impermissibly communicated with several prospects, provided prospects impermissible inducements, and allowed the representative to engage in recruiting activities on behalf of the institution. These violations provided or were intended to provide a substantial recruiting advantage to the institution.”

It was discovered that former head coach Josh Gregory had 64 impermissible contacts with 10 potential recruits. He contacted these recruits prior to the period allowed by NCAA rules and offered them discounted merchandise and golf equipment from the university.

The investigation also revealed that a booster contacted prospective players and facilitated contact between the team and the recruits’ families. Gregory told the NCAA that he was unaware of the booster’s activities, but emails between them were found to contain updates on the recruits.

According to the NCAA, Level I violations are the highest offenses and are classified as severe breaches of conduct “that seriously undermine or threaten the integrity of the NCAA collegiate model.” Level II violations are significant breaches of conduct “that provide or are intended to provide more than a minimal but less than a substantial or extensive recruiting, competitive or other advantage.”

Gregory had already left the team in August of 2014 but was given a five-year show-cause order for his actions and will have to go through a lengthy process if he seeks employment at an NCAA university in the future.

SMU faces a three-year reduction in scholarships by 25 percent of the previous four years’ total. The team was also enforced a 12.5 percent reduction in recruiting communications and off-campus recruiting days.

The most serious consequence is the postseason ban for the upcoming season. The Mustangs have been on the rise in the last few seasons. They made it to the quarterfinals in the 2014 NCAA Championships and then finished 15th in the 2015 NCAA Championships. In addition, senior Bryson DeChambeau won the 2015 Individual NCAA Championship. He will not be able to defend his title in 2016 unless an appeal reverses the decision.

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