The NCAA finally ruled last week on the infractions committed by West Virginia University football program from 2005 to 2009. During the time the NCAA was investigating the alleged infractions WVU athletic director, Oliver Luck, and his staff had done an in-house investigation and had already self imposed some penalties. When the NCAA announced its ruling last Friday they agreed that WVU’s self imposed sanctions were sufficient and no further action would be taken. West Virginia will be on probation for two years.
"I am pleased that the Committee accepted the self-imposed penalties the University proposed, without imposing any additional ones," WVU Athletic Director Luck said. "The University has already taken corrective action and put new systems in place to address all the issues raised."
In the probation period, WVU must continue to develop its rules awareness program, turn in a preliminary report on the schedule of the educational program by August 30, file annual reports by July 1 highlighting the program's progress and submit documentation WVU is complying with the penalties.
The violations in question began under former head coach Rich Rodriguez and continued under his predecessor, Bill Stewart. Neither coach is still involved with the program.
WVU committed five major violations and one secondary violation under both Rodriguez and Stewart from 2005 to 2009. Both coaches were said to have allowed non-coaching staff members to perform coaching duties, like supervise off-season drills and workouts, watch film with and instruct players and attend coaching meetings. The university ultimately agreed it had overstepped the limits on the coaching staff by allowing graduate assistants, quality control coaches, student managers, the director of high school relations and the director of player development to operate like coaches.
In a related matter, West Virginia announced the hiring of a new coordinator of recruiting operations, an administrative job in the football office and separate from a vacancy on the coaching staff.
Alex Hammond will oversee recruiting operations and aid in the all-important area of compliance. The 30-year-old Hammond has an undergraduate degree from Texas and a law degree from Northwestern. Hammond has served as a White House intern, practiced law and has worked in the NCAA office in Indianapolis as the associate director of amateur certification. He was in charge of NCAA legislation education and was the NCAA liaison to the Big 12 and Atlantic Coast conferences.
If part of Hammond’s resume sounds familiar, it is. Several months ago West Virginia hired Daron Roberts to coach wide receivers and special teams. Roberts has two Harvard law degrees and also went to Texas for his undergrad work. Roberts and Hammond know one another from Texas, where Roberts was the student body president. They worked together in student government and then kept in touch as Roberts went to law school at Harvard and Hammond went to Northwestern a year later. Together they plotted their future paths toward uncommon destinations.
Luck, president James Clements and head coach Dana Holgorsen seem to be bringing in some bright minds to the football program. On the heels of the recently completed NCAA investigation, this statement from Luck says a lot.
"The easiest way to trip up right now in the world of intercollegiate athletics is with the NCAA and, quite honestly, I'm paranoid about it," Luck said. "With Alex, now we have one more really good person to help us stay away from that sort of trouble."