UL Issues Statement On NCAA Investigation Of Football Program
University of Louisiana director of athletics, Scott Farmer, and university president Joseph Savoie, released statements today regarding an NCAA investigation into the football program that resulted in allegations of infractions committed by former UL assistant coach David Saunders.
“We take the allegations very seriously and have fully cooperated with the investigation,” said Farmer in a statement. “We’ve been committed to finding the truth as much as the NCAA. Our athletics program, part of a public university, remains committed to transparency.”
Savoie seconded Farmer's comments with his own.
“Our university strives to comply with NCAA standards and maintains a comprehensive rules compliance program. We do not condone misconduct and take any suggestion of wrongdoing seriously,” said Savoie.
According a university press release, NCAA regulations prevent a school from disclosing information about a case until it's conclusion, but after a public records request on Thursday by The Daily Advertiser, the university released the notice of allegations from the NCAA, along with the university's response (a link for each can be found at the bottom of this story).
"Consistent with NCAA protocol, the university cannot comment further until the final decision,” added Farmer.
A confidential hearing involving University representatives will take place later this fall. The exact date has not been disclosed, and the hearing is not open to the public.
Following the hearing, the Committee on Infractions will issue a public decision based on the findings.
Saunders, a former defensive assistant coach and assistant recruiting coordinator, had his employment terminated by the University on October 30th, 2014. The university released a statement at the time of his dismissal that Saunders was no longer associated with the football program due to personal reasons. He was hired as part of coach Mark Hudspeth's original staff hired after the 2010 season.
The NCAA, after its investigation, alleged Saunders to have engaged in ACT exam fraud with six prospects, helping recruits become eligible based on a fraudulent test score.
The players involved are not identified in the NCAA notice of allegations.
Saunders is also alleged to have provided cash payments for a student athlete's living and educational expenses.
Saunders is also alleged to have provided misleading information to the NCAA enforcement staff and refused to provide information relevant to the investigation.
In UL's response, the University, after it's own investigation, agree with the majority of allegations (all but one of the prospect student athletes who took an ACT in question) as it relates to Saunders engaging in ACT exam fraud, as well as Saunder's failure to cooperate properly with the NCAA enforcement staff.
However, based on a lack of sufficient evidence, the University does not agree with the allegation of Saunders providing impermissible cash recruiting inducements to a prospective student athlete.
As a result of their investigation, the University self-imposed a number of penalties, including a two-year period of probation, limitations of football grants-in-aid, a limitation of 38 official visits for the fall of 2015, a vacation of games from the 2011 season, including New Orleans Bowl victory, and more. (All self-imposed penalties can be found in the University's response to the NCAA notice of allegations)