The NCAA Friday handed down a three-year probationary period to the University of Northern Colorado men’s basketball program as a result of academic misconduct committed by former coach B.J. Hill and his staff. The NCAA’s penalties include the vacation of wins during any time ineligible players were used by UNC, including post-season tournaments and a repayment of the money received for playing in the 2011 NCAA Tournament.
The punishments are added to penalties self-imposed by UNC, including last season’s post-season ban, though the program is eligible for post-season play going forward. Recruiting restrictions and a reduction of three scholarships for the 2017-18 and 2018-19 school years were also put in place by UNC and accepted by the NCAA.
Former Minnesota athletics director & the chief hearing officer in this case, Joel Maturi, said, “The head coach took shortcuts to success, putting his own self-interest and ambitions ahead of student-athlete welfare. He recruited talented but academically ineligible prospects and then violated foundational NCAA ethical conduct legislation to secure their eligibility.”
“We respect the NCAA’s decision and are disappointed that actions by members of a former coaching staff have led to consequences that have affected the entire program, past and present,” said Darren Dunn, UNC’s director of Athletics. “We remain committed to providing a great student-athlete experience while building champions for life. I’m excited about the future of our men’s basketball program.”
UNC President Kay Norton, in a memo sent to the university community, said, “When we started this process, I pledged that regardless of what emerged from the investigation that we would take responsibility, do our best to make amends and move forward. With the leadership of head coach Jeff Linder, that’s what we’ve been doing and what we will continue to do.”
Hill received a 6 year “show cause” penalty and stated in a Facebook post that he will not be appealing and accepts responsibility for the violations. Seven different assistants under Hill were also handed “show cause” penalties, ranging from 3 to 6 years in length.
For the NCAA’s full release and link to 45 page report on the UNC case, click here.