NCAA Committee on Infractions Issues Findings in Auburn University Investigation
December 30, 2021
The NCAA Committee on Infractions (COI) has issued its final report and findings after a four-year investigation into the athletics program at Auburn University. Lightfoot, Franklin & White LLC partner Henry Gimenez represented Auburn throughout the investigation, as well as in a two-day hearing before the COI.
“We are pleased with the recent COI finding, which largely adopted all of Auburn University’s self-imposed penalties,” said Gimenez. “In addition, the COI found that one violation alleged by the NCAA enforcement staff and contested by the University was not demonstrated.”
As a Level-1 Aggravated case, Auburn faced penalties that included a postseason ban of up to 5 years, a 25% reduction in scholarships and a potential show-cause order. In its report, the COI wrote that it “accepted the institution’s self-imposed recruiting restrictions and prescribed additional restrictions as necessary to reach the bottom range for Level-I Aggravated violations pursuant to the Figure 19-1 penalty guidelines.” The report also acknowledged that “from the outset, Auburn’s institutional leadership represented that it expected a culture of compliance within its men’s basketball program.”
Commenting further on the findings, COI Chief Hearing Officer Vince Nicastro noted that “In this case, based on all the evidence that the panel reviewed — which was significant — we just felt it was our judgment that the penalties that we prescribed were appropriate or the penalties that were self-imposed were acceptable to us.”
"We are pleased that a conclusion has been reached in this case," Auburn University said in a statement. "For the last four years, Auburn has been proactive and cooperative with the NCAA enforcement staff and Committee on Infractions. We have been and will continue to be committed to NCAA rules and compliance. As such, we accept all penalties and are ready to move forward.”
Gimenez was supported by Sam McAllister, Director of Litigation Technology, and NCAA Specialist/Special Projects Paralegal Hallett Ruzic.