Utes basketball program sanctioned by NCAA for recruiting violations


Utah placed on 2-years probation and fined $5,000

SALT LAKE CITY (ABC4 Sports) – The University of Utah basketball program was placed on two years probation and fined $5,000, both self-imposed sanctions, for recruiting violations in regards to a current player.

Assistant coach Tommy Connor served a one-week suspension in November of 2018 for the violation, and missed the game against Mississippi Valley State.

Connor has been an assistant under head coach Krystkowiak for eight seasons. But the university has “rescinded its coach in waiting agreement” with Connor as part of the sanctions, according to the NCAA report.

Krystkowiak was originally given a 2-game suspension by the NCAA, but Utah won its appeal, and Krystkowiak will not serve any suspension. The Utes also will not lose any scholarships.

The NCAA Committee stated that the violations were unintentional, limited and not indicative of systemic problems. For those reasons the Committee did not prescribe the suspension it initially proposed.

The NCAA issued its infractions report on self-reported violations by the Utah men’s basketball program related to the recruitment of a player in April 2018. The University has accepted all penalties set forth in the report.

“The University of Utah is committed to integrity in all of its endeavors,” said Utah Director of Athletics Mark Harlan in a statement. “While we take any violation of NCAA rules seriously, we are confident these actions were isolated and inadvertent and have been fully addressed by the University and the NCAA. Through this process, we took the opportunity to conduct a comprehensive evaluation of our compliance education and monitoring practices and put additional checks and balances in place as a result.” 

The recruiting violations centered on a misreading of the NCAA calendar and a misinterpretation of the official visit limitations, according to the report. Though the calendar oversight resulted in Utah coaches visiting a prospect at his high school during a period when in-person, off-campus recruiting was impermissible, the staff did follow all institutional policies and procedures in coordinating the visit. The coaches also inadvertently triggered an official visit when the same prospect made an unofficial visit to Utah in connection with his official visit to Salt Lake Community College, which also was interested in the prospect.

Although Utah carefully adhered to its understanding of the rules relating to unofficial visits when the prospect came to Salt Lake City, the NCAA classified the visit to Utah’s campus as official, thus exceeding the number of permitted official visits for the recruiting period.

“While they were inadvertent and unintentional mistakes on our part, and there was never an intent to circumvent any rules, we accept that they were violations and, as the head coach, I am accountable for them,” said head coach Larry Krystkowiak. “I have always been a strong proponent of protecting the integrity of college basketball and that will not change.”

As part of its commitment to compliance, the University self-imposed several sanctions including: a two-year probationary period, a $5,000 fine payable to the NCAA, which will come directly from the men’s basketball budget, a one-week suspension for Connor, which was served in November, reprimands for the coaches, and recruiting limitations on off-campus recruiting and official visits. In addition, the University has prohibited its coaches from having any on-campus interactions with SLCC’s coaches, or from recruiting any SLCC basketball student-athletes for a one-year period.

In addition to these self-imposed penalties, the NCAA Committee on Infractions imposed further sanctions, including an off-campus recruiting ban for the associate head coach in July 2019, a one-year ban on contact with the now former head coach of SLCC, Todd Phillips, and publicizing the circumstances of the violation in the school’s men’s basketball media guide, on the athletics website and to prospective student-athletes.

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