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The Great Lakes Valley Conference has announced sanctions on the University of Wisconsin-Parkside Athletics Department for compliance violations that the NCAA determined to be secondary violations. Secondary violations are defined by the NCAA as “isolated or limited in nature.”
The GLVC sanctions apply to the entire UW-Parkside Athletics Department and ban all UW-Parkside athletic teams from post-season GLVC and NCAA tournament competition for the 2017-2018 academic year.
“The sanctions imposed by the Great Lakes Valley Conference are unprecedented in relation to the violations,” said UW-Parkside Chancellor Debbie Ford. “This is not about the academic performance of our student-athletes. None of the secondary violations involved academic fraud or criminal activity. All nine were process and procedure mistakes involving amateurism certification, academic certification, and seasons of competition.”
Ford said she was disappointed that the conference chose to penalize student-athletes for administrative errors. “I am perplexed that the conference chose to ban our teams from NCAA competition when the NCAA, through its own comprehensive investigation, determined these issues involving compliance process and procedure to be secondary violations,” she said.
Within the past year, the GLVC, the NCAA, and independent audit and review firms have – in separate reports – acknowledged that UW-Parkside takes compliance very seriously. “Our campus culture is one that respects compliance,” Ford said. “We abide by the rules. We have fully cooperated with the GLVC and NCAA and provided all the information and documentation that has been requested. And we have taken corrective actions for mistakes that were made.
“I am fully confident that none of our coaches or student-athletes purposefully or intentionally manipulated NCAA eligibility rules to gain a competitive advantage. I respect and appreciate the integrity of our coaches and their commitment to our student-athletes.”
After self-reporting a potential ineligible student-athlete in February, the GLVC and UW-Parkside hired the Compliance Group to perform an eligibility audit of all current UW-Parkside student-athletes going back to the time when each athlete first competed at UW-Parkside. The GLVC and UW-Parkside also hired Athletics Services Consulting to conduct an operational review of the Athletics Department.
The audit and operational review confirmed that UW-Parkside student athletes perform at a high level athletically and academically. The audit revealed 14 possible instances that occurred over the past four years where proper compliance procedures were not followed, which prompted the NCAA to conduct its own investigation. The results of that investigation identified nine of the 14 possible instances as secondary violations. The other five were determined not to be violations.
The GLVC issued sanctions in late May and the university requested an appeal. New information was provided from the operational review and the NCAA findings during the appeal on Aug. 10. The GLVC, however, made no changes to the sanctions.
“Our student-athletes did nothing wrong,” Ford said. “The nine violations during the past four years were administrative mistakes.”
UW-Parkside Women’s Soccer Coach Brittany Nikolic said that coaches look for teachable moments. “At UW-Parkside, we take compliance very seriously,” Nikolic said. “For coaches, this experience brings a heightened awareness to the compliance process. However, many teams, including mine, had no violations during this time period, yet the effects of these sanctions will last for years and will affect people’s careers, families and lives.”
UW-Parkside announced the sanctions to its student-athletes Tuesday.