NCAA Division I Committee on Infractions today penalized the Cal men’s basketball team for infractions that had been discovered and reported by the university’s own compliance office. The infractions concerned 365 impermissible recruiting calls made by coach Mike Montgomery and his assistants shortly after Montgomery arrived at Cal in 2008. Most of the calls were made by two unnamed assistants.
The university had already imposed a number of sanctions. These included restrictions on the off-campus and recruiting efforts of the assistants involved. The NCAA committee today added to that with a two-year probationary period starting today, a public reprimand and censure, a limit of five official paid visits for the next two academic years, and a requirement that Montgomery and two assistant coaches attend the NCAA Regional Rules Seminar.
The case was considered narrow in scope, since 305 of the 365 calls were judged “documentation violations”, meaning they would have been permissible if logged in a correct and timely fashion. The other 60 calls were at fault for exceeding the number of calls allowed to a prospect in a given time period.
During a media teleconference discussing the case today, Dennis Thomas, the commissioner of the Mid-Eastern Athletic Conference and chair of the Committee on Infractions, stated: “The violations in this case were a result of the men’s basketball staff’s neglect, rather than an intentional effort to circumvent the rules.”
Montgomery and Director of Athletics Sandy Barbour were contrite in response to the rulings.
“I believe deeply in following NCAA rules and have always promoted an atmosphere of compliance within our program,” said Montgomery. “It is gratifying to know that during our NCAA hearing in Indianapolis that there was agreement among all parties that these violations were unintentional. However, that does not excuse them, and we need to remain diligent in our efforts to remain compliant. We strive to maintain a very high standard and take this situation very seriously.”
“We strongly believe that the discovery of these violations is an indication that our compliance monitoring process is working as intended,” Barbour said. “When Mike Montgomery joined our program in April 2008, we knew we were hiring a coach known for his integrity who cares deeply about this student-athletes’ college experience. He expects the same ethical behavior from every member of his staff. The manner in which Coach Montgomery and his assistant coaches have responded to and engaged in this process has only confirmed our initial beliefs.”