The NCAA announced further sanctions on the Eastern Michigan University women’s basketball team Nov. 8 resulting from rules violations that took place during the 2009-10 season. The team had already imposed sanctions on itself, however, the NCAA handed down its own punishment on several individuals involved.
In September 2010, EMU announced it was conducting an investigation into whether the women’s basketball team committed rules violations regarding practice time and conditioning. The investigation concluded that from 2007-10, the team exceeded the time allowed per week for practice and conditioning. Additionally, the investigation found the coaches had failed to accurately record practice hours.
Following the conclusion of EMU’s investigation, the NCAA launched their own investigation. Their findings matched those of EMU and concluded former head coach AnnMarie Gilbert and her coaching staff violated NCAA rules by frequently holding practices beyond the mandated four-hour maximum practice period.
According to one student athlete, whose name was redacted from the official NCAA report, there was more than one case where assistant coaches notified Gilbert the practice was approaching and/or exceeding the NCAA mandated time. According to the report, Gilbert did not appear to care about the time restrictions.
Also included in the report was an instance during the summer of 2010 where four unnamed members of the team overslept one Friday morning and missed a 1.5 mile run. As punishment, the players were required by the head strength and conditioning coach to clean the weight room for 50 minutes that day and make up the run the following Monday morning.
The NCAA announced the following punishment for Gilbert and her staff in a Nov. 8 press release:
Gilbert was issued a letter of reprimand and a suspension of 30 days without pay from whatever coaching position she might obtain in the future. In addition, she is required to take additional steps not named in the release.
Assistant Coach Darin Thrun was also given a letter of reprimand and suspended indefinitely with pay.
Assistant Coach LaTonya Tate was issued a letter of reprimand.
Both Thrun and Tate were also required to take additional steps not set forth in the release.
The team was also given two additional years of probation which retroactively took effect Oct. 1. The team imposed two years on itself back in 2010 when the scandal was initially announced. The team was also limited to seven official recruiting visits for the 2012-13 year. The maximum allowable number is 12, but EMU had restricted itself to 10 in its self-imposed sanctions.
The EMU Athletic Department declined to comment for this story.
However, EMU Athletic Director Derrick Gragg said the university has been cooperating with the NCAA during the past two years, in the Nov. 8 press release.
“When we first learned of the allegations two years ago, we immediately began an internal investigation: The findings of which we self reported to the NCAA along with our self-imposed penalties,” Gragg said. “Additionally, since that time, we have voluntarily implemented many processes and procedures that have significantly strengthened our compliance and tracking processes across all of our athletic programs. The NCAA has positively recognized these efforts.”
The full list of sanctions as well as the press release can be found at www.emich.edu/univcomm/releases/release.php?id=1352390416.