Statement from Stanford University Athletics Director Bernard Muir on NCAA violations
Stanford University has a proud track record of making substantial contributions to college athletics by supporting exemplary programs for amateur student-athletes. As a member of the Pac-12 Conference and the NCAA, we take our commitment to the rules governing athletics very seriously. Over the years, we have instituted a robust rules-education program, created a culture of compliance and demanded vigorous self-reporting to the NCAA of any potential lapses.
While the university has self-reported a number of Level III and Level IV (minor) violations in recent years, it had never had a Level I or II (major) violation. In 2014, the university self-reported to the NCAA enforcement office two violations that unfortunately are confirmed to be Level II violations, one each in softball and football. The university regrets these violations and has taken corrective actions to ensure that they are not repeated.
Both self-reported violations have been reviewed by the NCAA’s Committee on Infractions. The NCAA has accepted Stanford’s self-imposed penalties and further imposed a $5,000 fine and public reprimand on the university, as well as a one-year show-cause penalty against the former head softball coach. The Committee commended Stanford on its cooperation.
The university will continue to be diligent about educating student-athletes and supporters, monitoring its programs and, when a potential violation is discovered, vigorously reviewing the matter and self-reporting to the NCAA any findings. Stanford will continue to work towards a tradition of excellence and hold itself to the highest standards of conduct and compliance.
In the spring of 2014, the university began an internal inquiry into the softball program after learning of concerns from student-athletes and parents regarding the management of the program.
In the course of that inquiry, the university found evidence of excessive practice hours and that the now former head coach disregarded NCAA limits on the number of hours that student athletes could participate in sport-related activities. The university self-reported the violation to the NCAA.
As a result of the inquiry, the head coach was asked to resign and did so, and the contracts for the assistant coaches were not renewed. The university also self-imposed a penalty of significant limitations on softball practice hours under the new coaching staff. The university also added an additional full-time compliance staff member to Stanford Athletics to increase monitoring and verification of practice hours for all student-athletes, including reviewing practice logs and unannounced observations of practices.
Student-athletes had been residing with community homeowners during the summer for a number of decades, and in 2007 Stanford Football initiated a structured process to help student-athletes connect with community homeowners to obtain rental housing in the summer months. The program helped football student-athletes remain in the area to train, attend summer classes and participate in internships and other activities that would benefit them after graduation.
In the summer of 2014, the university discovered that one student-athlete had received impermissible benefits from his landlord in violation of NCAA rules. Impermissible benefits valued at under $400 included restaurant meals with the landlord’s family, movie tickets with the family and the use of a local vacation home. Another impermissible benefit was a loan to purchase a bicycle which, at the time of the review, had already been repaid.
The university self-reported the violation to the NCAA and deemed the student-athlete ineligible. The conditions for reinstating the student-athlete included the student-athlete paying the value of the impermissible benefits to charity and serving a one-game suspension.
The NCAA investigation explored whether there was a possibility of other violations. No other violations were addressed in the report. But in 2014, recognizing the risks of these housing arrangements, the university revised its policy and now prohibits student-athletes from renting local housing during the summer. Student-athletes are now housed on campus. The university has provided additional education to community members and boosters regarding impermissible benefits.
Statement from Devon Cajuste
Earlier today, the NCAA released a report announcing that Stanford self-reported a violation involving a Stanford football student-athlete in 2014. I am the student-athlete involved in the violation. I unknowingly accepted impermissible benefits from my summer landlord. I look forward to moving on from this incident and to supporting my alma mater for many years to come. I will have no further comment on this matter.