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Texas A&M men's basketball program hit with sanctions after committing recruiting and practice violations

Head coach Buzz Williams will serve a two-game suspension and the Aggies have been placed on two years probation.
Credit: KAGS-TV

COLLEGE STATION, Texas — The Texas A&M men's basketball program violated multiple NCAA rules, according to an agreement released by the Division I Committee on Infractions.

The university, a men's basketball assistant coach, the men's basketball head coach and NCAA enforcement staff agreed that the program violated multiple NCAA recruiting rules. Specifically, the head coach had impermissible contact with a prospect during an evaluation period. The assistant coach violated NCAA rules when he observed a prospect participating in an open gym during an unofficial visit and later conducted two 45-minute tryouts with that prospect, during which he provided coaching instruction.

The university, assistant coach and enforcement staff also agreed the assistant coach violated multiple NCAA rules when he impermissibly conducted approximately 24 supervised, off-campus workouts with a prospect and several men's basketball student-athletes. The workouts were prohibited due to the COVID-19 pandemic. On several occasions, the assistant coach arranged for noncoaching staff members to supervise and conduct the workouts, exceeding permissible limits for countable coaches.

Additionally, the university, head coach and enforcement staff agreed the head coach allowed six noncoaching staff members to participate in on-court activities and engage in skills instruction, exceeding NCAA countable coaches by three.

According to the agreement, the head coach violated head coach responsibility rules when he did not promote an atmosphere of compliance because of his personal involvement in the violations and because he did not monitor his staff's involvement in violations.

This case was processed through the negotiated resolution process. The process was used instead of a formal hearing or summary disposition because the university, the involved coaches and the enforcement staff agreed on the violations and the penalties. The Division I Committee on Infractions reviewed the case to determine whether the resolution was in the best interests of the Association and whether the agreed-upon penalties were reasonable. Negotiated resolutions may not be appealed and do not set case precedent for other infractions cases.

The university and the enforcement staff used ranges identified by the Division I membership-approved infractions penalty guidelines to agree upon Level II-standard penalties for the university, the assistant coach and the head coach. The report contains the full list of penalties as approved by the Committee on Infractions, including:

Two years of probation.

A $5,000 fine.

A reduction in men's basketball official visits for the 2021-22 academic year by five.

A suspension of unofficial visits during the first three Southeastern Conference men's basketball games during the 2021-22 academic year.

A reduction in men's basketball recruiting days by 5% (7 days out of 130) during the 2021-22 academic year.

A two-game suspension (during the regular season) for the head coach at Texas A&M or any school that employs him.

A suspension of the assistant coach, self-imposed by the university, June 2020 through the end of the 2020-21 basketball season. During that suspension, the program operated with one fewer assistant coach than allowed under NCAA rules.

Members of the Committee on Infractions are drawn from the NCAA membership and members of the public. The members of the panel who reviewed this case are Carol Cartwright, chief hearing officer for the panel and president emeritus at Kent State and Bowling Green; Thomas Hill, senior vice president emeritus at Iowa State; and Mary Schutten, executive vice president and provost at Central Michigan.