Arkansas Tech Sues NCAA Over Vacated Wins
The NCAA imposed sanctions on the Arkansas Tech athletic program for violations revolving around the school’s failure to monitor its housing operations from 2009 to 2013. Tech waived or paid $14,250 in housing security deposits for 57 prospects during this time period and also reserved on-campus apartments and dorms for student-athletes, which is a NCAA violation. Arkansas Tech believes the sanctions imposed by the NCAA are excessive and that the organization abused its discretion in the disciplinary process.
Arkansas Tech contends the NCAA has failed to explain why the school’s self-imposed penalties, which included financial aid reductions for men’s and women’s basketball recruits, and other recruiting limitations, were not sufficient. The allegedly excessive additional sanctions set forth by the NCAA included vacating all wins by both the men’s and women’s basketball program during the four year period, fines, two years of probation, and scholarship reductions for both programs.
The complaint zeroes in on the excessive nature of the additional sanctions and the NCAA’s failure to act in good faith. The school alleges that the central analysis used by the NCAA to determine whether or not the NCAA imposed sanctions were fair and non-excessive, is incorrect and does not justify the sanctions.
The NCAA believes the payment and use of waivers for on-campus housing provided Arkansas Tech with benefits that resulted in on-court advantages, thus justifying the sanctions. However, Arkansas Tech points to the fact that their conduct is no longer a NCAA violation due to a January rule change, which in turn makes the payment of housing fees no longer an on-court advantage. Arkansas Tech hopes an independent review of the facts of the case will restore their wins and reduce the allegedly excessive sanctions.