The news nobody at Baylor wanted to hear possibly broke this morning as ESPN's Jason King, a Baylor alum in case that matters to you, is reporting that the NCAA has discovered numerous secondary and major violations within Baylor's men's and women's basketball programs related to impermissible phone calls and text messages. The ESPN story, which is linked in the tweet below, says that the NCAA found evidence of more than 1,200 such calls and messages over a 29-month span. Here's the tweet:
. @JasonKingESPN reporting that both #Baylor's men's and women's teams face possible NCAA sanctions. es.pn/HvxXir— ESPNHomeCourt (@ESPNHomeCourt) April 9, 2012
According to ESPN, the report also includes allegations of major violations against former Baylor coach Mark Morefield related to highly-publicized messages he supposedly sent to Hanner Parea, a high-profile recruit from 2012. That sordid saga resulted in Morefield's dismissal from the program and is included in this investigation. Baylor has already responded to the allegations from the NCAA by imposing its own sanctions, to which I'm sure the NCAA will add now that the investigation has concluded. ESPN lists the following punishments among those sanctions:
• Mulkey -- whose 2011-12 squad went undefeated and won the NCAA title -- will be prohibited from recruiting off-campus for the entire summer recruiting period (July 1-31, 2012).
• McKinney hasn't been allowed to make recruiting calls to prospective student-athletes since Jan. 1. The ban will be lifted on May 1.
• Baylor's women's basketball program lost two of its 15 scholarships in 2011-12.
• Baylor's men's program lost one scholarship for both the 2011-12 and 2012-13 seasons.
• Drew and Tang were prohibited from making recruiting calls from Jan. 1 - Feb. 29 of this year.
• The maximum number of official visits allowed to the men's basketball team in 2012-13 was reduced from 12 to seven.
I'm not sure what to think about this whole deal yet. The same people who say our programs/coaches are dirty will use this as confirmation of that fact. Baylor fans will probably respond by dismissing these allegations as relatively minor. Others will say that the only real problem here is getting caught; that if you aren't cheating then you aren't really trying. I don't want to go too far in any direction, but I am extremely disappointed that our coaching staffs apparently decided not to operate within the confines of the NCAA rules, and I hope whatever punishment we deservedly receive is even-handed and that the NCAA doesn't try to make an example out of us because they can. I'll update this story as more information becomes available. I'm sure that Baylor will release something in the next few minutes in order to get on top of the story. I would be shocked if they didn't.
UPDATE: I've posted a few thoughts below the jump.
Thoughts from what I've read so far:
- Just from the reactions on twitter, my prediction that people would use this as confirmation of their previously-held suspicions has already turned out to be true. No matter how this turns out from the NCAA, this is a black eye on our program that we really didn't need right now.
- Most of the violations related to our WBB program concern Mulkey's relationship with star center Brittney Griner. That's actually where the investigation began; her father reported contact that he believed was impermissible to the NCAA, who then requested documents from Baylor. I hope nobody thinks ill of him because of that; he undoubtedly did the right thing.
- The ESPN story says the majority of the impermissible texts and calls (outside of Morefield's idiocy with Hanner Parea in 2010) occurred in 2007 and/or 2008. There are also findings that Baylor paid four men associated with recruiting services to cover some kind of an instruction camp held by Drew on Baylor's campus. That is, apparently, not allowed. There are no allegations that Baylor or Drew paid any recruits, but I wouldn't expect there to be in an investigation focusing on phone/text records.
- Paul Mills, Jerome Tang, and WBB coach Damion McKinney are the assistant coaches named specifically in the report.