Message From The President - Baruch College

June 30, 2016

President’s Statement Regarding the NCAA Division III Committee on Infractions Report

Dear Faculty and Staff:

Earlier today, the National Collegiate Athletic Association (NCAA) Division III Committee on Infractions released a report finding that from 2010-2015 Baruch College “failed to exercise control over the conduct and administration of its athletics program” pertaining to the awarding of improper financial benefits to a limited number of student-athletes.

While the NCAA findings are serious, due to our proactive measures, which included (a) self-reporting our violations to the NCAA, (b) cooperating fully with the investigation, and (c) enacting significant, self-imposed remedial measures, the College was able to preserve and maintain the continuation and the integrity of its Athletics Program. The NCAA News Release and Public Infractions Report is available on https://www.ncaa.org/. Until today, the NCAA has required that the investigation by its Division III Committee on Infractions remain confidential.

While the NCAA reported that the college’s lack of policies and procedures in the administration of financial benefits, combined with weak oversight of two former staff members, resulted in 30 students receiving impermissible financial benefits over the course of five years, it is important to note that there were no allegations that the academic integrity of the College’s students or faculty was ever compromised.

As noted by the NCAA during the process, after the College became aware of the problems in its Athletics program, it undertook an internal investigation and self-reported the results to the NCAA in January 2014. This led, in turn, to a follow-up investigation by the NCAA Enforcement Division. In July 2015, the NCAA issued a formal Notice of Allegations (NOA), and the College submitted a formal response to the NOA in November 2015. As is standard NCAA practice in such matters, a special hearing before the NCAA Division III Committee on Infractions was convened in Indianapolis, IN in January 2016 with relevant staff representing Baruch College and The City University of New York. The report issued by the NCAA today follows from and is based upon those proceedings.

Penalties and corrective measures imposed against the College include:

• Public reprimand and censure for the college.

• Four years of probation for the college from June 30, 2016, to June, 29, 2020.

• A 2016-17 postseason ban for the women's basketball team.

• An outside audit of the college's athletics program, with an emphasis on financial aid policies and procedures.

• A number of staff members must attend at least one NCAA Regional Rules Seminar during the period of probation.

Immediately upon our self-reporting, and even before the formal NOA by the NCAA was issued, I took several proactive steps to address the personnel dimensions of the matter. The most important initiative was the reorganization of the Office of the Vice President for Student Affairs and Enrollment Management, which divided the two main functions, Student Affairs and Enrollment Management, into separate offices. I took this action because it had become apparent to me that expecting the same vice president to take responsibility for student affairs, which oversees athletics, and for enrollment management, which oversees student recruitment and financial aid, invited a blurring of the roles between the recruitment of student athletes and decisions regarding financial aid and related matters. We had to allow the investigation to take its course and while the NCAA process unfolded, three of the staff members named in the NCAA NOA resigned from Baruch. At this point in time, of the specific individuals named in the NCAA NOA, only one is still employed at the College, and that person no longer reports to Athletics.

Since submitting our self-report and our subsequent response to the NCAA, the College has taken a number of additional steps to improve its monitoring, control and rules enforcement of Athletics. Among these steps are the following:

We have revamped the role of Athletics Director (AD) – the previous Athletics Director has retired and the College has completed a search for a replacement. The revised position description makes clear that the new AD will have substantially more responsibility to assure compliance with the NCAA Division III By-laws by coaches and by other staff.

We have appointed a new Faculty Athletics Representative (FAR) – the new FAR, Professor Marc Edelman, is an attorney and a recognized national authority on sports law.

We have established an Athletics Compliance Team (ACT) – the ACT will provide oversight regarding all of the College’s Athletics programs and their compliance with NCAA rules. I have asked the College’s legal counsel, Olga Dais, to chair the ACT, given her strong background and experience in compliance. The team will also include the FAR, several members of athletics and enrollment staffs, and senior administrators from across the College. View the full list.

We have improved training on student-athlete recruitment and financial aid matters – in her role as Chair of the ACT, Olga Dais, is working with Baruch’s Compliance Officers, the new Athletic Director and the Vice President for Student Affairs & Dean of Students, Art King, to whom the AD reports, to improve the frequency and the quality of the training provided to all coaches and other athletics staff on NCAA Division III rules concerning recruitment and the awarding of financial benefits to student-athletes.

As I stated unambiguously to the NCAA, Baruch College accepts, and takes full responsibility for, the fact that some improper benefits were made available to a limited number of student-athletes during the period from 2010-2015. In all other respects, the College’s Athletics Program has continued to perform well for the approximately 200 undergraduate students who participate each year in NCAA-sanctioned men’s and women’s sports. I am extremely proud of our student-athletes, who display excellence on the field and in the classroom, and who make the time in their busy lives to compete. I am committed to having an Athletics Program at Baruch College of which our students, faculty, staff, and the entire Baruch community can be proud and that is managed in an ethical and responsible fashion.

Baruch places its highest priority on the successful, on-time completion of our students’ academic degree programs, and on establishing and maintaining an environment in which co-curricular activities, such as Athletics, are conducted as a beneficial part of the students’ overall educational experience. We are confident that the adjustments we have made—and are continuing to make—in the oversight of our Athletics Program will benefit the students and enhance their Baruch experience while meeting all requirements of the NCAA Division III By-laws.

Sincerely,
Mitchel B. Wallerstein
President, Baruch College

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